(Left to right) Sam Houser, Aaron Garbut, Dan Houser and Leslie Benzies of Rockstar Games, win the … [+]
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Topline: Dan Houser, the cofounder and vice president of Rockstar Games, as well as the co-writer on some of entertainment’s biggest titles like Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2, is leaving the studio in March, according to an SEC filing from parent company Take-Two Interactive.
- Houser started the company with his brother Sam, who remains as the studio’s president.
- Rockstar became a controversial brand name in 2001 with the success of the ground-breaking Grand Theft Auto 3, which Houser also co-wrote and produced.
- The series went on to dominate headlines and sales charts with each subsequent release, with the English writer becoming known for his satirical social commentary on American culture.
- According to the NPD Group, Grand Theft Auto V was the best-selling game of the decade, selling 115 million copies, also making it one of the biggest games ever.
- In 2009, Time Magazine named Dan and Sam Houser to its World’s Most Influential People list, and Rockstar Games was presented with the Academy Fellowship by BAFTA in 2014.
- As a studio lead, Houser (and his brother) has also been intertwined with Rockstar’s reputation for crunch, like in 2010 when spouses of workers for Red Dead Redemption penned a letter accusing the studio of pushing people “to the brink,” and again in 2018 for its sequel when he said they worked 100-hour weeks.
What To Watch For: How Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar reacts to losing one of its key people. Take-Two has enjoyed a 435% stock increase since the release of Grand Theft Auto V in 2013, which year-after-year continues to be a best-seller. A majority of its revenue comes from microtransactions, the big driver of that being Grand Theft Auto Online. Rockstar is one of the few development houses given years to complete games as every release is a guaranteed hit for its parent company. Houser’s last credited game at Rockstar was Red Dead Redemption 2, which was in development for around seven years but earned more than $725 million in its first three days and 26 million copies sold by last November. Stock price for Take-Two Interactive, which reports its third-quarter earnings on Thursday, fell as much as 7% in after-hours trading.
Big Number: 500,000. That’s how many lines of dialogue were written for Red Dead Redemption 2.