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Rockstar co-founder and head writer leaves the studio after 21 years

One of Rockstar's chief creatives is leaving

a police car chase in GTA V

Rockstar Games was co-founded in 1998 by Sam and Dan Houser – alongside Terry Donovan and Jamie King – and the brothers served as both executives and chief creatives for the likes of Red Dead and GTA throughout the years. Dan Houser – head writer for the studio – is now leaving Rockstar after more than two decades with the company.

“After an extended break beginning in the spring of 2019, Dan Houser, vice president, creative at Rockstar Games, will be leaving the company,” Rockstar says in an SEC filing. “Dan Houser’s last day will be March 11, 2020. We are extremely grateful for his contributions. Rockstar Games has built some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful game worlds, a global community of passionate fans and an incredibly talented team, which remains focused on current and future projects.”

Houser has written or co-written every Grand Theft Auto title since the London 1969 mission pack, and led creative work on Bully and both Red Dead Redemption games. He also kicked off industry-wide concern over Red Dead Redemption 2 crunch when he said he and other senior developers had worked weeks over 100 hours in the lead-up to the game’s release.

Take-Two stock is down 5% after hours following the news. While investors are certainly having an immediate reaction, that drop barely registers as a blip after the company’s highs in the past six months.

As a chief creative at one of the most important studios in the industry, Houser’s departure is notable – though after two decades bringing some of the most successful games in the world to market, perhaps retirement is the most logical step.