A group of modders are trying to recreate a version of Grand Theft Auto III that never quite was.
When Grand Theft Auto III was first showcased, the game looked a little different. It wasn’t necessarily a huge difference, but the overall game looked a little more cartoonish with its brighter colors and more exaggerated characters. Many say that it was spiritually closer to the original Grand Theft Auto games from a visual perspective. These changes extended to the look of certain areas on the game’s first island. There were also a few things (noticeably the branding of the game’s police cars) that were altered following the 9/11 attacks.
There were other changes that were either removed because of developer choice or other limitations (such as a radio that cuts out in certain ranges and the ability to pay to heal your character), but the point is that the Grand Theft Auto III we first saw was different from the GTA III we eventually got.
This new mod aims to restore many of those changes. Currently referred to as GTA 3D, the idea behind this mod is to alter Grand Theft Auto III‘s PC version so that it looks and plays like the GTA III that many refer to as the game’s beta. This isn’t necessarily the first time that someone has tried this, but the 12-person team helming this particular mod have gone further than most in terms of implementing alterations that are even just hinted at by the game’s code. This extends to changes such as modified vehicle handling.
There’s quite a bit of work present even in the early version of this mod, which is especially impressive when you consider that the original version of GTA III wasn’t really all that different from the version of the game we eventually got. With the possible exception of the changes made due to 9/11, there isn’t even much indication that the things removed from the game were things that the developers desired to put into the game in the first place.
There’s no word on when this project will be finished, but it will certainly be interesting to play this original version of the game and see just how different it really is.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.