Rockstar Lead Writer And Co-Founder Dan Houser Is Leaving

Rockstar Lead Writer And Co-Founder Dan Houser Is Leaving

Dan Houser is one of the longest running stalwarts at Rockstar Games and responsible for a lot of the company’s narrative DNA, having been the lead writer and creative director for games like on Red Dead Redemption 2, GTA 5 and Bully, not to mention the co-founder of the company. But that run is coming to an end, with Rockstar announcing Houser’s departure.

In a filing to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Take-Two announced that Dan Houser, whose main role is the vice president of creative at Rockstar, would be leaving on March 11:

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.

It’s impossible to overstate Houser’s influence on Rockstar and where it is today. The Houser brothers are the co-founders of Rockstar, and they were responsible for coining Grand Theft Auto, having signed DMA Design’s Race’n’Chase to BMG Interactive at the time. (After GTA 1‘s release, the Houser brothers moved to New York and founded Rockstar.)

More recently, Houser was in the news following the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, which spent seven years in development. Houser made headlines following a New York Magazine interview where he suggested the company was working “100 hour-weeks” in 2018, which he later clarified in a statement to Kotaku. “After working on the game for seven years, the senior writing team, which consists of four people, Mike Unsworth, Rupert Humphries, Lazlow and myself, had, as we always do, three weeks of intense work when we wrapped everything up. Three weeks, not years,” Houser’s statement said.


  • This does not bode well for people who enjoy Rockstars narrative and single player content.

    I have an awful feeling rockstar is gonna have an even stronger focus on online.

    Hopefully someone throws a truckload of money at him and he can go do his thing elsewhere

    • I think SP will be fine, remember GTA V grossed $1bil in its first week of release back in 2013 and this was before GTA: Online went live.

      Dan Houser has been the one linked to the extreme levels of worker toxicity at R*, insiders have likened it to a “dudebro” frat house boys club.

      • Wish I could share your faith, but we went from having two expansion packs with GTA IV, to zilch with GTAV, with all post-release efforts geared towards adding missions and trinkets to the online experience. A bitter pill to swallow given the map was 3/4 a vast barren wasteland of nothing; an expansion story could have given it a bit of purpose.

        Technically this generation doesn’t even have its own GTA release, as GTAV came out on PS3/360 first. And since GTAV the only new game they’ve release has been RDR2. Two games in a 5 year span. Gone are the days they had multiple projects; GTA, RDR, Manhunt, Bully, The Warriors, Midnight Club, LA Noire.

        With 9 studios at their disposal, one wonders how RDR2 suffered any crunch at all.

        • Thats not to say i’m not worried af with the next GTA game which they are probably already balls deep in, they would be monumental morons not to make the next GTA SP campaign more ambitious all they have to do is take a look at Bethesda and now Blizzard to see how easy it is to piss away years of goodwill. The backlash will be fierce.

          I am ok with R* having only one project on the go (well 2 because RDR2 was being developed alongside GTA V when it was in its final days) if they keep up their high quality.

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