Grand Theft Auto III: Your Questions Answered – Part Two (9/11, The “Ghost Town”, The Dodo and Other Mysteries)

Presenting the conclusion of our two-part series answering your questions about Grand Theft Auto III – in honor of the game’s 10-Year Anniversary and the Edition for mobile devices that was released last month. Part one delved into questions about Claude and other characters from the game – today’s part two covers many of the long-standing rumors, mysteries and myths about Grand Theft Auto III – and also features a few behind-the-scenes images being released for the first time. Thanks to all GTA fans for submitting these great inquiries – and enjoy!

A glimpse of some never-before-seen work in progress logos, cover art and other visual concepts explored early on during the making of Grand Theft Auto III.






Did you cut off any missions or stuff after 9/11?
gtaencyclopedia (via Twitter)
How different would be #GTAIII if 9/11 wouldn't have happened?


Rockstar says:
About 1% different. We removed only one mission that referenced terrorists and changed a few other cosmetic details – car details, a couple of ped comments, lines of radio dialogue etc – the game came out a very short time later. The biggest change was the US packaging which remixed the previous packaging into what became our signature style – because the previous packaging [which was released as the cover of the game in Europe] was, we felt, too raw after 9/11. All of the more extreme rumours are amusing but impossible to have been achieved in such a short period of time.


Any chance of releasing GTA3 with all the stuff that was removed due to 9/11?


Rockstar says:
No. As above, it really was not very much stuff – just one mission and other than that some superficial and cosmetic details.


The game was released only 41 days after 9/11. It's known that last-minute changes were made to game content because of the traumatic emotional situation at the time. Some are known, such as police vehicles being changed to not look like NYPD, but rumors of bigger changes won't completely go away. Such as: there were school buses and children in Liberty City that were removed, Liberty City had twin towers that were changed into a construction site, and Donald Love was killed by airplane hitting his building and this was edited out so he just disappears. Big changes seem unlikely to do in 41 days considering Rockstar New York was literally in a war zone and there had to be time to test and physically ship the game. Once and for all, can you list everything that was changed after 9/11 and debunk the most ridiculous rumors about this situation?


Rockstar says:
As far as we can remember, the list of changes is covered above – the other stuff is nonsense.






Is the location in the beginning where the bank robbery takes place supposed to be a part of Liberty City? Or is it supposed the be another town?


Rockstar says:
Yes – it is meant to be part of Liberty City.


Is the name of the Island taken out of the game named "Jakota Island," referred to in the game as "Ghost Town?"


Rockstar says:
We didn’t take an island out of the game. There were only ever the three. We think what people refer to as “ghost town” is just the small area of a city we built for the bank heist scene at the very start of the game. It never had a name, but we wanted it to be somewhere separate from the liberty map and so we built these few streets floating in space and assumed no one would ever find them.  We noticed someone built a bridge mod so you can actually drive there now - amazing…






Was the Dodo ever supposed to stay in flight? don't get me wrong my friends and I spent many fun hours trying to see who could fly the longest, in a plane with clipped wings before crashing into the sea.
Was the Dodo intended to be a actual plane, or was its wingspan reduced because of 9/11? (I know it can be flown with practice)
How come the Dodo plane in GTA3 can’t fly?


Rockstar says:
Because we were making a driving and shooting game - even that, as a combination of core gameplay elements, was very, very radical at the time. The Dodo was never meant to be flown very much at all, and it certainly wasn’t grounded as a result of 9/11 – it was just a fun thing that people then went crazy with when they figured out various bugs that let them fly it!






The tunnels in Shoreside Vale, so much speculation has been made about them. They seem to be closed 24/7 due to construction work. Were they originally supposed to lead somewhere or are the workers just too lazy to finish the work, ha!
Also why was the tunnel to upstate blocked in the Shoreside Vale island?
The tunnel in Shoreside Vale, was it just for looks?


Rockstar says:
There was never meant to be anything on the other end of the tunnel, we were just playing with ways to make the world feel like it continues past the physical boundary. It’s something that we’ve been pushing in all sorts of ways ever since, making the world you experience as a player feel like it’s part of something bigger. This tunnel was one of our first little baby steps in that direction. 


Hidden away on the PC version of Grand Theft Auto III are menus and listings for Multiplayer, what was supposed to be planned for Grand Theft Auto III and at what point was it removed?


Rockstar says:
We played around with the idea of multiplayer back then but never got very far with it. At the time, we decided to make Vice City instead of dedicating a big team to multiplayer, as we did not feel it would ever really be good enough. When we finally made a multiplayer game, we wanted it to rival the fun and experience of single player, and this was something not possible until much later.






Who wrote the "My mother's my sister" pedestrian dialogue line?
How does "My Mother is my Sister" work?


Rockstar says:
Ha – to be honest, we are not sure – we all work together on this stuff – and we supposed too many of us just find rural inbreeding amusing.


Where did the 'squish' noise that played when you ran over a pedestrian come from? That always made me laugh.


Rockstar says:
The pedestrian squishing sound was made up from a combination of squelchy sounds that Rockstar North Audio Designer, Allan Walker recorded live (Rockstar North Lead Music Producer, Craig Conner seems to recall crushing fruit and raw chicken in a vocal booth...) and then they added a few more layers from our SFX library.






Left: An early screenshot shows the bus that was removed and a more cartoony style for the Claude character. Right: A screenshot from the final PlayStation 2 release in 2001.




Why were the graphics in very early screenshots cartoonish?



Rockstar says:
Before we properly got started on building the game we tried out a few different looks. Some of these were released during development. We toyed with a very cartoony style but pulled it back quite a lot.


Is it true that the Ammu-Nation clerk's appearance and voice was Dan Houser?


Rockstar says:
No, not true. However it does look (but not sound) like a relative of his.


Luc de Mooij (via Facebook)
How is the cannoli at Marco's Bistro?


Rockstar says:
Horrible! Stale as hell.






Jamie Press (via Facebook)
What's the script like for all GTA games?? How long do they roughly last and how are they formatted? also would you ever consider releasing a script from a GTA game?? Thks :) Can't wait for GTAV!


Rockstar says:
They are long. Very long. And they only seem to get bigger with each subsequent Grand Theft Auto production. Check out the image set below which shows a picture of the GTA3 script alongside the GTAIV script for some sense of what we mean.


Left: The original story and mission scripts from Grand Theft Auto III. Right: Seven years later - a glimpse of the voluminous Grand Theft Auto IV script.


Grand Theft Auto III: Your Questions Answered – Part One (Claude, Darkel & Ray)


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