Thanks to the wonders of online photo sharing, the passage of time and the migration of employees, we can all take a look at the original design document for Grand Theft Auto. Design documents, for those of you not familiar with them, are like a roadmap for a prospective project. The aim is to outline what you want to do and then effectively list all of the things you plan to do to reach that stated goal.
Sometimes these documents are little more than a page or two in size, sometimes they stretch a little longer. They often go through many revisions during a project’s development and can be updated as development progresses. As you will see, the game was originally saddled with a less than enthralling title. All of the key elements are outlined though, as they should be in a good design document. It really is a fascinating insight into how one of gaming’s landmark titles was born.
The design document has been posted to Flickr by it’s creator, Mike Dailly (who also designed Lemmings, if memory serves). So for the full document you should head over there and check out his photo stream. We’ve posted a couple of small previews of pages below to pique your interest but for anyone interested in the history of modern gaming or the design process itself, viewing these scans is a must.