sandbox games

The Getaway 3 [PS3 – Cancelled]

As we can read on Wikipedia, a Getaway 3 tech demo featuring Piccadilly Circus was demonstrated in May 2005 at E3, but this was not directly from the game. It was confirmed that the game would again be set in London but rumours had been circulating that the game could also feature Amsterdam, which was later confirmed by a video shown at the E3 convention in 2006. Information regarding The Getaway was released on 7 March 2008 by screenplay writer Katie Ellwood, who affirmed the action title was  

GTA IV [X360/PS3 – Beta]


Michelle is Niko’s first girlfriend in GTA 4. In the beta version, her face looks totally different from the final. [Thanks a lot to Gerror for this image!]


Various users from the GTA Forums have found a lot of differences in the early GTA4 screens, were we can see:

  • A removed Black Taxis
  • Missing License Plates
  • Beta Gloves
  • Beta Haircut
  • Transparent White Blinkers for Police/Taxi
  • Beta clothes
  • Little Jacob without glasses
  • Beta MP5
  • Removed Silenced Glock
  • .375 Colt Python Revolver
  • Beta MP10 – Done (by BWARazor)
  • Yankee had white rims
  • NOOSE Van was an blue Boxville Truck
  • Vincent looks different
  • Vlad with a long haircut
  • RESTAUTANT were miss-spelled on the sign
  • Sales sign were removed in Chinatown
  • Leenies Fireproof were called in the beta “STANLEY Fireproof Door Co.”
  • Pogo the Space Monkey Arcade game from GTA SA in bars
  • In the Beta the Rotterdam Tower blue,purple and white lights intstead of red,white and blue lights in the final
  • The Beta has two 2 stores weren’t in the final game: JR.RAY’S and JIM
  • The Sex Shop had different wall textures

It’s interesting to notice that at the GTA Forum they are even working on a Mod for the PC version of the game, to restore some of the beta content removed from the final version! You can check the topic in here:  Grand Theft Auto IV Beta Mod.




The Getaway [PS2 – Beta & Concept]

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.”


GTA: San Andreas [PS2 – Beta]

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a sandbox action game developed by Rockstar North, originally released for the PlayStation 2 in October 2004 and later ported to the Xbox and Microsoft Windows. In the gallery below you can see some early screens with beta differences, noticed by Sir_Brando and bazaaboy44:

  • Image 1: Big Smoke and and Sweet in Beta clothes
  • Image 2: Main charaters in beta clothes; Taken out character on bottom right.
  • Image 3: Beta CJ face
  • Image 4: Beta skin and fat CJ; Taken out Grove Street character, third from left.
  • Image 5: Homies were originally able to follow CJ into buildings, such as stores, restaurants and safehouses.
  • Image 6: Taken out woman chararacter
  • Image 7: Hooded Grove Street character on right was taken out.
  • Image 8: Taken out Grove Street character.
  • Image 9: Car washes, similar to the ones in GTA IV were originally accessible, but due to limitations of the game engine, they are non-functional in the final.

A “sex mini-game” was removed from the final version, but still hidden in its code (from Wikipedia):

In mid-June 2005, a software patch for the game dubbed the “Hot Coffee mod” was released by Patrick Wildenborg (under the Internet alias “PatrickW”), a 38-year old modder from the Netherlands. The name “Hot Coffee” refers to the way the released game alludes to the unseen sex scenes. In the unmodified game, the player takes his girlfriend to her front door and she asks him if he would like to come in for “some coffee”. He agrees, and the camera stays outside, swaying back and forth a bit, while moaning sounds are heard.

After installing the patch, users can enter the main character’s girlfriends’ houses and engage in a crudely rendered, fully clothed sexual intercourse mini-game.

Thanks to Solidshake, Sir_Brando, PCloadletter and bazaaboy44 for the contributions!


Beta Videos:

Videos (Hot Coffee):

There are also some missions that were cut from the final release of the game, altrough there is a mod for PC that you can play these missions, also there are some changes in some missions that were modified in the final version:

-There are many deleted missions which include The Truth is Out There and Impounded, or missions with different objectives which include Doberman, Photo Opportunity and Beat Down on B Dup.

-In the first version of Saint Mark’s Bistro, CJ had to chase Marco Forelli with a car in the streets of Portland, but for some reason, Portland is not full in the final version (only Saint Mark’s, Red Light District and some place of Chinatown and Portland View) and the road isn’t solid anywhere.

-Fish in a Barrel was supposedly an actual mission instead of a mere cutscene.

-In Sweet’s Girl, originally Sweet did not have a gun, so CJ escorted him out.

