9/11 Changed Everything, Including Grand Theft Auto III


Earnest “Nex” Cavalli
The Escapist
January 10, 2012

After years of dodging rumors on how it had to alter Grand Theft Auto III following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, Rockstar Games has decided to come clean.

You recall the events of 9/11, right? A group of terrorists hijack a bunch of planes, fly them into New York City’s World Trade Center towers, killing thousands and kicking off both the last decade of xenophobic American foreign policy and a mad rush by all sorts of creative types to remove any and all references to the towers in their upcoming works. Most notably, an early trailer for the 2002 Spider-Man film that showed Spidey capturing a helicopter by building a web between the two towers was buried by Columbia Pictures, despite having been shown to audiences prior to the attack.

Videogames were not immune to this phenomenon, and for years after its release, fans believed that Grand Theft Auto III — a game which debuted only one month after 9/11 — had lost a host of content following the attack. Given the game’s release date, and it being set in a fictionalized version of New York City, that made a lot of sense for an open-world crime simulator where players are given the opportunity to fly planes.

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