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.

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.

Read the whole thing at Flickr at the link below.

GTA [Flickr - thanks, John!]


    I bet he didn't know how much money he would make from that one idea.

    So it was basically like the GTA Race mode, in GTA4?

    Last I checked GTA 2 was available as a free download from the Rockstar website. From memory the only major difference (apart from the maps) it the 'gang rep' system, but the gameplay is essentially very similar for those that missed this classic on PC first time round.

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