If one thing is clear, is that Rockstar Games is one of the most successful video game companies in the world. They are behind the world-conquering GTA series, one of the best-selling and most loved video game series of all time, after all.
And their latest game GTA V has sold a whopping 50 million copies, and might yet become the top-selling video game of all time. And despite being originally released in 2013, GTA V is still actively being played today, thanks to the GTA Online portion of the game that lets gamers compete against others in GTA’s wicked city of Los Santos.
But despite this incredible success, there have been some low points in Rockstar’s history, such as the relatively poor sales of their Max Payne 3 video game, and now the departure of their long-time president Leslie Benzies. The Scotsman had been the boss of Rockstar North and the driving force behind every GTA game since GTA III, and also played a key role in developing hits like the cowboy-themed video game Red Dead Redemption.
And the man had been on a sabbatical for a period of 17 months according to Kotaku (which is certainly something that most burned out workers in today’s job market would sell their souls for), after leaving Edinburgh-based developer Rockstar North in 2014.
But for undisclosed reasons, Benzies won’t be returning to Rockstar. Perhaps the man has other plans in mind and will return to video game development at some point in the future, but it is clear that this is a blow for Rockstar no matter how you look at it. Because if Benzies really was instrumental in making the GTA series a success, will Rockstar be able to put out superb games like GTA V in the future? Will the series lose its velvet touch and instead focus on the multiplayer GTA Online component from now on, at the expense of the great single player campaigns of past GTA games?
More than one GTA fan has been moaning about the lack of GTA V DLC, especially considering that the great GTA IV had some great extra content like The Lost and the Damned released for it, while no announcement about GTA V DLC has been made by Rockstar to date. Veterans Aaron Garbut and Rob Nelson must now follow in Benzies footsteps, and it is clear that they have some pretty big shoes to fill.
But still, Rockstar had words of praise for Benzies, who was inducted into the Academy of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 2014, stating that they were very grateful for his contributions over the years as they had “worked together to make some amazing games”, and that Rockstar “will continue to create great experiences for our fans”.
And hopefully Benzies departure won’t steer Rockstar off course and they will keep making great games in the future, games as engaging and entertaining as their GTA series, Red Redemption and others, that were made greater by Benzies’ talent.