DMA Design discusses how the original Grand Theft Auto was almost shut down, on a weekly basis
It's always so interesting to hear the tales of video game development in the 1990s. In the 70s it was all about these lone geniuses like Al Alcorn creating masterworks by themselves, and in the 80s people like Miyamoto got small teams to help with programming. But in the 90s the trend seemed to be more about teams of young hotshots who got into games development without a clue.
DMA Design and Rockstar devs tell the tale of the creation of the original GTA in their own words in this video, and "without a clue" certainly seems to be accurate in this case. They talk about how only one person on the team had ever shipped a game before, and not really being sure what they were working on until years into the project.
It's a showcase for the difference between technical mastery and skillful games development. Rockstar was obviously brilliant on the technical end, but it took time to learn how to actually ship a finished product.
It's important to remember that Grand Theft Auto began as a top-down PC game. The series has come a long way.