New details on Agent, a cancelled title by Rockstar Games have emerged. We also have learned more about a zombie survival game too. These new bits of info come from a former Rockstar Games employee who has shared a lot of inside stories on the development of several games.
This month, Obbe Vermeij, a former technical director at Rockstar North, started a blog and X/Twitter account about his time at the studio. He worked there from 1995 to 2009. Obbe has had quite a career spanning big games at Rockstar. Some of the games that he’s credited on include GTA III, Vice City, San Andreas, GTA VI and many more.
In one particular blog post, Vermeij discusses the fabled Agent game and more. He starts off by saying “Making games is hard work and after a while you really want a change.” This sets the tone.
Zombie game post Vice City
According to the developer, there was a feeling within the walls of Rockstar North following the conclusion of Vice City to do something different from GTA for a change.
Several artists started dreaming up a Zombie survival game; codenamed Z. The plan was to reuse Vice City’s code but set the game on a Scottish island. As for how the game would work, zombies would constantly attack the player and vehicles would be used to travel.
Some of the artists wanted to do a zombie survival game. Programmers like fantasy. Artists like zombies. Not sure why that is.
We pursued the zombie idea for a while. Working title for the game was Z (Pronounced Zed not Zee).Obbe Vermeij
These vehicles had a fuel mechanic and getting the fuel was a major part of the game. Sadly due to the game giving out a depressing feeling, desire to work on it waned. Obbe Vermeij explains this meant development only lasted about a month or so. This even included those that created the idea. Everyone then moved onto GTA San Andreas.
The Agent we never got
A stronger feeling of change was felt once GTA San Andreas had been finished. Developers at Rockstar North used San Andreas to test spy gameplay inside of the game such as a car transforming into a submarine plus a hang glider. Leslie Benzies “was keen to do something along those lines” in terms of a spy. These developments are said to have impressed both Rockstar San Diego and New York. A James Bond-like game was already being worked on at Rockstar San Diego at this time.
Vermeij says that the Rockstar North team was divided into two. GTA IV was of course next up so one half started on that blockbuster whereas the remaining half began on Agent. Its codename was Jimmy. Why was this? Jimmy was the Scottish version of James Bond. Simple enough! Fun fact, Jimmy as a name is still used by Rockstar for map loading and a AES key identifier.
We’ve known for some time now that Agent was set in the past, around the 70s and Obbe Vermeij says as much.
The game would also function differently to the previous GTA titles in terms of the game world. It would not be a grand open world game but feature a few distinct places in a linear fashion. In terms of locales, we would have visited Cairo, a Swiss ski resort, one French Mediterranean city and a space shootout with lasers. Quite the turn of events!
Vermeij shared a section he worked on involved the ski resort where it would be a downhill chase shootout. Below is concept art likely from the Swiss ski location.
Washington D.C. was another location some developers mentioned in a report that we covered back in 2019 here. When scouting Cario, police detained some Rockstar Games developers.
Classic James Bond. The vibe was very cool.Obbe Vermeij
Many Rockstar Games fans had hoped for Agent but it was not to be despite work had been underway for over 1 year. Apparently progression wasn’t far along enough and GTA IV became all hands on deck.
There were attempts to get it out of the door before Rockstar New York, who call the shots, issued a call to work on GTA 4. Obbe, recalls with a hazy memory, the entire Cario level was cut and even the space station section. The devs got moved onto GTA IV and Agent was a distraction so the left it. As reported in 2019, the game was moved to Rockstar Leeds but again it was shelved.
Despite being cancelled, the game remained on Rockstar Games’ website for quite some time. The Agent trademark was ultimately abandoned in 2018 though.
Obbe Vermeij’s blog is rich in new inside information; it is a treat and worth a read.
Source: Obbe Vermeij