Darkel was a character that was removed during the development of Grand Theft Auto III. Little is known about the character, except that he was to be an evil, revolutionary street urchin who wanted to bring down Liberty City's economy. He is rumored to also be located at an unknown location in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. A lot of people also think that he was re-textured into Ratman in Grand Theft Auto IV.
Darkel was going to be a rebellious character that would give the player rampage-like missions that would usually involve killing a large number of people. The only Darkel mission that made it into the final product involved stealing an ice cream van, using its jingle to attract pedestrians, then blowing it up. This mission was given by El Burro in the final version of the game, intended to kill a group of gang members, in the mission I Scream, You Scream.
Darkel had his voice recorded for this part by Bill Fiore, but he was never used in the final version of the game. However, the character remains listed in Grand Theft Auto III's manual's credits, as well as having a character texture retained in the game's data files. The official Grand Theft Auto III website suggests that Darkel was to reside in the Harbour Tunnel that runs underneath a portion of Portland. In fact, there are remnants of his gang that spawns inside the same tunnel. They would all wear long brown robes, just like Darkel. They usually stand in a circle, encasing a hidden package, and spawn holding Molotov Cocktails. A mod was created to extract Darkel's texture from the game's data files.
Rockstar did not reveal why Darkel was removed from the game for several years. It was theorized that he was removed due to the September 11th attacks which happened a month before the release of the game. Rockstar did delay GTA III for three weeks to change various aspects of the game, including the color scheme of the police cars, presumably so they did not resemble those of the NYPD.
In various interviews, Rockstar claimed that Darkel was removed because his character and his missions did not fit in very well with the rest of the game, and denied that he was removed due to 9/11, and denied the rumor that one of his missions was going to be exploding a school bus full of children:
|“||Some people believe we removed an entire strand of missions because they found some reference in the code to a character called Darkel, but he had been cut months before [release] and the missions were never completed.||”|
–Dan Houser, How 9/11 Changed Grand Theft Auto III
|“|| Darkel was just a crazy bum who gave you some crazy missions. They were removed a few months before the game was done and long before 9/11 because they just weren’t as good as the rest of the game, and tonally they were a little odd. He started with 5 missions and they were slowly all cut. When only one or 2 were left, they were all removed as the character just didn’t work alongside the other characters.
None of these missions involved blowing up buses of school children although that is a funny rumor!
Some people believe that Darkel spawns in GTA III and they are still trying to find him. He is often reported running through dark alleyways and in the Harbor Tunnel where the rest of his gang can be found. Since his character model and textures are still in the game's internal files, many players believe that Darkel can spawn in Liberty City.
People have made connections between Ratman and Darkel. Players have even speculated that Ratman was an easter egg placed in GTA IV by Rockstar to reference Darkel from GTA III. Most of the players reported seeing a re-textured Darkel in GTA IV. Many people said that he was removed from GTA III's final version because he has some greater purpose and they say that Rockstar instead used him in GTA IV. This is a valid theory, because most descriptions of Ratman are very similar to Darkel's appearance.
Grand Theft Auto IVThere is no mention or any references by NPCs to Darkel, but there is a hobo that looks very similar to Darkel from GTA III.