Rare footage of GTA devs making first ever game goes viral on TikTok

Nathan Warby
GTA 1977 logo

Grand Theft Auto is one of the biggest names in gaming, and a TikToker has shared fascinating footage of the developers hard at work on the 1997 original GTA.

For many gamers, it’s hard to imagine a world without Grand Theft Auto. Rockstar’s iconic series is one of the best-selling of all time, with games like GTA San Andreas and GTA 5 taking the industry by storm, and GTA 6 likely to do the same.

But back in the late 90s, when the original Grand Theft Auto was in development, the team behind it had no idea just how popular and influential their game would become.

Now, a TikToker has unearthed some interesting footage from the BBC Archive that gives fans a sneak peek at how the classic title was created, filmed in 1996.

TikTok user allthingshistorical shared the clip from behind-the-scenes at DMA Designs in Dundee, later known as Rockstar North Limited, who were riding high on the success of puzzle series called Lemmings.

“A lot of people in here are working on what DMA hopes will be their new blockbuster, it’s a game called Grand Theft Auto,” said the host as he looked at early maps of Liberty City. “It’s all about a car chase through the streets of a fictional, probably American city.”

Then, a software designer gave a brief explanation of what Grand Theft Auto was all about.

“It’s a mission-based driving game, where you’re basically driving around a city, stealing cars and running over pedestrians,” explained Dave. “Staying away from emergency services, [like] police, that sort of thing.”


The footage then went on to show a number of key areas from the game’s development, from motion capture to the creation of the in-game radio stations composed of original music.

We even got a preview of some of the sound effects that would appear in the final game, with one of the devs sharing a “car approaching, skidding around a corner and then finally crashing.”

Grand Theft Auto was released the following year, shipping over a million units in the US alone, and kickstarting one of the biggest entertainment franchises in the world.

Although the footage is over 25 years old, it’s still fanacting to go behind the scenes on what would prove to be a gaming juggernaut in the years that followed.

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