Leslie Peter Benzies (born 17 January 1971) is a Scottish video game producer and the former president of Rockstar North, a subsidiary of Rockstar Games. He was the lead developer on the Grand Theft Auto series, taking responsibility from Grand Theft Auto III to Grand Theft Auto V (including Grand Theft Auto Online). Benzies is no longer working for Rockstar, and was in a lawsuit with its parent company, Take-Two Interactive, over unpaid royalties from April 2016 to February 2019.
Leslie Peter Benzies
17 January 1971
Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
|Residence||Edinburgh, Scotland, UK|
|Occupation||Video game producer, designer, programmer|
|Awards||AIAS Hall of Fame Award (2014)|
Leslie was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, but moved to Elgin when he was young. When he was 11, his father, Leonard, purchased a Dragon 32 computer. Leslie taught himself how to program and wrote his first game.
Leslie’s professional career as a video game programmer began in 1995 at DMA Design (now Rockstar North), where he was team lead developing the Nintendo 64 platform game Space Station Silicon Valley. This game was released in October 1998, after which he started assembling the team that would create Grand Theft Auto III.
In June 2014, he announced a deal to purchase the St Stephen's Church in Stockbridge, Edinburgh for a little over £500,000. He plans to preserve the building and create a trust composed of members of the community to manage it.
Benzies took sabbatical leave from Rockstar on 1 September 2014. In January 2016 it was announced that he had left the company. On 12 April 2016, Leslie Benzies started legal action against Rockstar Games and its parent Take-Two Interactive claiming $150 million in unpaid royalties.
In January 2017 he set up five new companies including Royal Circus Games which intends to develop games for consoles, PCs and mobile devices.
On 29 March 2018, Benzies' litigation against Rockstar and Take-Two suffered a significant setback when the companies succeeded in dismissing 12 out of 18 of his claims, though the court did rule that Benzies "remains entitled to receive certain royalties" as part of his compensation.
On 7 February 2019, Benzies' litigation with Take-Two had officially come to an end. All parties involved in the case successfully executed a confidential settlement, with each agreeing to bear its own costs and expenses, including, without limitation, attorney's fees.
|2001||Grand Theft Auto III||Producer|
|2002||Grand Theft Auto: Vice City||Producer|
|2003||Manhunt||Producer, development director|
|2004||Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas||Producer|
|2005||Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories||Producer|
|2006||Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories||Producer|
|2008||Grand Theft Auto IV||Producer|
|2009||Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned||Producer|
|2009||Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars||Producer|
|2009||Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony||Producer|
|2010||Red Dead Redemption||Executive producer, lead designer|
|2011||L.A. Noire||Executive producer|
|2012||Max Payne 3||Executive producer|
|2013||Grand Theft Auto V||Producer, game designer|
- "D.I.C.E Special Awards". Retrieved 22 January 2017.
- Bowditch, Gillian (27 April 2008). "Grand Theft Auto producer is Godfather of gaming". Sunday Times. Times Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- "Games: Special Award in 2005". BAFTA. British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- "Rockstar North chief buys St Stephen's Church". Edinburgh News. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- Phyllis Stephen (27 June 2014). "St Stephen's Church – future now assured". The Edinburgh Reporter. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- Klepek, Patrick (12 January 2016). "Rockstar North Boss Leslie Benzies Is Out After Nearly Two Decades". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
- Dave, Morgan (12 April 2016). "GTA Creator Sues Rockstar for $150 Million". WholesGame. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
- Campbell, Colin (14 April 2016). "The great Grand Theft Auto lawsuit explained". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
- Martyn, McLaughlin (21 January 2017). "Grand Theft Auto mastermind Leslie Benzies launches new companies". The Scotsman. The Scotsman Publications Ltd. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
- "The Top 7 Ways Grand Theft Auto III changed the face of gaming". gamesradar. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
- "Exploring Grand Theft Auto: Vice City's lasting impact on society with Rockstar's Leslie Benzies". Digital Trends. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
- Simmons, Alex (13 November 2012). "Grand Theft Auto 5's Unseen Mastermind". IGN. Retrieved 26 January 2017.