Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser to leave studio

Mr Houser will leave the studio – makers of Grand Theft Auto – in March.
Mr Houser will leave the studio – makers of Grand Theft Auto – in March.

Dan Houser, the co-founder of Rockstar Games, the studio behind Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, is to leave the firm next month.

Mr Houser founded Rockstar with his brother Sam in 1998.

The studio’s parent company, Take-Two Interactive, confirmed his departure in a notice sent to financial regulators in the United States and said he would leave the company in March following an “extended break” which began last year.

No reason has been given for his departure.

Rockstar’s games – most notably Grand Theft Auto on which Mr House was a lead writer – have often been controversial for their depictions of violence and crime as well as other issues, but the gaming series is among the most critically-acclaimed and best-selling of all-time.

Grand Theft Auto V – released in 2013 – was one of the most commercially successful games of the last decade, selling more than 100 million copies.

“We are extremely grateful for his contributions,” Rockstar said in its notice.

“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.”

In 2018, Mr Houser caused controversy when he said that in order to finish Red Dead Redemption 2, staff had worked “100-hour weeks”.

The revelation sparked debate in the video games industry, where the idea of “the crunch” – a culture where gaming staff are expected to work long hours for months in order to meet deadlines – is a source of criticism and an area some believe the industry needs to reform and move away from.

Rockstar later clarified that only a core writing team undertook longer hours, not the whole studio.

It is understood Mr Houser’s brother Sam will continue as company president.