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GTA 6 loses long-time writer and Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser

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(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

It's all change at Rockstar Games, the home of Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto, as co-founder Dan Houser is said to be leaving the company.

Revealed in a statement by Rockstar Games parent company Take-Two Interactive, Houser (who was has been on an extended leave period since spring 2019) will be officially leaving the company on 11 March. His brother Sam Houser remains present as president.

End of an era

Houser, who has variously acted as writer, producer and voice actor at Rockstar, led Rockstar Games to become one of the biggest developers in the industry, with franchises like GTA and Red Dead becoming some of the biggest sellers in history. Grand Theft Auto 5 still regularly features in monthly best-selling lists – this despite it now being almost seven years old.

However, he and Rockstar has come under scrutiny amid claims of a brutal crunch-culture for staff as deadlines approach. Though later clarified as to be only regarding his senior writing team, Houser was criticised for boasting of 100-hour work weeks when completing Red Dead Redemption 2.

Dan Houser's departure leaves Rockstar Games in an interesting position, at a pivotal moment for the company. We're on the eve of release of the next-generation of consoles with the PS5 and Xbox Series X launches imminent, and there's great anticipation to see what the inevitable Grand Theft Auto 6 will do with the new hardware. While the effect of Houser's decision to stand down won't be felt for some time by gamers, his departing influence leaves a large hole to be filled.