Games guru departs

Grand Theft Auto writer Dan Houser leaves Rockstar Games

Rockstar North

Game on: Rockstar’s office in Edinburgh (pic: Terry Murden)

Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser, one of the creatives behind global phenomenon such as Grand Theft Auto, is leaving the firm he launched with his brother Sam in 1998.

His departure from the firm, whose UK head office is in Edinburgh, was announced in a statement in New York Stock which revealed he had been on an “extended break” from Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two Interactive for the past year.

The statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission said: “After an extended break beginning in the spring of 2019, Dan Houser, Vice President, Creative at Rockstar Games, will be leaving the company. Dan Houser’s last day will be March 11, 2020. 

“We are extremely grateful for his contributions. 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.”

Rockstar Games later said that his brother Sam’s role with Rockstar Games, which he founded in 1998, remains unchanged.

Winning team: Aaron Garbut, Sam Houser, Dan Houser and Leslie Benzies (pic: BAFTA)

Dan Houser is a London-born video game producer, writer, and voice actor. As well as producing video games, he was the head writer for Rockstar Games, working with an award-winning team that included Leslie Benzies who left the company in 2016.

Dan and Sam built their success on the back of video game called Race’n’Chase which was being developed by Dundee-based DMA Design. The Housers signed the game to BMG Interactive as the publisher and changed the name of the game to Grand Theft Auto. Following the sale of BMG Interactive to Take-Two in 1998, the brothers moved with the company to New York, where they founded Rockstar Games.

Grand Theft Auto received criticism and critical acclaim. The fifth in the series, released in 2013, was one of the most commercially successful games, selling in excess of 100 million copies. The follow-up game, Red Dead Redemption, was another hit for the company whose Rockstar North division moved into the former offices of The Scotsman newspaper in 2014.

Grand Theft Auto

Big seller: GTA V sold more than 100m copies

The company did not announce Mr Houser’s replacement or respond to requests for further comment.

Take-Two’s stock fell 5% following the announcement of Mr Houser’s departure.

On 12 April 2016, Mr Benzies sued Rockstar Games’ parent company Take-Two Interactive for $150 million in unpaid royalties, and for being dismissed without warning during his sabbatical, amongst several other accusations towards the president of Rockstar Games. 

On 7 February last year, Mr Benzies’ litigation with Take-Two was settled with all parties involved in the case successfully executed a confidential settlement.

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