Where were you when Grand Theft Auto III launched in October 2001? I was standing in a GameStop, browsing through newer versions of the PS2, when it caught my eye. Following a warm recommendation from the store manager, I bought the game and brought it home. The rest is history.
Twenty years later, it’s virtually impossible to overstate the impact of Rockstar Games’ open-world crime saga on gaming medium. And it all started with GTA III, a daring shift from top-down action to epic. in an open world entirely in 3D, interspersed with unprecedented interactivity. I remember being blown away by Liberty City itself: a sprawling cityscape filled with cars, colorful characters, challenging side missions, and ubiquitous cops. I had never seen anything like it.
The launch of GTA III had ripple effects throughout the gaming industry, captivating gamers and inspiring game developers to take a different approach to game design. To mark the milestone of 20 years of the game-changing game, we’ve reached out to the creators of PlayStation Studios and top third-party developers to think about the launch of the GTA III Megaton.
All screenshots in this article from Grand Theft Auto III – Definitive Edition, released November 11.
“GTA III has changed my view of what makes games fun. Games have always been about jumping, killing enemies, solving puzzles – doing the tasks that the designer gave you. the first game where you really had fun. It got me to reimagine how exploring and using indefinite gadgets and weapons in Ratchet & Clank could allow players to find their own fun and fun. approach the gameplay in their own creative way.
– Bri an Hastings, Head of Creative Strategy, Insomniac Games
“GTAIII was a game with an amazing degree of freedom, released at a time when we were struggling to create a single track game within the capabilities of the PS2. I was impressed with the way the game was made. He embraced the realities that come with an open world concept instead of restricting gameplay to avoid any potential issues that might arise. The Japanese version of the game was released by Capcom, and I remember thinking, “I’m glad to be on their side.”
– Hideaki Itsuno, Director, Capcom
“I grew up playing 2D side-scrolling platformer games that had a clear path from A to B and could be worked out with a bit of trial and error. What really stood out to me in GTA III , it’s the freedom it gave you to play the way you wanted in a game world that seemed believable. No more autoloading, end-of-level and end-of-mission transitions. You don’t get out of the car … You don’t progress. You seamlessly went from driving, racing around town, and entering buildings to complete your next mission objective at the pace you wanted. In some ways, the freedom was overwhelming I didn’t miss the ability to play your way and in doing so change the tone of the game, which was probably one of the first major changes in self-directed play in game design.
– Tara Saunders, Studio Manager, PlayStation London Studio
“I remember walking into the Remedy office in early November 2001. I was excited, a little anxious. It was my first day at work. The first thing I saw was a group of people around a TV. Some laughed, others watched, speechless. They were playing GTA III. It was provocative, unexpected, endlessly fun and impossible to let go. A tectonic shift in the game that paved the way for my career – influencing my work to this day. “
– Mikael Kasurinen, Control Game Director, Remedy
“GTA III showed me the incredible sense of immersion that comes with being able to act freely and seeing the world react to your actions – that this unique experience is something only games can offer. And like the power. expressive gaming has grown over the years, immersion-focused game design has become the norm for AAA titles. GTA III has set that standard, and I’m sure it will continue to influence creators for them. years to come.
– Yuya Tokuda, Global Director of Monster Hunter, Capcom
“I remember discovering GTA III on our press tour for Siphon Filter 3. There was so much hype around the game that it was impossible for it to measure up, right! ? So wrong. I couldn’t believe all you could do in this game. Really opened our eyes to what was possible. Rarely does a game change your perspective on an industry. GTA III was that game.
– Ron Allen, Game Director, Bend Studio
“GTA III blew me away because it was such a leap forward in video game design. It set the bar for experiencing open worlds full of procedural systems that worked together to create an emerging playground of possibilities. infinite.
– Richard Franke, Senior Designer, Media Molecule
“GTA III really blew up my understanding of what a great team can achieve with a solid technical vision. The very detailed living open world was a huge leap forward, lots of handcrafted content all framed by constraints technology needed to be broadcast invisibly to the player. We also saw how physics technology can drive brilliant and varied nonlinear missions. On the music, humor and sheer freedom places GTA III among the greatest games of all time.
– Steve Walker, Technical Director, Fireesprite Games
“It wasn’t the scale or the freedom that blew me away, I had a taste of it already with The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall. Instead, I had a group of three friends and we We spent a lot of time together playing games. And when GTA III came out, we played it all the time. The thing is, we weren’t doing story missions or side missions. Those were days , weeks and months of messing around in the city, telling stories, reacting to the living world chaotically and challenging each other. And the most magical part was that every time there was a visitor beyond that core group, he got involved naturally, not necessarily by playing but by commenting, asking the player to try things…. This experience opened my eyes to the power of emerging gameplay and stories. , seeing games perhaps for the first time as a truly expressive medium beyond the choice of its character. e in a fighting game or combos in a skating game, and that the stories he created were something that could be enjoyed not only by the players, but also by the viewers. [It’s] something that has interspersed with support with the rise of gameplay streaming, and most notably the incredible GTA Online scene, with its role-playing streams this time involving more than one concurrent player.
– Dinga Bakaba, Game Director, Arkane Lyon
“At the time, I had not yet joined Capcom and pitched a project to an American publisher.
I wanted to make a game that spanned the Tenchu sandbox, but GTA III went way beyond that.
I remember thinking “how did they do this kind of game on PS2?” Not only from a gameplay point of view, but also from a technical point of view. In response to the further development of open world games, I decided to do the exact opposite and create a tight, dense little horror game, and Resident Evil 7 was born. In a way, Resident Evil 7 may have been born because of GTA III. Thank you and congratulations on the 20th anniversary of GTA III.
– Koshi Nakanishi, Director, Capcom
“When I was still young and the concept of an open world hadn’t been created yet, senior developers would often say, ‘If you’re aiming for a game that lets you do anything, you’ll end up with it. a game that lets you do nothing. ‘ It was a warning to remind us of the distance between ideal and reality. But when GTA III came out, I remember being shocked that a game where “anything is possible and fun” was made. I don’t need to tell you that this set a new standard for the gaming experience. Another shock I got from GTA was that “grand theft auto” meant “car theft”. I’m Japanese, so I thought the name had a grander meaning… ”
– Kazuhiro Tsuchiya, producer, Capcom
Ready to revisit Liberty City, Vice City and San Andreas, or explore them for the very first time? Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition will be released for PS4 and PS5 on November 11. Grand Theft Auto III – The Definitive Edition will be available on PlayStation Now from December 7th.