May 15, 2016        Yan2295

The future of GTA

It's 3am. I can't sleep. For some reason, I can only think about the future of GTA. I'm scared of it. That's something I had in my mind since a while now, but I never took a few minutes, or hours in that case, to properly think about it. There are 2 very simple reasons behind that. One, the success of GTA Online. Two, the dismissal of Leslie Benzies.

GTA Online has a huge success, we can't deny that. But GTA, for the real fans at least, is a Single Player experience at first. I personnaly didn't love the story of GTA V, I always said GTA V is a very good game, but not a very good GTA, but that's another very long story that I might keep for another time. During the development of GTA V, the Single Player was the main focus, and by far. But since the release, we can clearly see that the main focus is now GTA Online. Funnily enough, Sam Houser didn't give a fuck about GTA Online when it was being developped, according to Leslie Benzies, who created GTA Online. But now that there's (a lot of) money to be made with it, he's very very much interested in it. And that's where my point #1 comes from. Since there's so much money to be made with GTA Online, a lot more than with the Single Player, what does it mean for the future of GTA? Does it mean they will focus on the multiplayer and pretty much "ignore" the Single Player? That's what I'm scared of, or at least one of the things I'm scared of.

Then there's the dismissal of Leslie Benzies. Leslie worked on every single GTA title since GTA III, in 2001, and worked on some other Rockstar titles. Leslie was one of the few guys who worked on the games from A to Z. Leslie is a genius, and GTA is what it is today in a great part because of him. Of course you can't make a game by yourself, it's a team effort, I know that, but this man alone did so much work. But if he was so great, why was he fired, you may ask. The answer is simple, but also complicated: Money. Money changes people. Money changed the Housers, especially Sam, I guess. Apparently they fired Leslie to get the money of his royalties, and here we're talking about a few millions. But is it worth it to fire your best employee, the guy you called your savior, the guy you called your best friend, for a few millions, especially when you already have many millions? Money changes people, and it makes people do crazy things.

Apparently Sam was pissed at Leslie when he noticed he put his name last in the opening credits of GTA Online. That's where you put the name of the person who worked the most on the project, something like that. Sam was pissed at Leslie for that. But as I said earlier, Sam didn't give a fuck about GTA Online, Sam didn't even play GTA Online until it was released (again, that's what the rumor says).

Spring 2014. Sam suggested to Leslie to take a break from work. To take a year to "recharge his batteries". Leslie agreed, and took a year off. He was actually being fired without knowing it. He only knew it one year later, April 1st 2015, when he came back to work. He couldn't enter the Rockstar North building. A security guard let him in, but he was then told to leave by the management. Sam didn't even have the guts to tell Leslie. For some reason, that pisses me off a lot. Then, Sam fired everyone who was close to Leslie. Every single person who was usually working with him. Some other employees left by themselves when they learned about that whole story. Since then, the atmosphere is pretty bad in the Rockstar North offices, as I heard. People are trying to move on, but it's not easy. What kind of working conditions is that? Do you think it's fun for them to go to work in that kind of place?

Now that Leslie is no longer at Rockstar, will the next games, at least the next GTAs, feel different? Probably. Judging by the fact that Leslie was so important and so involved at Rockstar, it's impossible that players, or at least the long time fans, won't notice a difference. Hell, even with GTA V and GTA Online we noticed a difference. Since he's gone, we never heard anything about the Single Player DLC that was announced in 2014, DLC that he was apparently working on and that has probably been canceled since then. The Single Player stopped receiving the new vehicles and weapons that GTA Online received. The GTA Online Updates were not as good. All the big Updates we received after he was fired were in the work for so long that he actually worked on them. The smaller updates we got, updates he didn't work on, were not as good. So yes, since he left we noticed a difference in GTA V and GTA Online. Imagine that at the scale of a new game. I strongly believe that GTA as we know it is over. I'm not saying the next GTA will be shit, but probably not as good, especially if they decide to focus more on the multiplayer than the Story Mode.

While I'm at it, I would like to talk about Rockstar in general. How Rockstar changed since the announcement of GTA V. How much of a weird company Rockstar is. The real fans know it, Rockstar changed. Their main issue is the communication. Fans need, and deserve, to hear more from Rockstar. Actually I should say, Rockstar needs to realise we're in 2016, we're no longer in 1998. At this time, people bought the games, and it was pretty much it, so communication didn't matter. But now there are huge communities, a lot of fans, but Rockstar still doesn't know how to communicate well. And for some reason, instead of being better, they are worse since GTA V. There's almost no communication about future plans. Fans are not stupid, they can understand delays and all that stuff, but for that, you need to actually talk and explain stuff. Be more open, it will just make everything better.

I think I'm just going to cut it short here, but here's something very important: Don't get me wrong, I'm still a huge fan of Rockstar, but there's a twist. I love the products, not the way the company is run. I think Rockstar needs to redo a lot of things, including the way they treat their employees, the communication with the community, and some other internal decisions.

So yes, I am scared about the future of GTA. Sure there's money to be made with GTA Online, but please don't forget the Single Player, it's what made GTA what it is today. Firing Leslie was a terrible decision, the guy didn't deserve that at all, he deserves a lot of respect. Hopefully this won't affect GTA too much.

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