Houser was the creative force behind the studio and was head writer for many of its games, including the most recent release by the studio, Red Dead Redemption II, a massive, sprawling open-world game.
The Houser brothers founded the company alongside Terry Donovan and Jamie King over 20 years ago in 1998, and the studio has since released some of the most critically acclaimed video games ever. 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V is known to be one of the most profitable entertainment products of all time, while 2018’s Red Dead Redemption II received favourable reviews by many.
In a statement to investors on Tuesday, Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two stated that Houser, who was the creative vice president at the studio, would leave Rockstar on 11 March after taking an “extended break”, which began in spring last year. Houser’s brother Sam will stay on as company president.
This news comes at a time when rumours of the sixth installment in the GTA franchise are circulating, although there is no concrete news about what this means for GTA VI.
In 2018 Rockstar was criticized for its “crunch culture” after it was revealed that, close to the release of Red Dead Redemption II, the core writing team was expected to work 100-hour workweeks.
Houser leaving Rockstar might hint at rough waters ahead. Could this mean that the open worlds crafted by Rockstar have peaked? Whether or not Rockstar will be capable of furthering the open-world genre that they’re so famous for, one thing we can be sure of is that this signals the end of an era for the controversial studio.
Featured image credit: @Slonitram (Twitter)