Grand Theft Auto III ended up being in Liberty City, the New York-like city from the series, but that may note have been the case, Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser has told IGN.
Speaking to the site, Houser said the main location at first was originally meant to be “a post industrial Midwest slash east coast generic deliberately generic feeling, American city.”
Obviously, this was never to be with possibly the exception of the first mini-location in the game Portland.
But whilst making the city, according to Houser, “we realised, actually, if you base this more on a real place you have a lot of things you can say about it. So that was one thing we learned. I suppose everything we learned about making the games we make, we really learnt one way or another from GTA III.
“One of the things we take very seriously and really push ourselves on is to make sure the games are distinct. To make sure they feel different from one another in as many ways as possible, while retaining some core mechanics. But you evolve, innovate everything as much as possible so they feel like very different experiences, or it will just get very stale very quickly.”
Houser also detailed a few of the changes Rockstar and the then DMA Designs, now Rockstar North, had made to the game in the wake of 9/11, which ended up delaying the game. Pushing the game wasn’t just for content purposes, though, with the Rockstar co-founded noting it was “also practical.”
“We were working flatout, trying to finish that and Smuggler’s Run II. Both were in submission and we were working around the clock here and around the clock [at DMA Design] in Scotland,” he said.
“Obviously, the guys in Scotland could continue working but we couldn’t come into the office for five days because there were roadblocks up. It was a practical issue, we couldn’t do any work.
“It was a very strange time, but we were very close to 9/11, far closer than the vast majority of people, and therefore I believe we were capable of making sensitive judgments about what was appropriate and what wasn’t appropriate.”
Houser continued: “I think one mission got removed. There was a non-interactive jumbo jet, just to give some life to the sky, that looked like it could pass through a building. That got adjusted, and a few lines of radio dialogue in the talk show. We were really very sensitive to stuff though because we’d watched on our doorstep, you know? ”
Grand Theft Auto III celebrates its tenth anniversary this weekend.