GTA IV development very organic, says dev

Art director Aaron Garbut explains how Rockstar's super-title was put together, and how in-game brands are developed

Grand Theft Auto IV art director Aaron Garbut has shed some light on how a GTA game comes together behind the scenes, revealing that the process is actually very organic rather than carefully planned.

"There are essentially two routes you can go down in making a game: you can do a load of pre-production upfront and plan it all out in advance or you can just dive in and be a bit more organic," Garbut told

And while you might imagine that the former is necessary on something as vast and all-encompassing as GTA IV, apparently it's not.

"The first option is the safest, it lets everyone know where they are from day one, it lets everyone know what needs done and it's the easiest to organise. But I think it tends to lead to fairly lifeless, soulless games, particularly when the games are more open like ours," he said.

"We are a lot more organic, this is a conscious choice and it does lead to more difficulties along the way, it's harder on the team and it's trickier to keep track of but it leads to better games.

"It works because the core team know each other well and have worked together for a long time, we trust each other and know what to expect. Our whole ethos is to try things out, play with them, find what works best and move in that direction."

Garbut also shed light on the development of in-game brands, such as Cluckin' Bell, which for the most part is down to a well-organised design department - but occasionally it does come down to round-robin emails seeking inspiration.

"Every so often an email will be sent out looking for ideas for businesses or slogans, which always ends up degenerating into pictures of cats and diarrhoea for some reason," said Garbut. "But ideas come from all those places."

The full interview is available on now, while the game is released on April 29.

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