Join GamesBeat Summit 2021 this April 28-29. Register for a free or VIP pass today.
Leslie Benzies has left Rockstar North after 15 years of service.
Benzies was president of the Scotland-based studio responsible for some of gaming’s biggest moments, including the 54 million-selling Grand Theft Auto V. Benzies went on sabbatical after that game’s release and has now decided not to return to the company.
Given how intensive the development process is for such big triple-A titles, it’s understandable that Benzies — who worked on the GTA series starting with 2001’s Grand Theft Auto III — would have needed a break after GTA V shipped, but that’s now become a permanent move.
Rockstar North confirmed the news to Kotaku, saying, “Leslie Benzies went on sabbatical on September 1, 2014 and has decided not to return to work for the company. We are very grateful for Leslie’s contributions to Rockstar over the last 15 years as we worked together to make some amazing games.
“Leslie helped us build an incredible team that will continue to create great experiences for our fans. Leslie will always be a friend to the company, and of course we are going to miss him, but we wish him the absolute best for the future.”
Rockstar North is now being led by studio veterans Aaron Garbut and Rob Nelson, while Benzies’ next move is unknown. One project that Benzies does have in hand is helping with St Stephen’s Stockbridge, a former church in Edinburgh that he purchased back in in the summer of 2014 as a philanthropic act, helping to provide a community center for local residents.
GamesBeatGamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
- Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
- The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
- Networking opportunities
- Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
- Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
- And maybe even a fun prize or two
- Introductions to like-minded parties