Funding round

GTA developer Benzies raises $110m for new titles

BARB has put out a number of teasers

Scottish video games company, Build A Rocket Boy, founded by a former developer of smash-hit Grand Theft Auto, has raised $110m to launch its own open world platform.

Founded in 2016 and based in Leith, Build A Rocket Boy was launched by Leslie Benzies, who was president of Rockstar Games subsidiary Rockstar North.

Mr Benzies, a video game programmer, led the development of the GTA franchise until he left Rockstar in 2016 and later took legal action against the company, arguing that he had effectively been kicked out and denied a share of the game’s profits. Many of the complaints were thrown out in court two years later, with the parties reaching a confidential settlement in 2019.

Build A Rocket Boy will use the Series D funding to launch three flagship products: an immersive gaming open world platform called Everywhere, a video game series called MindsEye and a suite of user-generated content (UGC) design tools called Arcadia.

Investment was led by RedBird Capital Partners, a US-based private investment firm that focuses on entertainment, sports and experiential consumer ecosystems.

RedBird partner Julia Wittlin will join the board of Build A Rocket Boy which has issues teasers of its upcoming products. Everywhere is described as “community-driven gaming,” allowing gamers to create their own worlds in a way comparable to Roblox or Minecraft.

Mr Benzies, who chairs Build A Rocket Boy, said that he believes the launch of the new products, especially the Arcadia game tools, will be “game-changing” for the industry.

“RedBird’s expertise in building successful entertainment and media platforms will be invaluable and makes them a perfect partner,” he said.

“I started Build A Rocket Boy so that I could continue to share the stories I love with players and give them a place to create and share. We believe in a future where game creation is put in the hands of the players, and we will empower them with the tools to help shape this vision with us.”

Other backers of the funding round include Galaxy Interactive, NetEase Games, Endeavor, Alignment Growth, Woodline Partners LP and GTAM Partners.

Ms Wittlin, who leads emerging growth investing strategy at RedBird, said: “We are pleased to partner with and support exceptional talent like Leslie and the Build A Rocket Boy team as they build the next genre-defining game studio and entertainment platform.

“RedBird’s investment portfolio in media, entertainment, sports and experiential consumer enables a differentiated perspective on the gaming industry and its convergence with other forms of interactive entertainment.”

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