The other day the industry was surprised to hear that Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser was leaving the company, with the news causing a drop in Take-Two's share value. However, the publisher's CEO, Strauss Zelnick, has moved to calm investors by reassuring them that "things couldn't be better" despite the departure of one of the studio's key creatives.
Dan Houser had a huge hand in the success of Rockstar, the studio behind some of the most popular games in the world, including Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2. Thus, the news of his departure has prompted questions from investors, but Zelnick, speaking during a recent earnings call, seemed in a confident mood.
"The results at Rockstar Games continue to be extraordinary, with the launch of new content for both Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online. It's amazingly gratifying to see Grand Theft Auto V sell 120 million units and Red Dead Redemption 2 up to 29 million units with the launch on PC and Stadia. The label has really never been stronger. We're incredibly optimistic and excited. At the same time we're grateful to Dan for his contributions and we wish him well."
Of course, there is more than one Houser at Rockstar, and Sam, the studio present, remains committed to the cause, according to Zelnick.
"I don't typically speak for other people, but I confidently can speak and say that Sam is highly committed to the organisation and he and I work very closely together. It's an enormous pleasure to be able to be in business with Sam and the entire team at Rockstar. Culturally, I've only seen ongoing improvements at Rockstar, frankly. I've only seen growth, engagement and innovation."
Zelnick then added: "Rockstar Games set a standard for always trying to improve the quality of its operations, the quality of the way they work and the quality of their culture. I frankly couldn't be more proud of how effectively that label is operating."
The Take-Two chief wrapped things up by adding that "things couldn't be better" at the studio. "And to be very specific: no, we don't expect other departures," he concluded.