Rockstar Games co-founder, ‘Grand Theft Auto’ lead exits studio

Dan Houser’s last Rockstar Games credit was as a writer and executive producer on ‘Red Dead Redemption 2.’ — Picture courtesy of Rockstar Games
Dan Houser’s last Rockstar Games credit was as a writer and executive producer on ‘Red Dead Redemption 2.’ — Picture courtesy of Rockstar Games

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 6 — Dan Houser is to leave Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption publisher and development network Rockstar Games, making older brother Sam the only original co-founder still in place.

Having been credited with writing on almost every entry to the influential and lucrative Grand Theft Auto franchise after its 1997 debut, Rockstar Games’ Vice President of Creative, Dan Houser, is leaving the video game giant he helped build.

Rockstar’s parent company, Take-Two Interactive, has announced a leaving date of March 11 for the executive, confirming that he’d been on an extended break since the Spring of 2019, not long after the release of Red Dead Redemption 2.

The announcement was made via a filing to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

“We are extremely grateful for his contributions,” Take-Two noted. “Rockstar Games has built some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful game worlds, a global community of passionate fans and an incredibly talented team, which remains focused on current and future projects.”

The Housers’ three fellow co-founders — Gary Foreman, Jamie King and Terry Donovan — had all left in 2005 and 2006.

Leslie Benzies, best known for his work as a designer and producer on the Grand Theft Auto franchise, departed in 2016 after more than a year’s sabbatical.

Shortly after, he launched a lawsuit against his former employer for unpaid royalties, starting a new studio with two of his ex-Rockstar North studio colleagues in the same city of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V released across a spread of platforms between 2013 and 2015, and has been supplying players of multiplayer mode Grand Theft Auto Online with new content in the time since.

The company returned to its Wild West series Red Dead Redemption with a 2018 PlayStation 4 and Xbox One prequel, later released on PC in 2019, with the associated Red Dead Online mode receiving new content accordingly.

Rockstar’s current and future projects are the subject of speculation among fans and industry-watchers, with seven years having passed since the Grand Theft Auto V debut, and the release of new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles set for Holiday 2020.

However, both Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto IV were announced two years before their eventual release, and both subject to release date delays, making it less likely that a GTA VI will arrive at the start of 2020’s new console generation.

Take-Two announced Houser’s departure in advance of an earnings report due on February 6. — AFP-Relaxnews

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