Grand Theft Auto co-creator to discuss Dundee game development


One of the creators of the original Grand Theft Auto who led its development in Dundee is breaking a 25-year silence and revealing everything about the game’s creation in a series of revealing interviews.

Stewart Waterson was the original artist of the game that caused a stir in the media when it launched in 1996.

The famous and often controversial series was first produced by DMA Design – now known as Rockstar North – from a small office on the Nethergate in the city.

And Waterson is set to talk about the work culture in this little corner of Discovery Town when interviews launch this Friday on gaming site GamerHub.



GTA co-creator Stewart Waterson

GTA gained notoriety from the start for its unethical gameplay in fictional versions of American cities.

However, the game was a bestseller and has since spawned numerous sequels, now produced at Rockstar’s offices in Edinburgh and elsewhere around the world.

It even inspired a series starring Daniel Radcliffe called The Gamechangers, which aired on the BBC in 2015, which examined the game’s tortured relationship with the media.

GTA is now famous for its slick production values ​​- the most recent entry in the series is said to have had a budget of over £ 170million.

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But Waterson has recounted how the original Grand Theft Auto was produced in a very loose, DIY way just off Main Street in Dundee.

He said, ““ There was no formal training other than the software tutorials that came with each new software you had to learn.

“You can ask for help, but the development teams… am I saying this diplomatically?

“It was everyone grabbing what they could for notoriety, respect and excellence. It was a very, very fast river, and it was flow or swim.”



The first Grand Theft Auto was produced in this building on the Nethergate
The first Grand Theft Auto was produced in this building on the Nethergate

It also revealed how the developers listened to hip-hop and gangsta rap as they shaped the game’s revolutionary urban environments, and even argued as they argued over which features to include in the game.

Waterson added, “While we had to adhere to certain accepted standards in game design, this core of absolute chaos – gratuitous destruction – was imposed by the team that controlled these key elements.

“We will fight to try to have a chance to make it happen, and if that was denied, we would fucking do it anyway.”

The first article in the series will be uploaded to GamerHub on Friday.

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