-In Photo Opportunity, unused text implies that CJ hijacked and used a helicopter.

-There was going to be a mission involving a search for Big Smoke.

-There was going to be a different race in the Los Santos Stadium.

-There were San Fierro Rifa gang tags. The texture is still in the game files. 

GTA 3 [Beta – PS2 Tech Demo / Concept]


Prior to the 2001 release of the final game, several modifications were made on Grand Theft Auto III. The changes were apparent as several promotional materials had previously displayed features that would be absent in the final version of the game. While cuts and changes are frequent during game development, the changes in GTA III were of note as they were made around the time when the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred; this led some gamers to speculate that at least some of the changes were motivated by the attacks. Although little was disclosed about the types of changes to be made and when they were conducted, Sam Houser, the president of Rockstar Games (based in Manhattan, New York City), was quoted September 19, 2001 in mentioning a review would to be undergone for GTA III, in addition to confirming the delay of the game’s release by three weeks (the original, rough release date was suggested by Houser to be on October 2, 2001):

“ …our biggest games, including Grand Theft Auto [III], have been delayed slightly. This decision is based on two factors, firstly it has been a little difficult to get work done in downtown Manhattan in the last week since basic communications infrastructure has been intermittent at best, and secondly we felt that a full content review of all our titles was absolutely necessary for us in light of the horrifying event we all witnessed in NYC last week. As for Grand Theft Auto [III], since the game is so huge the review is no short process. So far we have come across certain small contextual references that we were no longer comfortable with, as well as a couple of very rare game play instances that no longer felt appropriate to us. We [apologize] to you and all the people waiting for this game to ship for the delays that have now ensued, but I’m sure you can understand our reasoning.”


[Thanks to Solidshake for these images!]

The only change on the game that has been suggested to have been made shortly after 9/11 was of the police cars’ paint scheme; the new colour scheme of the LCPD is modelled in a panda-like black-and-white design similar to the LAPD, while the old color scheme of blue with white stripes (seen in previews and the manual map) resembles that of the NYPD. Pre-release screenshots in the game’s official website depicting police cars had also undergone modifications, around a week after September 11. The NYPD-like paint scheme would eventually be reintroduced in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, but uses black instead of NYPD’s blue colour.

Another cut is that of Darkel, an in-game character, for the final version of the game. Mentioned in several early video game publications and websites, Darkel was to be a revolutionary urchin who vowed to bring down the city’s economy. One mission involved stealing an ice cream van, using it to attract pedestrians, then blowing it up (this mission would eventually be given by El Burro instead in the final version of game to kill a group of gang members). Darkel was also originally expected to give out Rampage-like missions, and even had his voice recorded for this part. Rockstar later decided that they would like to go back to the original system of giving out rampages as featured in Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto 2. Although Darkel and his missions were removed indefinitely, the character remains listed in the manual’s credits, as well as having a character texture retained in the game’s data files.

Another reminisce of Darkel’s existence is an abandoned tunnel in the city, associated with the character in the official website, and includes four homeless people in a group wielding Molotov cocktails. Both the tunnel and the four homeless people are retained in the final version of the game.The Dodo airplane, the only drivable aircraft in the game, was also a point of discussion; the wings of the vehicle were significantly short, while an uncontrollable full-winged version has been seen flying around the city.

However, the plane has, for months before 9/11, had a short wingspan, as evidenced from a preview in Game Informer (Issue #95), which indicated that the plane was to be used in a (now abandoned) mission to loft the plane high enough in its brief flight and reach new areas of the city. The Dodo is considerably difficult to control, usually resulting in short flights (although it is possible to fly the plane continuously around Liberty City when properly trained). Mods exist to give the Dodo a wider wing, though the outer sections are not solid.

Otherwise, the aircraft would not be able to fit into the import/export garage at the docks in Portland Island.Other changes included stopping the selection of certain character models when using cheat codes in, removing the aforementioned ability to blow limbs off non-player characters in only the PlayStation 2 version of GTA III, elderly pedestrians with walkers, school children as pedestrians and a school bus.” The airport was also in located in staunton island and the callahan bridge was called the westport bridge, due to signs in the game calling it that.

GTA 3 was also meant to be released on the sega Dreamcast, but it couldnt be relased on the console because of the game’s hardware requirements (Source, Game informer).

[Info from Wikipedia]

Official Beta Portland L-Train Station

Portland Beta Station

In both screens, it doesn’t show the subway entrance, so the station might have been in place of the subway in early alpha and beta stages.

Bonus: Beta train interior:

Beta Train Interior

Credit to gta111 from

Thanks to Patrick Drozg for the contribution!