Large thumbnail image for article
Thumbnail image for article


Grand Theft Auto Boss Calls it a Day

Leslie Benzies, the man in charge of the famous Rockstar North, has decided to leave the company after around 16 years of employment. Benzies left the company on sabbatical leave (a period of extended, paid leave) on the 1st of September 2014 and has since decided not to return. The man has worked on many iconic and controversial games in the past, such as Manhunt 2, L.A Noire and a large portion of the Grand Theft Auto back catalogue including GTA San Andreas and GTA 5.

It was here that CJ's trip to the shops REALLY took a turn for the worst...

Joining the company in 1999, when the, when the organisation went by the name "DMA Design", his first foray in to game design under the company saw him assuming the role of team leader. His team's first job was to develop the game "Space Station Silicon Valley" on the Nintendo 64. Shortly following this games release, Benzies began assembling the team that would proceed to shape the world of Grand Theft Auto as we know it.

This... this was created by... by the company that made Manhunt... hmm...

Benzies was one of four higher-ups in the Rockstar hierarchy to attend the BAFTA ceremony in 2005, in which the company received the Academy Fellowship. According to the BAFTA website “the Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by the Academy in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games“. In this respect, it was the “shift into 3D with Grand Theft Auto 3 that raised the bar for game-making“ which earned the company this prestigious accolade.

And the BAFTA award for "Games that make it hard to take the moral high ground" goes to...

In short, one of the big players over at Rockstar North has left. This is undoubtedly a sad day for the company, but perhaps not for the industry as a whole. So far as I can tell, Benzies is leaving Rockstar, but hasn’t said that he’s quitting video games entirely. Here’s hoping that we see more from this man in the future. That is, when he’s not buying churches for half a million and preserving them for members of the community. Good bloke, this guy.

*This article was edited on 13/12/16 to tidy up some grammatical errors. No other content was altered.


Login to comment