What did the very first episode of Gran Theft Auto look like long before GTA 6? – Technology & Co

In early December, Rockstar will unveil the first trailer for its next blockbuster GTA 6, 26 years after the contrasting release of the first episode.

Did you know that GTA was… Scottish? One of the most influential sagas in video games didn’t originate in New York or Los Angeles, cities that served as models for developers. It took its first steps in Edinburgh in the mid-1990s, developed by DMA Design Studio, renamed Rockstar North in 1999.

With GTA 6 finally upon us, the month of November is also an opportunity to celebrate the release of the very first Episode, a UFO video game that debuted on PC in November 1997 and on Playstation a few weeks later.

At the time, Grand Theft Auto wasn’t yet the acclaimed franchise that had sold tens of millions of copies. With this game, DMA Design offers a confusing, controversial and criticized title.

Aerial view and subtle controls

However, the studio made a name for itself in the industry with a completely different atmosphere: in 1991 it released the puzzle game Lemmings, a real revolution for the time. After profiting from this franchise (with 4 new episodes), the team starts with its new title. The idea is ambitious, because you play a gangster who can move completely freely in three cities that are now well known to players: Liberty City, Vice City and San Andreas.

The violent game already allows you to shoot pedestrians or shamelessly crush them. We already find well-known mechanisms such as carjacking or music that changes depending on the radio station. On the other hand, the game is not yet in 3D (that will be the case with GTA 3), but in aerial view.

Gran Theft Auto, the first of its name – Capture

Although the franchise already offers this great freedom, its gameplay is more original: a button to move forward and directional arrows to steer. Not really intuitive. In the days of the first Playstation and its impressive graphics, the game seems a bit pale. “It’s so ugly and empty that no one will do the 200 missions,” said Joypad, one of the leading magazines of the time. “GTA turns out to be completely unclassifiable. In fact, you spend your time trying to find your way,” complains Player One, another trade magazine.

In reality, although the game is not sufficiently successful, it still shows its potential. The second episode, released in 1999, will have better ratings.

But like another violent game, Carmageddon, GTA also has that sulphurous aspect that has already made it famous. The title is exchanged almost secretly, the children play it secretly. In January 1998, Senator Philippe Darniche even questioned the Minister of the Interior about “the existence and sale of video game software in our country, which contradicts all human and civil morality.”

“They are specifically aimed at young people and aim to ‘virtually’ incite young people to urban violence and street fights after identifying themselves with a ‘hero’ hired by the mafia, who is none other than a drug dealer. Drugs,” he says.

The debate is not new and will return with the incredible success of GTA 3, which will make the publisher Rockstar Games known around the world. Without compromising on its immorality, the saga celebrates its 26th anniversary this year with a new title for which we are still waiting for a release date.

Thomas Leroy Journalist BFM Business

Top article