Benzies in 2014
|Born||Leslie Peter Benzies
17 January 1971
|Employer||Rockstar North (former)|
|Awards||AIAS Hall of Fame Award (2014) |
Leslie Benzies (born 17 January 1971) is a Scottish video game producer and the former president of Rockstar North, a subsidiary of Rockstar Games. He was the lead developer on the Grand Theft Auto series, taking responsibility from Grand Theft Auto III to Grand Theft Auto V. Benzies is no longer working for Rockstar, and is in a lawsuit with them over royalty payments. Benzies founded a development studio in late 2016; the team is currently working on a game titled Everywhere.
Leslie was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, but moved to Elgin when he was young. When he was 11 his father, Leonard, purchased a Dragon 32 computer. Leslie taught himself how to program and wrote his first game.
Leslie’s professional career as a video game programmer began in 1995 at DMA Design (now Rockstar North), where he was team lead developing the Nintendo 64 platform game Space Station Silicon Valley. This game was released in October 1998. Benzies then became producer of GTA III and many subsequent versions to GTA V/GTA Online.
Benzies took sabbatical leave from Rockstar from 1 September 2014. In January 2016 it was announced that he had left the company. On 12 April 2016, Leslie Benzies started legal action against Rockstar Games and its parent Take Two Interactive claiming $150 million in unpaid royalties. Take-Two and Rockstar claim that they "have sought unsuccessfully to resolve this issue through mediation and now seek judicial clarification that would resolve this controversy." They also deny that Benzies had any good reason to leave Rockstar North. In addition to a judicial clarification Take-Two and Rockstar are seeking "compensatory damages against Benzies in an amount to be determined at trial," and they expect to be awarded "their costs, expenses, disbursements, and reasonable counsel fees in an amount to be determined at trial."
Benzies founded a development studio in late 2016; the team is currently working on a game titled Everywhere. The studios are based in Edinburgh, Scotland and Los Angeles, headed up by Matthew Smith and Colin Entwistle.
|2001||Grand Theft Auto III||Producer|
|2002||Grand Theft Auto: Vice City||Producer|
|2004||Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas||Producer|
|2005||Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories||Producer|
|2006||Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories||Producer|
|2008||Grand Theft Auto IV||Producer|
|2009||Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned||Producer|
|2009||Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars||Producer|
|2009||Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony||Producer|
|2010||Red Dead Redemption||Producer|
|2012||Max Payne 3||Executive producer|
|2013||Grand Theft Auto V||Producer, game designer|
In June 2014, Leslie announced a deal to purchase the St Stephen's Church in Stockbridge, Edinburgh, to preserve the building and create a trust composed of members of the community to manage it.
Leslie also has a non-for profit foundation ‘The Benzies Foundation’ which encourages and facilitates good health and fitness amongst Scottish communities.
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