'Grand Theft Auto' Maker Rockstar Games In $150 Million Legal Battle With Former Exec

Apr 14, 2016 09:10 AM EDT | Vanessa Doctor

Game developer Rockstar Games is currently facing a $150 million lawsuit against its former lead producer of the hit game “Grand Theft Auto.”

Leslie Benzies, ex-president of Rockstar North, which is based in Edinburgh, Scotland, filed a case against the study and its parent company, Take-Two interactive. The former executive is asking for $150 million, consisting of unpaid royalties, considering the massive success of “Grand Theft Auto V.”

The Herald Scotland cites Benzies in alleging that he was forced to quit the company after Rockstar Games asked him to take a sabbatical in September 2014. Benzies continued in his suit that Rockstar actually intended to permanently remove him from the company. His royalty payments ceased when he started his six-month sabbatical. When he tried to return to work in April 2015, he found out that he was ousted from company and not allowed to enter the office premises. The lawsuit was issued by law firm Locke Lord LLP in New York.

The Telegraph reports that Take-Two, on the contrary, denied that it was liable in any manner and responded by filing a countersuit. The company alleged that Benzies committed breach of contract and that his claims were strange and unfounded. Take-Two also stated that Benzies had conduct issues that compelled them to remove him from the group.

Three men are credited for creating the hit game “Grand Theft Auto,” namely Benzies, President Sam Houser and vice-president Dan Houser. In 2008, the three of them agreed to long-term employment contracts with Take-Two and Rockstar, based on a profit-sharing agreement.

According to Benzies’ suit, the Houser brothers received $93 million in royalties from “GTA V,” while he was not paid anything, which he deemed contrary to the agreements they previously entered into. The lawsuit also claimed that another $523 million remains unaccounted for.

In the countersuit, Take-Two claimed that Benzies left the company for no good reason, which makes him undeserving to collect any royalties. The company continued that they have no further financial obligations to Benzies and that Sam Houser had sole authority on the distribution of the royalty payments.

“His claims are entirely without merit and in many instances downright bizarre. We are very confident this matter will be resolved in our favour,” said Rockstar Games in a press release.

“Grand Theft Auto V” is one of the most successful video games in history. It sold over 60 million copies and raked in over $2.8 billion in revenue.

More updates and details on the huge lawsuit are expected soon.

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