Rockstar Games has announced that the company's co-founder, Dan Houser, will leave the company March 11. The information was revealed via a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission ahead of Rockstar's third-quarter earnings report due Thursday.
Houser is widely regarded as a driving creative force within Rockstar, having served as head writer on most of the Grand Theft Auto series, Bully, Max Payne 3, and both the Red Dead Redemption games. He's been with Rockstar since 1998.
In a statement to IGN, a Rockstar spokesperson declined to go into detail regarding Houser's departure, though emphasized that Dan's brother Sam Houser, also a co-founder of Rockstar Games, will remain with the company. His role will remain unchanged.
According to the filing, Houser has been on an "extended break" since spring 2019 for undisclosed reasons.
After an extended break beginning in the spring of 2019, Dan Houser, Vice President, Creative at Rockstar Games, will be leaving the company. 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.
At this time, the reasons for Houser's departure remain unclear. It is also not known whether Rockstar will elaborate further during the company earnings call scheduled for Thursday. The company has widely been rumored to be working on GTA 6, a next-gen installment of its enormously successful Grand Theft Auto franchise, which online speculation has unofficially dubbed "Project Americas."
The news comes just days after Take-Two, Rockstar's parent company, announced that Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 had sold a combined 150 million units since launch. In the statement, Take Two said "Rockstar Games’ total online audience is now its biggest ever, having recorded its largest numbers ever throughout the fourth quarter of calendar 2019."
Inverse has reached out to Rockstar for comment on Houser's departure and will update as additional information becomes available.