Former Grand Theft Auto boss to launch new companies in Capital

The Scot who helmed the firm behind one of the world's best-selling video game series has set up a string of new companies amid an acrimonious legal battle with his former employer.

Monday, 23rd January 2017, 10:44 am
Updated Monday, 23rd January 2017, 10:45 am
Leslie Benzies. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Leslie Benzies, pictured, former president of Rockstar North, the studio which produced the acclaimed Grand Theft Auto franchise, looks set to branch out on his own after incorporating several new firms.

In what could represent a major boost for the Scottish gaming sector, the new companies are all registered in the Capital.

The Bafta-winning producer is embroiled in a financial dispute with Rockstar North and its US parent company, game publisher Take Two Interactive.

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Benzies has claimed he was effectively forced out of Rockstar last year and sued his ex-employers for £105 million. However, the publisher dismissed the allegations and launched a counter-action.

With the legal fight ongoing, Benzies has recently incorporated five firms, Companies House records show.

They include Royal Circus Games Limited, Starship Group and Everywhere Game Limited, the first of which has applied to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to make clear its primary aim is to develop video games for consoles, PCs and mobile devices.

In what may be a sign of the company’s first project, Royal Circus has also trademarked the title Time for a New World, as well as the associated hashtag #TFANW.

Other filings suggest the 46-year-old may not be content with developing games.

One new firm is entitled VR-Chitect Limited. According to documents filed with the IPO as well as the United States Patent and Trademark Office, it will produce headsets, glasses and software to “enable virtual reality viewing” similar to Sony’s PlayStation VR.

Regarded as one of the most influential figures in the game industry, Aberdeen-born Benzies worked as the producer of eight titles in the Grand Theft Auto series, which has sold more than a quarter of a billion copies worldwide.

Rockstar North has headquarters on Holyrood Road.