Distractions: Agent & Z - GTA

3 min read
24 November 2023

Making games is hard word and after a while you really want a change.

After Vice City 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.

We pursued the zombie idea for a while. Working title for the game was Z (Pronounced Zed not Zee).

The idea was to use the Vice code as is. The game was to take place on a windswept foggy Scottish island. The player would be under constant attack from zombies. The player would need to use vehicles to get around but vehicles would need fuel. Acquiring the fuel would be a big part of the game.

I can't quite remember how long we worked on Z. Maybe a month or so.

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.

After San Andreas we REALLY wanted to do something that wasn't gta. Rockstar San Diego were working on a James Bond style game. Leslie Benzies was keen to do something along those lines. We did a demo doing some spy stuff in San Andreas. I think there was a hang glider and a car turning into a submarine or something.

It impressed R*SD and NY and we started working on it. The idea was that the team in North would roughly be split down the middle. Half of us would work on the next gta (4) and the other half on Agent.

Internally the project was known as Jimmy. It was a James Bond game and Jimmy is the Scottish version of James.

The game was to be set in the 70s, be more linear than gta with a number of locations. There was a French Mediterranean city, A Swiss ski resort, Cairo and at the end there would be a big shootout with lasers in space.

Classic James Bond. The vibe was very cool.

We really got going on this one and worked on it for over a year. I remember working on a downhill skiing chase scene with guns for instance.

The game wasn't progressing as well as we'd hoped. It was inevitable that eventually the whole company would have to get behind gta4. We tried to cut the game down in an attempt the get the bulk of it done before the inevitable call from NY would come. We cut out an entire level (I think Cairo) and maybe even the space section.

It became clear that Jimmy was going to be too much of a distraction for us and we ditched it. I think it was handed over to another company within R* but never got completed.

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May I 63
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