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Grand Theft Auto developers reveal how it almost never saw the light of day

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Before Rockstar and Grand Theft Auto 5, DMA Design's first top-down Grand Theft Auto release was nearly cancelled multiple times as the studio attempted to bring its open-world game to life, according to a new video published by The Guardian.

Problems throughout the development of the game stemmed from a difference in vision between level designer and writers, said producer and creative director Gary Penn. "They weren't meeting in the middle," he said. "So you ended up with something that read badly, that made no sense, and it kept breaking."

As a result, the game was nearly cancelled as the studio failed to reach necessary development milestones. "We'd have conference calls at least once a week with the U.S.," Penn continued. "They wanted to kill it every week. Every week they wanted to kill this game, and we'd have to argue to try and keep it going, because we had some faith. Anarchic almost makes it sound sexier than it really ought to be. It was just messy."

At the time, the GTA team was made up of a number of young developers, only one of which had experience developing a video game. Penn was later brought in to help bring the game to life.

"It was like trying to nail jelly to kittens," he said. "Eventually there were enough hands to hold this thing together, but please nobody move, because this thing is going to fall apart. That's what it felt like right at the end. It was like, we'd just got to put this out now because if we don't it's just going to break again and we've lost it forever."

The original Grand Theft Auto launched in 1997. Grand Theft Auto 5 will release tomorrow on Sept. 17.