The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences is inviting three luminaries from Rockstar Games to join its Hall of Fame … but I bet the AIAS just wants to get the developers in a room to ask when the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V is coming out.
This week, during the Design Innovate Communicate Entertain Summit (DICE) in Las Vegas, one of gaming’s most prestigious bodies, the AIAS, will award Hall of Fame placement to key figures at Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games. Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies as well as Rockstar Games cofounders Dan Houser and Sam Houser will all take their place as the 18th, 19th, and 20th inductees in the AIAS exclusive Hall of Fame.
Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison will take the stage to announce the induction on Thursday at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. The presentation is part of the AIAS Award ceremony that will stream live on Twitch.
“A rare combination of cultural savvy, technical prowess, and a deep passion for interactive entertainment has made Rockstar Games a global success story that has helped propel the games medium forward,” Harrison said in a statement. “I am proud and honored to present Leslie, Sam, and Dan with this award on behalf of the entire industry.”
As the executive team in charge of Rockstar, Benzies and the Housers (who are brothers) are responsible for megahits like last year’s open-world action game Grand Theft Auto V. The latest entry in the long-running series, GTA V was a colossal blockbuster for Rockstar, publisher Take-Two Interactive, and gaming at large. Take-Two revealed yesterday that it has shipped 32.5 million copies of the title to retailers. In its first 24 hours, the crime game that has players planning and executing major heists generated more than $800 million in sales.
“Sam, Dan, and Leslie have developed some of this generation’s defining interactive masterpieces,” AIAS president Martin Rae said. “It is an honor to induct the Rockstar team to the Academy’s Hall of Fame, they are among great company. Their commitment to their craft and their passion in creating such memorable experiences is a true testament to their achievements as auteurs.”
The Housers founded Rockstar Games as a subsidiary label of Take-Two Interactive in 1998. Prior to that, the company was just a single-studio developer known as DMA Design that first published games for Commodore 64 in 1988. Prior to releasing Grand Theft Auto for PC in 1997, the game maker was best known for developing the PC puzzle game Lemmings. The company also produced the cult classics Body Harvest and Space Station Silicon Valley for Nintendo 64.
In 2001, DMA Design released Grand Theft Auto III for PlayStation 2. It was the last game the company produced before changing its name to Rockstar North under the Rockstar Games label.
Grand Theft Auto III was a generation-defining hit for the PS2 (and eventually PC and Xbox), and it propelled Rockstar North to the top of the developer ranks. Since then, the company has released multiple Grand Theft Auto sequels, a popular western Red Dead Redemption, and a detective game called L.A. Noire.
Rockstar Games also opened other studios in Japan, England, and elsewhere. These studios, under the leadership of the Housers, have released games like the open-world school game Bully, the action shooter Max Payne, and the driving title Midnight Club.
In the AIAS Hall of Fame, Benzies and the Housers will join the following list of previous inductees:
- Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo)
- Sid Meier (Firaxis Games)
- Hironobu Sakaguchi (Squaresoft)
- John Carmack (id Software)
- Will Wright (Maxis)
- Yu Suzuki (Sega)
- Peter Molyneux (Lionhead Studios)
- Trip Hawkins (Digital Chocolate)
- Richard Farriott (NCsoft North America)
- Dani Bunten
- Michael Morhaime (Blizzard)
- Mark Cerny (Cerny Games)
- Dr. Ray Muzyka (BioWare)
- Dr. Greg Zeschuk (BioWare)
- Tim Sweeney (Epic Games)
- Gabe Newell (Valve Corporation)