A former GTA dev made an ill-fated blog about his experiences, and boy did Rockstar not like that: ‘Maybe I’ll try again in a decade or two’

I love hearing about all the little bits of developer weirdness that go into making games—cursed rain orbs, hidden centrifuges, and, most recently, the revelation that Grand Theft Auto 3’s weird moon sniping easter egg was due to an unresolved dispute between artists. That last one’s thanks to a dev blog by Rockstar North’s former technical director, Obbe Vermeij.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Vermeij was a technical director at Rockstar North from 1995-2009, working on Grand Theft Auto 3 & 4, Vice City, and San Andreas. On November 11, Vermeij announced he’d be starting a developer blog about his “time at Rockstar North” on Twitter/X.

(Image credit: @ObbeVermeij on Twitter/X.)

Vermeij’s insights—both silly dev anecdotes and genuinely fascinating details, like the reveal that GTA 3 had a short-lived deathmatch mode—were all pretty interesting. Unfortunately, the lion’s share of them are gone now, which Vermeij says are due to an email from his former colleagues.

“I got an email from [Rockstar North],” Vermeij writes in his final post. “I genuinely didn’t think anyone would mind me talking about 20 year old games but I was wrong. Something about ruining the Rockstar mystique or something.”

This certainly wouldn’t be the first time the studio’s been guarded about its past ‘secrets’. Back in 2022, Mike Dailly—a former founding member—had his videos of prototype game footage copyright struck on YouTube. This led to some major frustration on behalf of the dev, who understandably felt like he should have some ownership over his hard work.

Dailly actually responded to Vermeij’s initial Twitter thread after the whole operation was ‘shut down’, remarking: “Noticed it’s gone already… damn.” He expresses some confusion, having not seen anything “particularly contentious … there really wasn’t anything especially offensive there.”

This isn’t exactly a case of history repeating itself, though. Vermeij is just talking anecdotes and personal stories, rather than anything he might want to use for a portfolio—some of his stories did also name-drop his fellow devs. While they didn’t reveal anything embarrassing, I can see why there’d be discomfort if he didn’t ask permission first. Vermeij specifically cites “some of the OGs” being upset with his blog. 

It’s also not as if he had bureaucratic action taken against him like Dailly did—he was just asked to cut it out, and did so to avoid souring his former working relationships. “This blog isn’t important enough to me to piss off my former colleagues in Edinburgh so I’m winding it down,” Vermeij writes. “I’ll maybe just leave a few articles with anecdotes that don’t affect anyone but me.”

At the time of writing, that’s the lunar anecdote, a delve into GTA 3’s limited amount of vehicles, and a tidbit about the weather. “I would love for Rockstar to open up about development of the trilogy themselves, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon. Maybe I’ll try again in a decade or two.”

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