IGN: How GTA III Delighted a Generation

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Today's IGN article is more of an add-on for yesterday's interview with Dan Houser and titled "How Grand Theft Auto III Delighted a Generation". A little more information about how Grand Theft Auto III was ignored initially but rose to the top. It's a short article so here's the whole thing:


"Dan Houser, Vice President at Rockstar Games never expected GTA III to be as big as it was. After an unspectacular appearance at E3, where it was 'completely and utterly ignored,' Rockstar wasn't sure about how the game would be received leading up to its release.

Internally, the team knew they had something special, but the buzz just wasn't building. The unfamiliarity of the genre GTA III pioneered may have played a part in its momentary undoing, but it was also the reason for the attention it inevitably earned. The seamless transitions between on-foot and in-car objectives, married with the open-ended, explorative freedom, eventually grabbed hold of the public. GTA hasn't let go since.

Back in 2001, the stakes could not have been higher. The vast majority of parent company Take2's publishing revenue came from Rockstar Games. 'If the company hadn't made some money, it was going out of business. It was very simple,' Houser says. Of course, GTA III made hundreds of millions in profit, and pulled its publisher out from its $100M hole. Thus began a mutually assured meteoric rise that would conquer the industry.

The legacy of Grand Theft Auto III is more than just money, particularly for Houser. In his eyes, anyone can make a violent shooter, or a decent driving model, or put music on a disc. 'The cleverness of the GTA design is in the glue,' says Houser, "not in the things that have been held together."

Gimmicks aren't substantial enough to support the scope of this genre. Creators are forced to improve and add to the formula constantly, or their game will fail, full stop.
The influence GTA would have from 2001 forward surprises Houser as much as anyone else, and he's honored to have been involved in it. GTA III set a standard that still exists, and it opened a lot of creative avenues for everyone making games.

Dan Houser wonders, 10 years after its most remarkable achievement, what Rockstar Games really is. 'We're not really a developer and we're not really a publisher.' He adds, 'We're not that interesting, the reality is we're rather dull.' The tens of millions of people who have played GTA games would disagree."

Indeed. Add your input about the next GTA at the GTA V forums!