Ex-Rockstar North boss suing for $150 million in unpaid royalties

It appears Leslie Benzies may not have left of his own accord, as originally thought.


Nothing like coming back from a sabbatical ready to start your job fresh, only to find the locks have been changed and you are no longer welcome. At least that's the story former Rockstar North chief Leslie Benzies is telling in a lawsuit against his former employer, saying he is owed $150 million in lost royalties.

Benzies is suing Rockstar Games, co-founders Rob and Dan Houser and parent Take-Two Interactive, saying that he was unceremoniously dumped from the company while he was on leave from the company after shipping Grand Theft Auto V in 2014. Take-Two said in January of this year said that Benzies chose not to return. But now, his lawyer reveals that the statement was released even while Benzies was in mediation with Take-Two and Rockstar over his ouster. “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,” Take-Two said at the time.

That apparently is in direct conflict with the following account pulled from a statement issued by Benzies' representative (via Gamasutra). 

"When attempting to resume his duties upon conclusion of his sabbatical on April 1, 2015, Mr. Benzies found himself unable to enter the Rockstar North office because his facilities access device had been deactivated," the statement said. "After being let inside by building security, Mr. Benzies was then ordered to leave by the Rockstar North office manager without reason." 

The statement also alleges "arbitrary actions" and "decpetions" by Take-Two and Rockstar as a basis for the suit.  

For its part, Rockstar has countersued, alleging breach of contract. The company confirmed (via Kotaku) it had been in mediation with Benzies, but the attempt to settle went no where. Rockstar further says that Benzies signed an agreement years ago that bars him from contesting royalty allocations.

It looks like this is headed to court. 

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