$150M lawsuit by ex-Rockstar boss alleges deceptions, unpaid royalties

Leslie Benzies, former president of Rockstar North and lead producer of the Grand Theft Auto series for GTA 3 through GTA 5 (opens in new tab), is suing his prior employer Take-Two Interactive (which owns Rockstar) for $150 million in unpaid royalties. His suit alleges "numerous deceptions" on the part of Rockstar and its co-founders, Sam and Dan Houser, that eventually led to his forceful ousting from the company.

Benzies' suit claims that he was given a period of paid time off to celebrate the monumental success of the GTA franchise, particularly GTA 5. "When attempting to resume his duties upon conclusion of his sabbatical on April 1, 2015, Mr. Benzies found himself unable to enter the Rockstar North office because his facilities access device had been deactivated," Benzies' lawyers write in their official statement.

This conflicts with Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick's account, which he gave during a conference call (opens in new tab) this February. "I can confirm that Leslie Benzies went on sabbatical in September of 2014," Zelnick said. "He's decided not to return to Rockstar Games." Rockstar and Take-Two are adamant that Benzies resigned "without Good Reason," as noted in documents filed (opens in new tab) with the United States District Court, Southern District of New York.

I haven't seen a legal fight set to get this ugly since the founders of Infinity Ward sued Activision (opens in new tab).

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Sam is a former News Editor here at GamesRadar. His expert words have appeared on many of the web's well-known gaming sites, including Joystiq, Penny Arcade, Destructoid, and G4 Media, among others. Sam has a serious soft spot for MOBAs, MMOs, and emo music. Forever a farm boy, forever a '90s kid.