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Rockstar Games creative vice president Dan Houser is parting ways with the company after over two decades. Houser co-founded the studio way back in 1998 with his brother Sam, and worked as a creative lead on a number of acclaimed Rockstar projects. Most recently, as head writer on 2018's Western epic Red Dead Redemption 2.
Houser's impending departure was confirmed in an SEC filing made by parent company Take-Two Interactive. According to the publisher, Houser will officially be leaving Rockstar next month, on March 11th.
The filing reads:
"After an extended break beginning in the spring of 2019, Dan Houser, vice president, creative at Rockstar Games, will be leaving the company. Dan Houser's last day will be March 11, 2020.
"We are extremely grateful for his contributions. Rockstar Games has built some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful game worlds, a global community of passionate fans and an incredibly talented team, which remains focused on current and future projects."
As of right now, it's unclear exactly why Dan Houser has decided to leave Rockstar, but it's likely that he's simply ready for a change. Dan is credited as a writer on the majority of the Grand Theft Auto titles, from GTA II to GTA V. He was also head writer on Bully, Red Dead Redemption, and Max Payne 3.
His extended break at the start of spring 2019 came just a few months after the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 - so it could well be that he thinks the gut-wrenching cowboy adventure was as a good place as any to leave things. At least for a while.
It's also worth remembering that Rockstar was the focus of some significant reporting around crunch and working conditions in the wake of RDR2, during which time the management approach of Dan and his brother Sam were criticised by others in the gaming industry, including former Rockstar employees. It's possible that we'll learn more about Houser's departure on Thursday, when Take-Two makes its quarterly financial call.
A Rockstar Games spokesperson clarified in a follow-up statement that Sam Houser remains at the company, and that his role "remains unchanged". Sam will continue to work with the team as they forge on ahead with "current and future projects".
What exactly these current and future projects might be is anyone's guess right now. Rockstar is an infamously tight-lipped company, after all. We can likely assume that at least one of these projects is GTA VI... though how involved Dan Houser is or was with the project - if at all - remains to be seen.
Having worked as one of the key creative voices on most of the games in the globally beloved open-world crime sim, you have to wonder what GTA VI will be like without his input. That's not to say Rockstar Games doesn't have an incredible selection of talent to choose from - it absolutely does. Still, there's no denying the company just lost a major player.
Featured Image Credit: Rockstar Games
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