Remember Rockstar’s Agent? Announced in 2007 for the PlayStation 3, it was touted as a stealth action title set during the Cold War. It would receive sporadic updates before the trademark was eventually abandoned and it was removed from the developer’s website. However, new details are available thanks to former Rockstar North technical director Obbe Vermeij, who worked from 1999 to 2009.
He noted that after Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the team wanted to do something different. “Rockstar San Diego was working on a James Bond-style game. [Former Rockstar North president] Leslie Benzies was keen to do something along those lines. We did a demo doing some spy stuff in San Andreas. I think there was a hang glider and a car turning into a submarine or something.”
The project impressed the San Diego and New York studios enough to start working on it. However, development for Grand Theft Auto 4 was also starting. “The idea was that the team in North would roughly split down the middle. Half of us would work on the next Grand Theft Auto (4) and the other half on Agent,” says Obbe.
Internally known as Jimmy (the Scottish version of James), it was more linear than Grand Theft Auto, with locations like a French Mediterranean city, a Swiss ski resort, Cairo, and a massive space shootout with lasers. It was “Classic James Bond. The vibe was very cool.” The team worked on it for over a year, but it wasn’t “progressing as well as we’d hoped.”
“It was inevitable that eventually, the whole company would have to get behind Grand Theft Auto 5. We tried to cut the game down in an attempt the get the bulk of it done before the inevitable call from New York would come. We cut out an entire level (I think Cairo) and maybe even the space section.”
Eventually, Jimmy was deemed “too much of a distraction” and thus ditched. Obbe believes another company within Rockstar took over development, but it never saw completion. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to hear about what could have been.
Rockstar Games is currently working on the next Grand Theft Auto, which will receive its first trailer in early December. It could launch before April 2025, based on Take-Two’s projections.