One of Rockstar’s lead producers on the Grand Theft Auto series has reportedly left the company.
According to Kotaku, Leslie Benzies, the man in charge of the regional Rockstar studio, as well as most of the development for GTA, has apparently chosen not to return to the company after a 17-month sabbatical.
In a statement made to Kotaku, Rockstar said, “We can confirm that Leslie Benzies went on sabbatical on September 1, 2014 and has decided not to return to work for the company. We are very grateful for Leslie’s contributions to Rockstar over the last 15 years as we worked together to make some amazing games."
Rockstar also said, "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.”
Benzies’ team in the Scotland-based Rockstar North has been credited with numerous Rockstar hits, including the GTA releases, the first Manhunt and Red Dead Redemption. In 2014, Benzies was named, along with Rockstar co-founders Sam and Dan Houser as an entrants into the Academy of Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.
According to Kotaku, Rockstar North will now led by Rockstar veterans and art directors Aaron Garbut and Rob Nelson.