Today we have an interview with a very special person, Obbe Vermeji; who worked at Rockstar North for almost 10 years as a technical director, and is credited on some of Rockstar's most beloved titles like Grand Theft Auto 3, San Andreas and GTA IV. More recently he has begun sharing his time in the studio on X (formerly known as Twitter) you can follow him here. We'd like to extend our thanks, and a huge shout out to him for taking on this interview.

Liam asks "How did you first get into game development and eventually find yourself a role at Rockstar North?":

I finished a degree in physics 1994 (when I was 24). At that point making games wasn't really considered a serious job. It was only after I saw some ads in 'Edge magazine' that I realized I could make a living from it.

I applied everywhere and got a job offer from dma-design in Dundee, scotland.


The day before I started I met Leslie Benzies in a B&B. We and 8 other people started the same day and started working on 'Space Station Silicon Valley' for the N64.

For a number of years I shared a place with Leslie and 2 others.


In 1999 when SSSV was finished the company set up a satellite studio in Edinburgh. Most of the SSSV team moved to Edinburgh and so did the Body Harvest team (they started on Manhunt)

The main company was closed down by Take-2 and the satellite studio was renamed Rockstar North.


I always had the luck to be on a team with not too many experienced people so I was able to move up quickly. This was how it was in the games industry. It was all very new and there were not many people with experience

Liam asks "With 3, VC, and SA running on the RenderWare engine how was the studio’s transition to RAGE internally when it came to GTA IV’s development?":

The timing was good because we were able to use RW for San Andreas and after that we had to change a whole bunch of stuff anyway. It would have been much harder if we had to change engine during the ps2 era.

RAGE was developed by R* San Diego and they were great with helping us. It didn't feel like the engine was a separate thing. We all worked as a team. Sometimes people from SD would come over to Scotland to help etc.

The reality is that we would have to change a lot of stuff anyway. We had never used 'shaders' before and that was now a thing.

All in all the transition was pretty smooth.

Liam asks "Any thoughts on the infamous San Andreas Bigfoot myth?"

It's interesting how these stories just don't die. I only realized later that many people went looking for bigfoot in SA. Then they thought they could hear him while in fact it was CJ's stomach rumbling.

Liam asks "Did you ever get to meet some of the higher ups in the company like the Houser brothers or Leslie Benzies?"

I was pretty good friends with Leslie at the time and we're still friendly. I was involved with the management meetings at North so I saw him loads at work too.

I occasionally met Dan. Not too often really.

Sam came over once in a while. Maybe 3 times/year and occasionally we'd meet him in NY.

The Housers are a lot of fun to be around. There was a cultural difference between NY and North.

When they were in Scotland they made sure to adapt to our culture.

Liam asks "Seeing GTA Trilogy, projects you initially worked on be “remastered” what improvements could’ve been made by the studio internally to stop such a bad release?"

I think the studio (Groove Street Games) just weren't given enough time and manpower to do it properly. They converted 3 games on 6 platforms (I believe)

I think the company is fairly small (maybe 30 people) and I think they had only 2 years to do it.

They just needed more time and resources.

I believe they've managed to fix most of the bugs by now.

Liam asks "You’ve worked on quite a lot of other projects at R* too like Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories, so what’s your favourite title in the franchise and why?"

Even though my name is on the credits I didn't do any work on these. It was all Rockstar Leeds that did those.

I really only worked on gta3(ps2 & pc) VC(ps2 & pc) SA(ps2) and gtaIV(Consoles)

And just a couple of months on Manhunt.

My favourite one is Vice City. It's all the crazy gameplay from gta3 but with much better atmosphere/setting and music.

Thanks for reading our interview! Let us know below if you have any questions for Obbe as he tends to still answer them when he can - and once again, a huge thank you for him sharing this information to us!

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