Leslie Benzies has vacated his role as president of Rockstar North, the Edinburgh-based regional office of Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games, it’s been announced today.
Mr Benzies had a large hand in the creation of GTA V – one of our best games on PC.
Benzies – whose CV includes not just every Grand Theft Auto since the third main series instalment from 2001, but also classics such as Manhunt 2, LA Noire and Red Dead Redemption – had been on sabbatical from Rockstar’s Scottish wing for the last 17 months following the release of Grand Theft Auto V.
Today, Rockstar confirmed Benzies’ departure after failing to return from said leave of absence. “We can confirm that Leslie Benzies went on sabbatical on September 1, 2014 and has decided not to return to work for the company,” a Rockstar representative told Kotaku. “We are very grateful for Leslie’s contributions to Rockstar over the last 15 years as we worked together to make some amazing games.
“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.”
Aaron Garbut – whose credits include many-a-GTA, including the late 20th century original and its sequel – and Rob Nelson – who, besides working on many of Rockstar’s classics old and new, also lent his voice acting talents to the underrated console gem The Warriors – have taken over the Rockstar North throne following Benzies’ departure.