Before Grand Theft Auto’s radio became iconic, it was a fight just to get it in the game

It’s hard to imagine the Grand Theft Auto series without its radio stations. The radio doesn’t just provide a steady stream of music while running a red light or crashing into the nearest postbox. It delivers a flavour of what the world is like without the player around, bombarding the listener with satirical advertisements and bizarre talk radio shows that are always seconds away from going off the rails. They’ve been a key part of Grand Theft Auto since the very first entry in 1997, but they almost didn’t make it into the game at all. In the beginning, GTA’s radio stations were actually the result of an audio team experimenting against their employers’ wishes.

I had this idea of creating almost like a mini-Motown Records here in Dundee

Colin Anderson

Colin Anderson is the person you have to thank for bringing radio to Grand Theft Auto. A member of the sound department at DMA Design (Grand Theft Auto’s original developers), Anderson came up with the idea when speaking to Craig Conner, a musician working on the first GTA. Conner had been developing demos for the game in a wide-range of musical genres and Anderson knew that they would likely need to scrap two-thirds of them when they settled on a singular style.

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