Grand Theft Auto’s Benzies raises £32m for comeback
ONE of the leading minds behind Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series, Leslie Benzies, is planning a blockbuster comeback, raising £32m from Chinese and New York investors for his latest sci-fi video game.
The former president of the Edinburgh games studio raised the cash for forthcoming video game Everywhere, an open-world science-fiction game where “technology has brought human kind to the precipice” in a vast multiplayer simulation. He has revealed few details about his new title and it does not yet have a release date
Mr Benzies’ new studio, Build a Rocket Boy, was founded in 2016 after he left Rockstar.
In its latest funding round, the studio raised £32m, according to data from the consultancy Beauhurst.
Companies House filings show Chinese game developer NetEase, Cayman fund Makers and New York cryptocurrency investor Galaxy Interactive have backed Mr Benzies’ company. Galaxy Interactive is a fund of Galaxy Digital, an investment company founded by Wall Street veteran and cryptocurrency investor Mike Novogratz.
Mr Benzies, a Bafta-winning producer, helped develop the Scottish studio’s hit run of Grand Theft Auto games. Grand Theft Auto V is the most profitable video game in history, making more than $6bn (£4.6bn) since it was released.
But Mr Benzies left Rockstar in what descended into an acrimonious legal battle over $150m in royalties with parent company Take-Two Interactive. The dispute ended in a confidential settlement.
Mr Benzies claimed he was locked out of royalty payments after being asked to go on sabbatical in 2014. This led to a bitter legal dispute lasting until 2019.
He helped design Grand Theft Auto III, San Andreas and IV. He also helped build Rockstar’s biggest success, Grand Theft Auto V.
Wheels and deals: Grand Theft Auto V is the most profitable video game in history, raking in $6bn. Leslie Benzies helped to build it Matthew Field