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Why Rockstar's GTA Follow-Up Agent Was Canceled, According To Former Dev

Yet more details about Agent have come to light.


A former Rockstar developer has revealed details of some of the storied studio's canceled projects. These include Agent, a secret-agent-themed action game that was once set to be a PS3 exclusive, and an untitled zombie survival game set on a Scottish isle.

The details come from former technical director Obbe Vermeji, who recently began to update a blog (via Rock Paper Shotgun) about his experiences at Rockstar North. Vermeji joined the studio in 1995, when it was called DMA Design, and left in 2009, shortly after GTA IV shipped.

Agent was announced back in 2007 as a platform-exclusive IP for PlayStation. Further details emerged in 2009, but the game quietly vanished. It may have officially died in 2018 when the trademark expired. The game was apparently going to be level-based, with locations in a Swiss ski resort, Cairo, a French Mediterranean city, and even a final space station level. So more Moonraker than Casino Royale. Vermeji worked for "over a year" on the game, before Rockstar decided to focus on GTA IV.

Verjmeji wrote, "The game wasn't progressing as well as we'd hoped. It was inevitable that eventually the whole company would have to get behind GTA IV. We tried to cut the game down in an attempt the get the bulk of it done before the inevitable call from [Rockstar New York] would come. We cut out an entire level (I think Cairo) and maybe even the space section." Alas, the studio couldn't finish it in time. Verjmeji claims that the game was handed off to another internal studio.

The zombie game came about after Vice City and was intended to build on that game's code base. Vermeji wrote, "[a]fter Vice City [in 2002] there was a sense within North that it would be nice to do something else. Something that wasn't GTA. Some of the artists wanted to do a zombie survival game. Programmers like fantasy. Artists like zombies. Not sure why that is."

It was an open-world game on a windswept and foggy island where players would have to battle consistent zombie attack, as well as refuel various vehicles to get around. However, development only lasted a month, according to Vermeji, who wrote, "The idea seemed depressing and quickly ran out of steam. Even the people who originally coined the idea lost faith. We dropped the idea and got on with San Andreas.""

Since posting these details, Vermeji has shut down the blog. Vermeji alleges that he received a curt email from Rockstar North. He concluded, "This blog isn't important enough to me to piss off my former colleagues in Edinburgh so I'm winding it down. I'll maybe just leave a few articles with anecdotes that don't affect anyone but me. I would love for Rockstar to open up about development of the trilogy themselves, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon. Maybe I'll try again in a decade or two."

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