Grand Theft Auto III – a new dimension in the world of gaming

Grand Theft Auto III – a new dimension in the world of gaming

The GTA series was popular with players and critics since the first part, when it was a simple top-down shooter. But it was the transition to the third dimension that gave her truly great fame, giving impetus to further development and giving birth to a whole galaxy of imitators. Today we will remember where it all began.

Creators from DMA Design (later renamed Rockstar North) have long wanted to transfer the game to 3D completely, but did not have the necessary experience and technical capabilities for this. The first two parts were also relatively three-dimensional – the height was realized there, the vertical walls of the buildings are visible from an angle, but all this was in its infancy. Experience was gained in other games: yes, a big role in the creation of GTA III was played by people who had a hand in Space Station Silicon Valley – a funny game for space animals in a “plasticine” style. It is interesting that they planned to use a similar style in the new game, but quickly abandoned this idea.

The technical side was provided by their own 3D engine


, as well as the release of the PlayStation 2 – DMA felt that its iron would allow to create a truly open world. This open world won’t surprise anyone now, but back then, in 2001, it made a real sensation. No invisible walls, no restrictions on actions. Do you see the car? You can steal her. Do you see pedestrians? You can move them (we condemn).

Of course, games with certain elements of the “sandbox” were released before, but it was in GTA III that all these elements formed a puzzle. The dream of an open world also stretched from the first part – the creative director of the studio, Gary Penn, was inspired by the game Elite – a space sim with great freedom of action, where the player could do anything to achieve victory. He wanted to make GTA “Elite in the city”. Then complete freedom of action had to be given up for chains of story missions that led the player by the hand. In the third part, the missions no longer followed each other, and the player was free to engage in side activities in between.

It was possible to choose the order of tasks, most often there was an alternative way to complete the mission, but still, it was not possible to choose the side of the conflict. At the same time, the advancement of the plot inevitably spoiled relations with some criminal organizations, due to which being in their area became a deadly dangerous business.

The quintessence of the open world was the mission “Bomb Da Base”, in the second part of which the player was given the task of earning a lot of money and throwing it into the city. No markers on the radar, no advice: do what you want, but get a hundred thousand dollars. However, it would not be possible to get stuck at this moment even if you wanted to – the number of profitable activities in the game was off the charts. You could take cars to the scrap yard, work as a taxi driver or in 911 services, complete additional missions from phone booths, drive a jeep off-road, and finally, just have fun.

Art director Aaron Gabut later rightly noted: Before GTA III, games were something you played, GTA III became a place where you lived. I willingly subscribe to his words – as a child, faced with difficulties in completing the plot, I still entered the game every day just to drive around the city. Despite the fact that the DMA studio was based in Great Britain, the developers were able to very accurately recreate the atmosphere of real New York in their Liberty City. They often flew to visit their overseas colleagues at Rockstar to carefully photograph different areas, listen to music, even take into account car traffic so that similar cars meet inside the game. Once such scrupulousness played a wicked joke on them: as you know, the year 2001 was overshadowed by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. In order not to pour salt on the wound of American gamers, the liveries of police cars had to be changed so that they did not resemble New York ones.

It wasn’t just the camera that dropped from the sky behind the character that worked to create immersion, although it certainly changed the perspective of not only the view, but the game in general. The dynamic change of weather, day and night, and, of course, music helped to add reality to the game world. It was not just a soundtrack in the background, but a real radio playing in the car – several radio stations for every taste, from opera singers to reggae. Some of them played the music of very real, though not too famous, artists, while others had the work of the DMA themselves under fictitious names. It was also possible to load MP3 tracks into the game, which were then played on a separate radio station. In addition, a purely conversational station appeared for the first time, where an ironic presenter answers calls from strange listeners. This style of humor will later become the hallmark of the series.

Speaking of immersion in the game world, one cannot fail to mention the main character. In the best Gordon Freeman tradition, he didn’t say a word for the entire story. Moreover, no one ever called him by name – we learned that his name is Claude much later with GTA San Andreas. All that was known about him was his motivation to take revenge on his former accomplice. This allowed Claude to be whatever the player wanted: a cold-blooded professional, a crazy psychopath, or somewhere in between, while still contrasting well with the talkative secondary characters. The developers themselves later admitted that the decision was only partially artistic: simply in the development process, against the background of many other tasks, they did not consider the voice of the protagonist to be something important. And although all the subsequent heroes of the series already knew how to speak and actively expressed their position, the charismatic silent man sat firmly in the hearts of fans (who said “



The development team really put their heart and soul into the game. According to the recollections of Rockstar co-founder Jamie King, everyone was pushed to the limit, working 7 days a week – and not at all from under the stick, just the enthusiasm of the employees was successfully superimposed on large allowances for processing. With this approach, the release was doomed to success. A small overlay arose only because of the above-mentioned 9/11 date: in addition to the change of machines, it was necessary to remove the side quests from the anarchist Darkel and some phrases of passers-by that were considered inappropriate. Contrary to rumours, there were no twin turrets in the game to begin with, nor were there any full wings on the Dodo’s plane. And so, on October 23, 2001, the game was released on PS2 – and was immediately praised by critics. Nines and tens poured on the fingertips, as if from a cornucopia, the eight was perceived as an insult, and at the end of the year GTA III became a selling game.

But, of course, it was not without scandals. Still, the game, in which after meeting the priestess of love you could get cashback with the help of a baseball bat, attracted the attention of moral defenders of all stripes. Yes, it was simply banned in Australia, albeit for a short time. The release of the censored version, which excluded any bodily pleasures, as well as the separation of body parts, helped. Another unpleasant story happened in 2003, when a couple of underage morons, taking rifles from the house, decided to shoot at cars on the freeway, as a result of which one person died and another was seriously injured. At the police station, the superminds said they just wanted to repeat scenes from their favorite game. The odious human rights defender Jack Thompson, who at the time acted as a plug in every barrel, immediately got involved in the case and filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the console manufacturer, the game publisher and the chain of stores where the youths purchased the “criminal simulator”. The case was quite noisy, but it only led to the fact that sellers began to more strictly check the documents of buyers – that is, they began to enforce the law on age restrictions, which is already the case. In fact, DMA proved to be pioneers here as well, having managed to draw the public’s attention to an important topic with their game. They collected all the lumps, but now every concerned mom in America knew what the ESRB was.

Of course, such success gave birth to a large number of imitators and a new genre “GTA clone” appeared on the market. Mafia, True Crime, Scarface, The Getaway, even The Simpsons excelled in game based on motives. Some of them were able to develop into independent franchises and leave their own mark in history, but most were deservedly forgotten. GTA III itself last appeared in the info field not at all in a happy light, namely in the form of a disgusting remaster, which no one asked for, but which was sold at the price of a new game. Rockstar has no titans ready to plow around the clock. Now they lazily outsource the work and milk the fifth part. Fortunately, the game still has a modder community – at one time, the relative simplicity of both development and installation of modifications bore fruit, and enthusiasts slandered a lot of purely visual improvements and new content. If this text suddenly prompts you, the reader, to remember everything again – and maybe discover something new (albeit very old) for yourself, then the modders will not leave you in trouble.

With this I say goodbye, I wish you a strong GESUNDHEIT, that you have IFIWEREARICHMAN and nothing to you for this NOPOLICEPLEASE.

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