Thursday 10th January 2002


Grand Theft Auto Advance... missing, presumed canned. Read on for lowdown on the game that would have set your GBA world on fire

18:25 It's long been suspected, but never confirmed by the US publisher, that the company's infamous street crime simulator would be winging its way to Nintendo's nuclear-powered handheld early in 2002. Yet here we are, and without hind nor hare of what would have been one of the pint-sized portable's strongest titles.

Admittedly Grand Theft Auto's previous handheld outings left quite a lot to be desired. While the city looked and played like its PSone counterpart, the lack of 'oomph' in the console's innards left for a metropolis quite bereft of life. However Game Boy Advance is a horse of an altogether different colour; the power packed under the hood of Nintendo's beast leaves its sibling looking like the ten year old piece of kit that it is, and is more than capable of creating a GTA experience as close to the original as the tiny screen will allow. Bok!

However, according to sources close to the project, the bad news is that we "are unlikely to see any release of GTA on Game Boy Advance for the foreseeable future". Development of both Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto 2 has been underway for sometime, with demos of both games already up and running and looking rather tasty. "Grand Theft Auto Advance is currently around six to eight weeks from completion, and with a few weeks with Nintendo to get the cartridges made, the game could have been ready for April," our contact told us this afternoon, "but development has now been put on hold for the time being, and work has stopped."

No reason was known for the development freeze, although the orders came from up high within the company, and all indications point to internal politics. Whether Rockstar is keen to promote the Grand Theft Auto brand as an all-singing, all-dancing 3D experience for next-gen platforms, or whether the franchise is to remain a Sony console exclusive is unclear, and with no one from Rockstar available for comment at the time of writing, it remains a mystery. More news when we have it.