Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games, Inc.
Industry Video game industry
Predecessor BMG Interactive Entertainment
Founded December 1998 (1998-12)
Headquarters New York City, New York, U.S.
Key people
Sam Houser (executive producer)
Parent Take-Two Interactive
Subsidiaries List of Rockstar Games subsidiaries

Rockstar Games, Inc. (sometimes referred to as Rockstar NYC) is an American video game publisher, best known for their Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead, Midnight Club, Max Payne, The Warriors, Bully, and Manhunt games.

Based in New York City, it was set up by Take-Two Interactive in December 1998, as successor to British video game publisher BMG Interactive Entertainment, a division of BMG Entertainment, from Bertelsmann, which was previously acquired.[1] While some of the studios Take-Two Interactive has acquired have been merged into the Rockstar brand, several other recent ones have retained their previous identities and have become part of Take-Two's 2K Games division.


The Rockstar Games label was founded in December 1998[2][3][4] by the British video game producers Terry Donovan, Sam Houser, Dan Houser, Jamie King and Gary Foreman.[5][6] Donovan left the company in January 2007, following a four-month leave of absence.[7] He was replaced by former Capcom managing director, Gary Dale.[8]

The main headquarters of Rockstar Games are located on Broadway in the NoHo neighborhood of New York City, part of the Take-Two Interactive offices. It is home to the marketing, public relations and product development departments.[9]

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 220 million as of September 2015.[10][11]

In March 2014, Rockstar Games received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award at the British Academy Video Games Awards.

Company philosophy

Despite their status as creators of Grand Theft Auto and one of the most successful video game franchises of all-time, Sam Houser and his brother Dan have shied away from the spotlight. They have focused on the Rockstar Games brand, rather than any one person getting the credit for the games' success.[12]

In October 2011, Rockstar creative vice-president Dan Houser told Famitsu that Rockstar was intentionally avoiding developing in the first-person shooter genre. "We're deliberately avoiding that right now", he said, according to a translation. "It's in our DNA to avoid doing what other companies are doing. I suppose you could say that Max Payne 3 is something close to an FPS, but there are really unique aspects to the setting and gameplay there, too, not just in the story. You have to have originality in your games; you have to have some kind of interesting message. You could say that the goalpoint of Rockstar is to have the players really feel what we're trying to do". Houser went on to say that Rockstar has "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. I think we succeeded precisely because we didn't concentrate on profit... If we make the sort of games we want to play, then we believe people are going to buy them."[13]

Rockstar has since released an enhanced remake of Grand Theft Auto V for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which can be fully played from the first-person perspective.[14] This was made possible in part with higher quality firearm visuals, hindered audio-visual stimuli due to headgear, and additional animations - helping the game achieve aesthetic parity with other first-person shooters.[14]

Games published

Title Release year(s) Developer(s)
Grand Theft Auto series 1997–2013
Monster Truck Madness 64 1999 Edge of Reality
Thrasher Presents Skate and Destroy 1999 Z-Axis Games
Earthworm Jim 3D (N64 US release) 1999 VIS Entertainment
Wild Metal Country (N64 and digital Windows release) 2000/2003 DMA Design
Smuggler's Run series 2000–2002
Midnight Club series 2000–2008
  • Rockstar San Diego
  • Rebellion Developments (GBA version of Street Racing)
  • Rockstar London (L.A. Remix)
Austin Powers: Oh, Behave! 2000 Tarantula Studios
Austin Powers: Welcome to My Underground Lair! 2000 Tarantula Studios
The Italian Job 2001 Pixelogic
Oni 2001 Bungie Software
State of Emergency 2002 VIS Entertainment
Max Payne series 2001–2012
Manhunt series 2003–2007
  • Rockstar North (Manhunt)
  • Rockstar London (Manhunt 2)
Red Dead series 2004–2017 Rockstar San Diego
The Warriors 2005 Rockstar Toronto
Bully 2006
  • Rockstar Vancouver
  • Rockstar New England (Scholarship Edition)
Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis 2006 Rockstar San Diego
Beaterator 2009 Rockstar Leeds
L.A. Noire 2011 Team Bondi
Agent TBA Rockstar North

Films produced or released

Title Year Genre
GTA 2: The Movie 1999 Crime drama
The Football Factory 2004 Drama
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – The Introduction 2004 Crime drama
Sunday Driver 2005 Documentary
Red Dead Redemption: The Man from Blackwater 2010 Western drama


