It’s hard to find someone who has not heard of or played the Grand Theft Auto games, some played the original top down games while others enjoyed the series when it went 3D. One person who isn’t too keen on the name though is former Rockstar North head of the series creator who is now suing the company.
The former Rockstar North head, Leslie Benzies, took a sabbatical back in September 2014 but it was only in January that reports emerged stating that Benzies had left the company. A transcript of the call showed that Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two, said on a call that Benzies not only went on sabbatical but decided to not return to Rockstar games. As with all these tales, Benzies statement within his lawsuit claims that when he returned to work on April 1st, 2015, his key had been deactivated. After security gave him access, he was then “ordered to leave by Rockstar North office manager without reason”.
In a statement provided by Christopher Bakes, partner at the Law firm Locke Lorde LLP, that during his sabbatical, Benzies “discovered numerous deceptions on the part of Take-Two, Rockstar, Rockstar North Ltd, Sam Houser and Dan Houser, who sought to force him out of the company and terminate his portion of royalty payments based upon arbitrary actions by the company’s royalty Allocation Committee, a committee that may or may not have actually ever met”.
While these are serious claims, the figure that these unpaid royalties add up to is over $150 million, a small sum for large companies but if the allegations turn out to be true, the damage could be much higher.