Read The Humble Beginnings of Grand Theft Auto From 16 Years Ago

Illustration for article titled Read The Humble Beginnings of Grand Theft Auto From 16 Years Ago

Grand Theft Auto, the controversial and violent video game series that has sold in excess of 100 million units, began its life as a simple design document in 1995, back when the game was still known as Race'n'Chase.

Reading that design doc isn't nearly as much fun as playing a Grand Theft Auto game, but to see the simple concepts that became one of the biggest video games ever, the humble beginnings of Liberty City, San Andreas and Vice City, may be of historical importance... or at least interesting.

Mike Dailly, programmer at DMA Design where GTA was born, uploaded the 12 page Race'n'Chase design doc to Flickr today, offering a look at the original concept behind the game. Here's how he described it, based on meetings with other DMA Design staffers:

The aim of Race 'n' Chase is to produce a fun, addictive and fast multiplayer car racing and crashing game which uses a novel graphics method.


Dailly writes a low-key description of the series' most memorable character, its major cities:

There will [be] 3 cities with a different graphic style for each city (e.g. New York, Venice, Miami). There will be many different missions to be played in each city. This is so that players an get to know the routes through a particular city.

Here's how he describes the gameplay of Race'n'Chase.

Players will be able to drive cars and possibly other vehicles such as boats, helicopters or lorries. Cars can be stolen, raced, collided, crash (ramraiding?) and have to be navigated about a large map. It will also be possible for players to get out of their car and steal another one. This will mean controlling a vulnerable pedestrian for a short time. Trying to steal a car may result in an alarm being set off which will, of course, attract the police.


Dailly outlines the core team behind the game, only a dozen developers, which was planned to ship on PC (DOS and Windows), PlayStation, Sega Saturn and Nintendo 64 (when it was still known as the Ultra 64). The game's code and sound were designed to fit within 1MB of storage each and DMA gave themselves an aggressive development schedule, originally planning to have the game wrapped up in the summer of 1996.

Grand Theft Auto would eventually ship on the PC and PlayStation in the fall of 1997.


Read the whole thing at Flickr at the link below.

GTA [Flickr - thanks, John!]

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`


Altima NEO

I remember when GTA first came out, there was another game that was causing a lot of controversy.

Anyone remember Carmageddon?

Oh man I loved that game.