Early in the year, it was reported Rockstar North studio head Leslie Benzies would be leaving the company after his sabbatical. He had been gone from the company for 17 months after the release of Grand Theft Auto V. However, it turns out that wasn't exactly what happened - at least according to Benzie. He claimed that he was forced out of Rockstar and denied royalties to his games, which would have amounted to $150 million.
The agreement that Benzies was working under came back in 2008, which was the same as Rockstar founders Sam and Dan Houser, with Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar North. According to the press release, the contract was written alongside Take-Two's introduction of an "incentive compensation program" which would share profits. Benzies' contract was identical to the Houser brothers until he departed from the country. According to Benzies, there was "mounting resentment" from Sam Houser about the equal compensation.
Christopher Bakes, partner at Locke Lorde LLP, said that “while on sabbatical, Mr. Benzies discovered numerous deceptions on the part of Take-Two, Rockstar, Rockstar North Ltd, Sam Houser and Dan Houser, who sought to force him out of the company and terminate his portion of royalty payments based upon arbitrary actions by the company’s royalty Allocation Committee, a committee that may or may not have actually ever met.”
“In fact, when attempting to resume his duties upon conclusion of his sabbatical on April 1, 2015, Mr. Benzies found himself unable to enter the Rockstar North office because his facilities access device had been deactivated,” said Bakes. “After being let inside by building security, Mr. Benzies was then ordered to leave by the Rockstar North office manager without reason.”
In return, Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games have filed their own counter-suit against Benzies, saying that he breached the contract. According to their document, which was filed from the United States District Court, Benzies left the business without "good reason" and therefore wasn't eligible to receive any of the royalties he otherwise would have gotten.
“Benzies, however, continues to demand parity with respect to pre-termination royalty payments and post-termination royalty payments,” according to the document. “The parties to this action have sought unsuccessfully to resolve this issue through mediation and now seek judicial clarification that would resolve this controversy.”