The game originally began life on the 32-bit PlayStation, off the back of Porsche Challenge. After having made an acclaimed circuit driving game, Team SOHO – like many other developers at the time – felt that a free roaming vehicle game was an interesting concept worth exploring. The title was prototyped and playable missions were made, but it then evolved into a Playstation 2 (PS2) project. However the original code was kept and there was talk of including it on the finished game, which would ultimately not happen. Apart from several screenshots printed in the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, the original version would never see release.
The hype surrounding the project began in earnest just before E3 2000, when a series of screenshots were published online. They revealed an amazing level of detail, clearly showing the very identifiable streets near Team SOHO’s studio. Though it has been argued that these shots were actually mock-up pre-renders, it is possible that they were taken from actual PS2-spec hardware running in real time. However, it is clear that these early screen shots include vehicle and character models which are more detailed than those in the final game, as well as higher-resolution textures and a much greater level of anti-aliasing than may be possible on PS2 hardware. [Info from Wikipedia] You can see these early PS2 screens in the gallery below.
As David has made us to notice: “The Getaway had alot more cars in the beta version, but some of the companys didn’t want part in the game, (probably because of the controversy over killing and GTA styled games) and were removed from the final version.”