Leslie Benzies is the former President of Rockstar North, and one of the leading producers on the Grand Theft Auto series. He is now hoping to get Rockstar North sued though for unpaid royalties totalling $150 million as he claims that his former employers attempted to force him out of his position after he took a sabbatical leave of absence.
Benzies’ sabbatical reportedly began in September 2014 but officially left the company in January 2016. At the time, a statement from Rockstar explained the following:
“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.”
Whether that last sentence still holds true is up for debate now however, as a statement from the law firm representing Mr. Benzies has outlined the reasons for the court case:
“While on sabbatical, Mr. Benzies discovered numerous deceptions on the part of Take-Two, Rockstar, Rockstar North Ltd, Sam Houser and Dan Houser, who sought to force him out of the company and terminate his portion of royalty payments based upon arbitrary actions by the company’s royalty Allocation Committee, a committee that may or may not have actually ever met.”
The whole situation took a turn for the worse once Leslie Benzies went on sabbatical, resulting in this attempt to have Rockstar North sued. He himself claims to have had a desire to return to work in April 2015, only for his key to have been deactivated upon trying to enter his office.
Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games have since filed a counter-suit against Mr. Benzies, claiming that he left the company without “good reason”, therefore losing any rights to an agreement of payment that was once in place. It’s a shame that the team that have brought us one of the most popular and entertaining video game series of all time have devolved into this dispute, but with such massive amounts of money at stake it comes as no surprise.