35 Grand Theft Auto facts – the best secrets from Rockstar’s legendary crime-’em-up series

GTA  race N chase

1. The original plan for Grand Theft Auto, before it even had a name, was to have you playing as a cop chasing down criminals. The roles were reversed when it was decided that playing as the bad guy would be more fun.


2. A 1995 design document for the first GTA reveals that the original name for the game was Race ‘N’ Chase. It also details elements that endure in the series today: running over pedestrians, stealing cars, and open, explorable cities.


3 Amazingly, there have been 30 Grand Theft Auto protagonists. The early games offered a selection of criminals – although the choice was purely aesthetic – before they shifted their focus to properly fleshed-out characters.


4 Rockstar is based in New York City, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks delayed the release of Grand Theft Auto 3. Some content was cut in the wake of the tragedy, and police car liveries were altered to look less like those of the NYPD.


Thing you didn't know about gta5 The notoriously difficult San Andreas mission Wrong Side Of The Tracks has spawned an internet meme – specifically Big Smoke’s cry of, “All we had to do was follow the damn train, CJ!” whenever you inevitably screw it up.


6 An assassination mission in Grand Theft Auto 3 sees you hunting a black-suited character named Tanner, described as “strangely animated” – a gag at the expense of Driver 2, which featured hilariously shonky on-foot sections.


7 The mission Three Leaf Clover in GTA 4 is a clear homage to the bank robbery scenes in Michael Mann’s film Heat, from the stylish suits and shoulder bags, to the street shootout after the vault has been emptied.


8 n the GTA 4 mission Final Interview, shoot the guard at the top of the last set of stairs and you’ll hear the ‘Wilhelm scream’ as he tumbles down them. It’s a famous stock sound that’s been used in hundreds of Hollywood films.