GTA Vice City Was Initially Planned To Be A GTA 3 Mission Pack

The highly popular title could have just been an update to GTA 3.

Story Highlights

  • As per the former Rockstar North technical director Obbe Vermeij, GTA Vice City was planned to be a GTA 3 mission pack.
  • The title started to look different from GTA 3 after six months into development. It is when the decision was made.
  • There were minimal code changes from GTA 3. More focus was put on creating a new city with updated visuals instead.

GTA Vice City may have not been the standalone game we know and love today. As per the former Rockstar North Technical director Obbe Vermeij—the page has since been removed, the entry was planned to be a GTA 3 mission pack at the beginning of its development. Things only started to shift later on as the mission pack progressed, with devs realizing the innate potential after nearly six months into its development. 

Originally it was supposed to be a mission pack to gta3. Only once gta3 did as well as it did and Vice City started to look sufficiently different from gta3 was the decision made to make it a standalone game. This was quite far into the project. (maybe 6 months or so),” says dev in the blog.

The development process of GTA Vice City was also quite an adventurous one for Rockstar North. Only minimal changes in coding were required, which were eventually handled by programmers later on in the development. The team was mostly focused on brewing a new city filled with the 80s aesthetic and neon lighting we came to love today. Rockstar North also visited the Miami Beach areas to collect textures during development. 

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The company paid for an all expenses paid trip to Miami for the whole team. We stayed in a hotel on Miami Beach and it was a total blast. The artists brought their camera and some of them went around collection textures. Some of them spent the week in the bar next to the hotel. I caught a Dolphins and Miami Heat game.”

However, not everything was sunshine and rainbows for the development of GTA Vice City. Rockstar North had quite a stressful year ahead of them because there was a tight deadline. The title was developed in only 12 months after the release of GTA 3. Additionally, GTA 3 was also released on PC in the same year, which increased the workload to an extreme. 

I remember working on Vice being more stressful than gta3. There was a tight deadline (1 year) and high expectations. In addition there there was the pc conversion of gta3 in the same year.”

All in all, the hard work and aftermath of certain decisions of the team is in front of us. GTA 3 went on to win “award after award,” which gave the devs the huge adrenaline boost they needed to carry on with GTA Vice City development. The dev says the title changed a lot after some minor changes. The weather felt more sunny, the cityscape was “neony,” and gave of the now-nostalgic aesthetics we grew up with.

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Shameer Sarfaraz is a Senior News Writer on eXputer who loves to keep up with the gaming and entertainment industries devoutly. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and several years of experience reporting on games. Besides his passion for breaking news stories, Shahmeer loves spending his leisure time farming away in Stardew Valley. VGC, IGN, GameSpot, Game Rant, TheGamer, GamingBolt, The Verge, NME, Metro, Dot Esports, GameByte, Kotaku Australia, PC Gamer, and more have cited his articles.

Experience: 4+ Years || Education: Bachelor in Computer Science.

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