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Speedrunner Completes GTA Vice City in 8 Minutes, Ex-Developer Weighs In

Dive into the technical details of the incredible speedrun.

A speedrunner has pulled off an incredible feat, tearing through Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in a mind-blowing eight minutes. Twitter user GTA EZ shared the impressive speedrun video, tagging former Rockstar Games developer Obbe Vermeij to see if he could explain the record-breaking time.

Vermeij, surprised by the speed, dove into the technical details.

The speedrunner, he revealed, exploited several glitches in the game. They used a combination of restarts, replays, and accessing areas that should be locked. These tricks take advantage of bugs where the game’s code forgets to clear data properly during restarts or replays.

By cleverly starting and canceling missions in a specific way, the runner triggered a glitch that lets them launch the final mission without completing the earlier ones. Vermeij even admitted he was under the impression that restarts and reloads weren’t allowed in standard speedruns.

The GTA Twitter community then stepped in and provided detailed explanations about the different categories of speedrunning and how this one fit in. They explained it belonged to a category called “any% SSU.” SSU stands for Script Stack Underflow.

But what exactly is Script Stack Underflow? Imagine the game uses a to-do list, a “stack,” to keep track of mission tasks. Normally, this list has things that need to be done. But what happens if the list is empty and the game tries to check it? Instead of crashing, it gets confused. This confusion of the system is used as a secret weapon by the speedrunners. Speedrunners manipulate a timer in the game to trick it into thinking it’s time for the final mission, even though all the earlier missions haven’t been completed. This lets them skip straight to the end, slashing their completion time.

This type of speedrun isn’t about the traditional gameplay experience. It’s more about having deep knowledge of the game’s inner workings and how the scripts function. That’s why it falls under the “any% SSU” category, where pretty much anything goes, including exploits and messing with the scripts.

Whether it’s the mystery of the disappearing pigeons or the crashing planes, the back-and-forth between the GTA community and Obbe Vermeij, one of the GTA series’ original developers, offers a rare glimpse into the intricacies of game development and the unexpected ways games can be played.

Hassan Sajid
Hassan Sajid // Articles: 106
Combining his engineering background with his lifelong gaming passion, Hassan creates deeply informative, technically comprehensive guides to help fellow players master GTA. // Full Bio