Last month, onetime Grand Theft Auto producer Gary Penn made the surprising revelation that the original incarnation in what would become Rockstar's genre-defining open-world action adventure franchise was very nearly canceled. Titled "Race 'n' Chase," the game was termed by Penn as "awful."
So what did Grand Theft Auto's humble beginnings look like? Yesterday, Grand Theft Auto lead designer Mike Dailly uploaded Race 'n' Chase's original design document to his Flickr photo stream. As detailed in the scan, the concept for the game that would eventually become Grand Theft Auto was originally designed to be a multiplayer racing game.
"The aim of Race 'n' Chase is to produce a fun, addictive, and fast multiplayer car racing and crashing game that uses a novel graphics method," the original concept reads. The game's story was simply stated as: "The game will be set in a present-day world."
The description of the game's action bears the first kernels of what would eventually become hallmark Grand Theft Auto gameplay.
"Players will be able to drive cars and possibly other vehicles such as boats, helicopters, or lorries," the section reads. "Cars can be stolen, raced, collided, crashed (ramraiding?) and have to be navigated about a large map. It will also be possible for players to get out of their car and steal another one. This will mean controlling a vulnerable pedestrian for a short time. Trying to steal a car may result in an alarm being set off which will, of course, attract the police."
According to the design document, Race 'n' Chase was initially slated to ship on July 1, 1996. However, as the game evolved, that date was eventually pushed back to February 28, 1998, on the PC, and then to June 30, 1998, on the original PlayStation.