While many of you are undoubtedly tucked up and playing away in the world of Los Santos, let us take a moment to stop and open the history books of gaming to remember the humble beginnings of the Grand Theft Auto franchise. To do that we must turn back the clock and take a trip to the United Kingdom. Back in 1994, a small Edinburgh-based team started working on a little title called Race’n’Chase that would eventually go on to become one of the most successful entertainment franchises of the modern age and one of the UK’s most valuable creative exports. Many forget that because the series is so intent on satirizing American culture, that it isn’t actually a product of America but instead Scotland.
In a new video, the Guardian sits down and talks to some of the members of the team that worked on the original game and the arduous process they went through to even get it functional and out of the door. It is clear to see that the team didn’t even begin to understand what they had unleashed on the world and the successes the franchise would eventually receive. The game’s producer Gary Penn went as far as to liken the process of making the first game to “nailing jelly to kittens” to describe how slippery the production was. He even goes on to explain how the game was constantly on the chopping block, with cancellation of the entire project threatened weekly.
These kinds of history lessons and insight into gaming’s past are always fascinating as it is a medium that can struggle to preserve its heritage. It is bewildering to think that a franchise which has been showered with incredibly positive praise by critics and that will have such a dominant market share over the coming months had such a small and troubled inception.
These types of stories of humble and troubled beginnings are not extraordinary either, with many mega-franchises starting off in a garage or small office then going on to dominate the competitors. It is stories like these that can perhaps act as a reminder for major publishers that a new game IP doesn’t have to begin with an inflated budget and AAA status to spawn a franchise, and instead can slowly work towards and earn an exuberant production. Minecraft was created in a week and it’s one of the best-selling games of all-time, about to release on four additional platforms.
So while you are mowing down pedestrians and enjoying a digital life of excess, be sure to spare a thought for the little team in Scotland that started it all.
Grand Theft Auto V is available now on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Source: The Guardian