Dan Houser is leaving Rockstar Games next month. This comes after an extended leave of absence that began in Spring 2019.
Dan Houser founded Rockstar Games with his brother Sam Houser in 1998. The two previously worked for BMG Interactive and formed Rockstar when Take-Two Interactive acquired that company’s assets. Dan Houser has been an integral part of Rockstar since its founding and will be leaving his position of vice president, creative.
Houser was a producer on many of Rockstar’s most iconic titles, including Grand Theft Auto 3, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, L.A. Noire, and Red Dead Redemption 2. Additionally, Houser was a writer on almost every title that’s come out of the studio since it was formed. Much of Rockstar’s industry-acclaimed scripts are a direct result of his influence.
Though Houser’s influence on the industry is unquestionable, he’s mostly stayed out of the spotlight. The notice that he was leaving Rockstar comes from a US Securities and Exchange Commission Form 8-K notifying investors of his departure. Houser’s social media presence is negligible, and as of writing, he’s made no personal statement concerning his resignation.
We can only hypothesize why Houser may be leaving the studio he helped create. If stories about crunch at Rockstar Games are true, pulling double duty as executive producer and writer on Red Dead Redemption 2 may have been behind the decision. Houser himself has been quoted as stating the RDR2 team was working 100 hour weeks at one point, and that may have influenced him to retire from the studio.
Though Dan Houser is leaving Rockstar, his brother Sam will remain as the studio’s president. Given how mum Rockstar is about its projects, it’s not known if Dan’s departure will affect any games in development. Given his influence, Rockstar has big shoes to fill.