How 9/11 shaped Grand Theft Auto 3

By Steve Watts, Oct 19, 2011 12:00pm PDT

It's been ten years since Grand Theft Auto III made ripples throughout the game industry with its emphasis on the open world. But in a new retrospective, Rockstar's Dan Houser reveals that the game's proximity to 9/11 made the company very cautious about any imagery or dialogue that could rub the fresh wounds of the tragedy.

"It was a very strange time, but we were very close to 9/11, far closer than the vast majority of people, and therefore I believe we were capable of making sensitive judgments about what was appropriate and what wasn't appropriate," Houser said.

"I think one mission got removed," he told IGN "There was a non-interactive jumbo jet, just to give some life to the sky, that looked like it could pass through a building. That got adjusted, and a few lines of radio dialogue in the talk show. We were really very sensitive to stuff though because we'd watched on our doorstep, you know?"

He also points out that the box art was originally an old movie poster style with police firing guns and helicopters circling over head. Calling it "a bit heavy," Houser says the artist quickly came up with the new box style that the series is known for today. "What's become the very staple of our marketing and presentation was done in an evening as a response to 9/11."

Rockstar has also released an Anniversary video marking the event. Check it out below.

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