While DMA Design may have created the original game that became a worldwide phenomenon, the creators of the game credit a UK publicist with creating the buzz that helped the game jump onto the international stage. Mike Dailly, co-creator of the original Grand Theft Auto, said that infamous British publicist Max Clifford did a job of manipulating the press to gain GTA notoriety and publicity.
"Max Clifford made it all happen," he said in an interview with The Sunday Times. "He told us how he would play it, who he would target, what those people targeted would say. He designed all the outcry, which pretty much guaranteed MPs would get involved... He'd do anything to keep the profile high."
Co-creator David Jones agreed, adding that "every word he said came true. We knew why every decision was made, and we were never, ever influenced by 'let's do something to create a bit of controversy,'" he continued. "We always did everything from the perspective of what's going to be the most fun. It just naturally kept pushing us down the darker direction."
Interestingly enough, Clifford has no recollection of any of this. Responding to C&VG the celebrity publicist has said he does not remember manufacturing media outcry regarding the first Grand Theft Auto game. Clifford told C&VG in a phone interview on Monday that he does not recall the specifics of the matter, though he doesn't deny the possibility.
"It was such a long time ago and we've done hundreds of things since then," he said. He went on to add: "I wouldn't argue with the claims published in the paper."
But Clifford added that he "does not remember the publications or MPs I spoke to. I'm not being funny but I do fifty of these kinds of campaigns each year."
"Most of those things published in the Sunday Times I had forgotten about, to be honest with you."