Rockstar Games, Inc. is an American video game publisher based in New York City. The company was established in December 1998 as a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, and as successor to BMG Interactive, a dormant video game publisher Take-Two had previously acquired the assets of.
Founding members of the company were Sam and Dan Houser, Terry Donovan and Jamie King, who worked for Take-Two at the time, and of which the Houser brothers were previously executives at BMG Interactive.
Co-founders Sam and Dan Houser head the studio as president and vice-president for creative, respectively. Jennifer Kolbe, who started at the front desk of Take-Two, acts as Rockstar Games’ head of publishing and oversees all development studios. Simon Ramsey is the company’s head of PR and communications.
Since 1999, several companies acquired by or established under Take-Two became part of Rockstar Games, such as Rockstar Canada(later renamed Rockstar Toronto) becoming the first one in 1999, and Rockstar India the most recent in 2016. All companies organized under Rockstar Games bear the “Rockstar” name and logo; in that context, Rockstar Games is sometimes also referred to as Rockstar New York or Rockstar NYC.
Rockstar Games predominantly publishes games in the action-adventure genre, while racing games also saw success for the company. One of such action-adventure game franchises is Grand Theft Auto, which Rockstar Games took over from BMG Interactive, which published the series’ original 1997 entry. The most recent game in the series, Grand Theft Auto V, has shipped over 95 million copies since its release in September 2013, making it one of the bestselling video games of all time. Other popular franchises published by Rockstar Games are Red Dead, Midnight Club, Max Payne and Manhunt.
In May 1998, Take-Two Interactive acquired the assets of dormant British video game publisher BMG Interactive from its parent, BMG Entertainment (in turn a Bertelsmann subsidiary), in exchange for 1.85 million shares, around 16% of the company’s common stock.
BMG Interactive executives Sam Houser, Dan Houser, and Jamie King, as well as Terry Donovan of BMG Entertainment-owned record label Arista Records, subsequently moved to New York City to work for Take-Two Interactive.
In December 1998, the Houser brothers, Donovan and King established Rockstar Games as a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive, acting as the company’s high-end publishing label.
In January 2007, Take-Two Interactive announced that Donovan, until then managing director for Rockstar Games, left the company following a four-month leave of absence. He was succeeded by Gary Dale, who became chief operating officer.
Dale previously worked with the Houser brothers and King at BMG Interactive, but left the company when it was acquired by Take-Two Interactive, and joined Capcom‘s European operations as managing director in 2003.
As of February 2014, Rockstar Games titles have shipped more than 250 million copies, the largest franchise being the Grand Theft Auto series, which alone has shipments of at least 250 million as of November 2016. Grand Theft Auto V alone shipped the highest number of units within the series’ and the company’s history, with over 100 million copies, becoming one of the bestselling video games of all time.
At the British Academy Video Games Awards in March 2014, Rockstar Games was honored with the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award for “creating intricately layered interactive worlds that have kept the company at the forefront of the gaming industry for over a decade, both critically and commercially”.
In October 2011, Dan Houser told Famitsu that Rockstar Games was intentionally avoiding developing games in the first-person shooter genre, because “it is in our DNA to avoid doing what other companies are doing the goal point of Rockstar is to have the players really feel what we’re trying to do.”Houser went on to say “Our games up to now have been different from any genre that existed at the time; we made new genres by ourselves with games like the GTA series. We didn’t rely on testimonials in a business textbook to do what we’ve done. If we make the sort of games we want to play, then we believe people are going to buy them.”
The company has been involved with charitable work ranging from supporting Movember, offering appearances in games as a raffle prize, and charity live streams.
|1999–2013||Grand Theft Auto series|
|1999||Monster Truck Madness 64||Edge of Reality|
|Thrasher Presents Skate and Destroy||Z-Axis|
|Earthworm Jim 3D (Nintendo 64; North America)||VIS Entertainment|
|Evel Knievel||Tarantula Studios|
|2000||Wild Metal||DMA Design|
|Austin Powers: Oh, Behave!||Tarantula Studios|
|Austin Powers: Welcome to My Underground Lair!|
|2000–2002||Smuggler’s Run series|
|2000–2008||Midnight Club series|
|2001||The Italian Job (PlayStation; North America)||Pixelogic|
|Oni (PlayStation 2)||Bungie West|
|2001–2012||Max Payne series|
|2002||State of Emergency (PlayStation 2, Xbox)||VIS Entertainment|
|2004–2018||Red Dead series|
|2005||The Warriors||Rockstar Toronto|
|2006||Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis||Rockstar San Diego|
|2011–2017||L.A. Noire||Team Bondi|
|1999||GTA 2: The Movie||Crime drama|
|2004||The Football Factory||Drama|
|Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – The Introduction||Crime drama|
|2010||Red Dead Redemption: The Man from Blackwater||Western drama|
|Rockstar India||Bangalore, India||2016–present||Works in conjunction with the Rockstar Dedicated Unit at Technicolor India.|
|Rockstar International||London, England||2003–present||The international publishing headquarters for Rockstar Games. Located in the same offices as Rockstar London.|
|Rockstar Leeds||Leeds, England||2004–present||Created Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories. Also ported L.A. Noire to Microsoft Windows.|
|Rockstar Lincoln||Lincoln, England||2002–present||Dedicated quality assurance and localization house for games published by Rockstar Games.|
|Rockstar London||London, England||2005–present||Completed the development on Manhunt 2 and Midnight Club: L.A. Remix. Located in the same offices as Rockstar International.|
|Rockstar New England||Ballardvale, Massachusetts, U.S.||2008–present||Responsible for Bully: Scholarship Edition.|
|Rockstar North||Edinburgh, Scotland||2002–present||Responsible for Manhunt and the Grand Theft Auto series.|
|Rockstar San Diego||Carlsbad, California, U.S.||2002–present||Responsible for the Red Dead, Smuggler’s Run and Midnight Club series. Also houses RAGE Technology Group, an in-house game engine team that is responsible for the development and maintenance of the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine.|
|Rockstar Toronto||Oakville, Ontario, Canada||1999–present||Responsible for The Warriors. Also developed Microsoft Windows ports for Grand Theft Auto IV, The Lost and Damned, The Ballad of Gay Tony, and Grand Theft Auto V.|
|Rockstar Vancouver||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada||2002–2012||Responsible for Bully. Merged into Rockstar Toronto in July 2012.|
|Rockstar Vienna||Vienna, Austria||2003–2006||Porting house with a focus on Xbox. Closed down in May 2006, during the development of Manhunt 2, which was transferred to Rockstar London.|
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