Departed Rockstar North chief sues Rockstar for $150M in unpaid royalties
Onetime Rockstar North chief Leslie Benzies is suing his former employer Rockstar Games, its owner Take-Two Interactive, and cofounders Sam and Dan Houser for unpaid royalties in excess of $150 million after he was allegedly forced out of the company on April 1st of last year.
If Benzies' name sounds familiar, it's because earlier this year he was reported to have left his longtime position as head of Rockstar North after taking a sabbatical in the wake of shipping Grand Theft Auto V in 2014 and deciding not to return.
Now, a statement by legal representative Christopher Bakes (a partner at the Locke Lord legal firm) suggests that this information was falsely provided by representatives of Take-Two, and therefore in breach of the mediation efforts the company was even then engaged in with Benzies after allegedly locking him out of the building while he was out on leave.
"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. After being let inside by building security, Mr. Benzies was then ordered to leave by the Rockstar North office manager without reason," reads an excerpt of the statement issued by Benzies' representative.
"As described in the lawsuit, 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."
Benzies, who in 2014 was inducted into the AIAS Hall of Fame alongside the Houser brothers, is allegedly owed over $150 million and is seeking a settlement with his former employers in court. Gamasutra has contacted Rockstar representatives for further comment on the matter.