Dan Houser, the co-founder of video game studio Rockstar Games, is leaving the company he started with his brother Sam in 1998.
Dan Houser, who is known as the a main creator behind Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, two of the biggest video game series from Rockstar Games, is officially leaving the studio.
Rockstar Games’ parent company Take-Two Interactive confirmed his departure following an “extended break”. In a notice to US financial regulators, Take-Two stated that Houser will officially leave the firm in March.
His brother, Sam Houser, will remain as Rockstar Games’ president. Take-Two expressed that it was “extremely grateful” for Houser’s contributions and that the remaining team will focus on upcoming projects.
Dan Houser was one of the lead writers for the Grand Theft Auto series, as well as the studio’s other best-selling games, Bully and Red Dead Redemption. Grand Theft Auto V, which was released in 2013, is the third best-selling video game of all time, reaching more than 100 million copies sold.
Rockstar Games and controversies
Despite its success, the GTA series has been riddled with criticism from various groups, including politicians, due to the nature of the game. It is mostly about stealing cars and placing the players in the shoes of a criminal, wanting to build an empire and allowing them to engage in robbery, murder, or soliciting prostitution.
However, the company has not only faced controversies from critics but it has also earned the ire of its own fan base. In 2018, Dan Houser told Vulture that the team was working 100-hour weeks when they were creating the award-winning Red Dead Redemption 2.
His statement came at a time when many game journalists and fans were starting to discuss the so-called “crunch”, where video game staff work long hours to meet tight deadlines for a game’s release.