Grand Theft Auto’s Ben­zies raises £32m for come­back

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By

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

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