Current subsidiaries

Logo Name Location Years Notes
RAGE Technology Group Carlsbad, California, U.S. 2006–present Developer of the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine, located at Rockstar San Diego.
Rockstar India Bangalore, India 2016–present Works in conjunction with the Rockstar Dedicated Unit (RDU) at Technicolor India.
Rockstar International London, England 2005–present The publishing headquarters for Rockstar Games in the UK, Europe, Asia, Japan, Africa, Australia and South America, located at Rockstar London.
Rockstar Leeds Leeds, England 2004–present They created Chinatown Wars, Beaterator, Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories. Ported Max Payne to the Game Boy Advance and L.A. Noire to Microsoft Windows.
Rockstar Lincoln Lincoln, England 1999–present Quality assurance and localisation responsible for games testing and translating games developed by Rockstar Games.They also developed Game Boy Color video game Las Vegas Cool Hand.
Rockstar London London, England 2005–present Formed in November 2005 for the development of Manhunt 2. Responsible for the portable adaptation of Midnight Club: Los Angeles.
Rockstar New England Andover, Massachusetts, U.S. 2008–present Responsible for the Wii, Xbox 360, PC ports of Bully.[15]
Rockstar North Edinburgh, Scotland 1999–present Founded in 1987 as DMA Design and subsequently acquired in 1999,[16] they are famous for the Grand Theft Auto, and Manhunt franchises, as well as the original Lemmings games as DMA Design.
Rockstar San Diego Carlsbad, California, U.S. 2003–present As part of Rockstar they developed the RAGE engine, Rockstar's Table Tennis, the Midnight Club series, both Red Dead Revolver and Red Dead Redemption.
Rockstar Toronto Oakville, Ontario, Canada 1999–present Their most well-known work is The Warriors, an adaptation of the cult classic film and the PC version of Grand Theft Auto IV and Episodes from Liberty City.

Former subsidiaries

Logo Name Location Years Notes
Rockstar Vancouver Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 2002–2012 Merged with Rockstar Toronto in 2012. Responsible for the PlayStation 2 title Bully and the third game in the Max Payne series, Max Payne 3.[17]
Rockstar Vienna Vienna, Austria 2003–2006 They ported the Max Payne series to consoles, and created some of Manhunt 2 before being closed down.[18]



Rockstar Games have developed their own game engine called the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) to facilitate game development on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows, Mac[lower-alpha 4] and Wii systems.

Social Club

Rockstar Games Social Club is an online gaming service created by Rockstar for use with their games.


  1. Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto 2 and Grand Theft Auto III developed as DMA Design.
  2. As Angel Studios.
  3. Rockstar Studios is a collaborative effort between Rockstar Vancouver, Rockstar London, Rockstar Toronto, Rockstar New England, Rockstar San Diego, Rockstar Leeds, and Rockstar North.
  4. The OSX version of Max Payne 3 uses TransGaming's Cider compatibility layer and does not run natively on OSX.


  1. "Rockstar Games Multimedia Designers". Retrieved March 24, 2013.
  2. "Rockstar Games / - Design/Designer Information". Design Museum. September 20, 2014. Archived from the original on September 20, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  3. "Develop". Develop (magazine). August 15, 2008. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  4. "Rockstar Games Corporate Info". Retrieved March 24, 2013.
  5. "GTA, Rockstar co-founding brothers squeeze into Britain's 1,000 richest people list with £90 million". GameSpot.
  6. Laura Avery (2005). Newsmakers: the people behind today's headlines: 2004 cumulation. Gale Research. p. 212.
  7. Sinclair, Brendan (January 12, 2007). "Terry Donovan leaves Rockstar". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  8. "Capcom exec leaves to join Rockstar". GameSpot.
  9. "Rockstar Studios Information". Rockstar Universe. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  10. "Rockstar titles have now shipped 250 million copies to date". GameSpot. February 4, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  11. "Grand Theft Auto Series Passes 220 Million Sales Worldwide". GameSpot. August 21, 2015. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  12. Ryan P. (May 18, 2012). "Gaming Gods: Dan and Sam Houser". The Gamer's Hub. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  13. Ivan, Tom. "Rockstar 'deliberately avoiding' FPS genre". ComputerAndVideoGames.
  14. 1 2 Krupa, Daniel (November 4, 2014). "Grand Theft Auto 5: A New Perspective". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on November 4, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  15. "Rockstar Acquires Mad Doc Software". RockstarWatch. Retrieved April 4, 2008.
  16. "Take-Two Interactive Buys DMA Design for $11m.". Computergram International   via HighBeam (subscription required) . September 30, 1999. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  17. Jared Linwood (July 9, 2012). "Rockstar Vancouver merges with Rockstar Toronto and expands". RockstarWatch. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  18. Jurie Horneman (May 11, 2006). "Rockstar Vienna closes its doors". Intelligent Artifice. Retrieved April 21, 2007.

External links

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