Skip to main content

$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, 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 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 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.

Seen something newsworthy? Tell us!

Sam Prell
Sam has a soft spot for MOBAs, MMOs, and emo music. Forever a farm boy, forever a '90s kid.