Rockstar North boss Leslie Benzies resigns after 17 years

He led the studio that built 'Grand Theft Auto' and 'Red Dead Redemption.'

Rockstar Games

Rockstar North President Leslie Benzies has bid farewell to the studio after 17 years and a handful of highly influential games under his belt. As the head of Rockstar North, Benzies was the lead developer of the Grand Theft Auto series from Grand Theft Auto 3 on, and he produced Red Dead Redemption, Manhunt 2, LA Noire and Max Payne 3. Benzies was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 2014, alongside Rockstar founders Dan Houser and Sam Houser.

In a statement provided to Engadget, Rockstar says that Benzies left on sabbatical on September 1st, 2014 -- yep, more than a year ago -- and he's decided not to return to the company.

"We are very grateful for Leslie's contributions to Rockstar over the last 15 years as we worked together to make some amazing games," the statement reads. "Leslie helped us build an incredible team that will continue to create great experiences for our fans. Leslie will always be a friend to the company and of course we are going to miss him but we wish him the absolute best for the future."

With Benzies out of the picture (and probably hanging out in his very own Scottish church), longtime Rockstar North art directors Aaron Garbut and Rob Nelson are in charge of whatever's next for the studio.