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Leslie Benzies, studio head of Rockstar North, has officially left the company after being “on sabbatical” for seventeen months.
Benzies was in charge of many of Rockstar’s biggest hits, such as the Grand Theft Auto franchise and Red Dead Redemption. Kotaku’s Patrick Klepek claims to have known that Benzies was on the way out for over a year, but Rockstar’s official word was that he was on sabbatical to recover from Grand Theft Auto V‘s difficult production. Patrick went to check on this recently, and Rockstar instead said Benzies had left the company with the following quote.
“We can confirm that 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.”
Benzies has been with the company since 1999, where he helped program Space Station Silicon Valley for N64, a weird game that I know from a speedrun funnily enough. Rockstar North will continue without Benzies, and we don’t know where he’s headed, or if he’s just going to use that GTAV money to buy an island.