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Insomniac, Remedy, and Capcom devs talk GTA 3's impact: "a quantum leap in video game design"

GTA 3
(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

For GTA 3's 20th birthday, several prominent game developers are talking about the influence of Rockstar's seminal open-world adventure.

Over on the PlayStation Blog developers from Insomniac, Remedy, Capcom, Bend Studio, Arkane Lyon, Media Molecule, Firesprite Games, and PlayStation London are celebrating GTA 3's big anniversary with statements on the game's impact. There's a fairly unanimous consensus that Rockstar set a new standard for open-world games generally, but in some cases, GTA 3 had a more direct effect on developers as they were heading up their own popular games, one of which revitalized an entire series and arguably set standards for a completely different genre. 

Capcom's Koshi Nakanishi suggests it was in part due to GTA 3's genre-defining open world that the closed-in, claustrophobic feel of Resident Evil 7 was conceived.

"I remember thinking 'how did they make this kind of game on PS2?'" Nakanishi recalls. "Not only from a gameplay point of view, but also from a technical point of view. In response to the subsequent development of open-world games, I decided to do the exact opposite and make a small, narrow, dense horror game, and Resident Evil 7 was born. In a way, Resident Evil 7 may have been born because of GTA 3. Thank you and congratulations on the 20th anniversary of GTA 3."

GTA 3's non-linear campaign allowed players to define their own metrics for progress and gameplay parameters, and you can thank its design for some of Ratchet & Clank's own systems. 

"GTA 3 changed my perspective of what makes games fun," says Insomniac's Brian Hastings. "Games had always been about making the jumps, killing the enemies, solving the puzzles – doing the tasks the designer laid out for you. GTA III was the first game where you really made your own fun. That led me to reimagine how exploration and open-ended gadget and weapon usage in Ratchet & Clank could allow players to find their own fun and approach the gameplay in their own creative ways."

Remedy's Mikael Kasurinen, who directed our 2019 GOTY Control, says GTA 3 was key to his path as a developer and continues to influence the way he makes games to this day.

"I remember entering the Remedy offices early November, 2001. I was excited, a bit anxious. It was my first day of work. The first thing I saw was a group of people around a TV. Some were laughing, others staring, speechless. They were playing GTA 3. It was provocative, unexpected, endlessly fun and impossible to let go of. A tectonic shift in gaming that set the stage for my career – influencing my work to this day."

GTA 3 is included in the upcoming remastered GTA Trilogy, launching November 11 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. A mobile release on Android is scheduled for 2022.

For our own humble contribution to the occasion, we sat down with Rockstar's Aaron Garbut to hear first-hand what made GTA 3 so special.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked in - *shudders* - content management while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG. Now, as GamesRadar's Arizona-based Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.