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After more than two years, GTA 3 has an amazing new speedrun record

Grand Theft Auto 3 speedruns are very tough, but after two years, and ahead of GTA 6, there’s a new world record in the Rockstar classic.

GTA 3 speedrun world record: A criminal runs from the police in Rockstar open-world game Grand Theft Auto 3

How long does it take you to finish Grand Theft Auto 3? Rockstar’s pioneering open-world crime game might seem small by today’s standards, but even focusing entirely on the story missions, it’s still massive. Portland. Staunton Island. Shoreside Vale. All the races, the gunfights, the nightmare of Espresso 2 Go. If you finished GTA 3 in less than ten hours, you’d probably think that was pretty fast. Well, as we wait for the arrival of GTA 6, it turns out there are still new ways to bend, break, and accelerate Grand Theft Auto 3, and finish it in world-record time. It’s taken more than two years, but with AGDQ about to kick off, GTA 3 speedruns have a new champion.

The GTA 6 release date is finally, definitely on its way, after the first trailer for the new Rockstar open-world game arrived in December. However, while we’re busy planning our return to Vice City, there’s plenty of life left in Liberty and Grand Theft Auto 3. A stone-cold classic from 2001, this was the first fully 3D GTA, and it helped perfect the formula that would define many of Rockstar’s games – including Red Dead Redemption – for years to come. Over the decades, GTA 3 speedruns have become incredibly optimized, separated in most cases by mere seconds. It’s taken two years to shave off some time, but one incredibly talented runner has finally set a new record.

59 minutes and 43 seconds – that’s all it takes the incredibly talented ‘Guywithalightsaber’ to beat Grand Theft Auto 3. They use a variety of strategies, ranging from the straightforward to the positively mind-melting.

One technique is to constantly alternate between the standard third-person and ‘cinematic’ camera angles. When you change camera angles in GTA 3, it reloads or ‘refreshes’ the roads in front of you, removing all the cars so you can drive as fast as you want without the obstacle of traffic. That’s a simple one. But watch Guywithalightsaber’s full world-record run in the video below, and you’ll notice something interesting with the mission markers and replays.

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When you hit the replay record button in GTA 3, it doesn’t record a video, because video files would be much too big to store. Instead, it creates a record of all your button inputs and other game data, so when you press play to watch the replay back, what you’re actually seeing is a recreation of your actions live in the game engine.

This is how you can trick GTA 3 into thinking you’ve done something that you haven’t. It’s a complicated process, but put simply, if you create a replay when you walk into a mission marker, and then play that replay the next time you walk into a mission marker, as far as the game is concerned, you’ve somehow accepted two missions at the same time – you’re doing two missions at once.

And of course, progress in Grand Theft Auto 3 is measured in raw numbers – the game doesn’t care what missions you’ve done, only how many. So, if you’re meant to do five missions for Salvatore before the game considers the Salvatore mission path completed, by repeatedly using the marker and replay trick, you can accept and ‘complete’ five missions instantly, and advance to the next part of the game without having to do anything.

GTA 3 speedrun world record: A criminal with a baseball bat, Claude Speed from Rockstar open-world game Grand Theft Auto 3

The previous world record for Grand Theft Auto 3 was set in December 2021 by ‘Anti.’ Remember when I said Grand Theft Auto 3 speedruns are very optimized? Guywithalightsaber has beat Anti’s record by six seconds – it’s taken two years for someone to knock off six seconds. It’s a huge achievement, and the perfect prelude to AGDQ, which begins on Sunday, January 14.

If you’re a big Rockstar fan, check out the best GTA 5 mods for 2024. You might also want to try some of the greatest sandbox games available on PC.

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