The mystery of GTA 3's three moons has finally been solved by an ex-Rockstar dev

Obbe Vermeij via Twitter
(Image credit: Obbe Vermeij via Twitter)

An ex-Rockstar developer has finally revealed why the moon changes size in GTA 3.

The moon in GTA 3 actually changes size whenever the player shoots it with a sniper rifle. This was always one of the weirder things about Rockstar's classic, and up until now, no one's known why this was actually a feature in the game.

All that changed earlier today, when Obbe Vermeij, a former developer at Rockstar North, revealed how it came to be. In the post on Twitter below, Vermeij revealed that two fellow Rockstar developers wanted him to make his original design of the moon smaller, while two other developers wanted him to make it bigger. 

Because neither party could settle the matter, Vermeij made it so that they could change the size of the moon between three presets. This meant the Rockstar developers could agree on the size of the moon in their own time, and since Vermeij was working on sniper rifles for GTA 3 at the time, he thought a good use of his time would be to toggle the size of the moon by shooting it with said rifle.

"The artists never got back to me so I just left it in," Vermeij concluded, adding that not only was it in GTA 3, but it was also in San Andreas. GTA 3 is probably the more infamous case of the moon changing size, because it's the first time that it showed up in the GTA series, while San Andreas' changing phases of the moon might have obscured the effect slightly.

Vermeij isn't responsible for the moon having different phases in San Andreas, which he points out in a response to a Twitter user. The developer also reveals in another tweet that the Definitive Edition of GTA 3 and San Andreas kept the three presets for the moon in, for some inexplicable reason. Maybe someone at Rockstar wanted to keep the feature alive. 

If Vermeij's name sounds familiar, that's because he spent a bit of time last year revealing GTA cut content and other secrets, before promptly being asked to cut it out by Rockstar. Vermeij even revealed scrapped projects like a zombie game, but apparently his former colleagues weren't too pleased with him dishing out information on past projects. 

Somehow I don't think we'll the moon changing size in GTA 6, which is currently pencilled in for a launch next year in 2025.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.