Veteran Red Dead Redemption writer leaves Rockstar after 16 years

Veteran Red Dead Redemption writer leaves Rockstar after 16 years

It’s not unusual for employees to leave a company, especially one as large as Rockstar Games. The developer behind the popular Grand Theft Auto series has had quite a few high-profile departures in recent years, with Lazlow Jones and Dan Houser waving goodbye to the studio earlier this year. And now it looks like another long-time member of the team is packing his bags. Earlier this week, it was announced that Michael Unsworth, the vice president of writing for Rockstar, has left the company after more than a decade of service. Unsworth’s lengthy resume includes writing credits on all of the major GTA titles, as well as Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2. He also wrote for other notable Rockstar games, including Grand Theft Auto 4, L.A. Noire, and Max Payne 3.

Originally spotted by GTAForums user Rucke and reposted by the official Rockstar news Twitter account SWEGTA, Unsworth’s LinkedIn profile has been updated to reflect his departure from the company. He did not elaborate on his decision to leave or give any details about what’s next for him. But the move is notable given that he was a key writer for the studio’s last big release, 2018’s Red Dead Redemption 2, along with co-founder Dan Houser and another credited writer, Sam Houser.

Unsworth’s departure comes just days after Rockstar revealed that work has begun on the upcoming Grand Theft Auto VI. While the studio hasn’t confirmed any specific details about what’s in store for the franchise, it is expected to be set in Vice City. The game is currently in development, with a 2022 release date targeted by the company.

While it’s not unusual for employees to leave prestigious companies, the departure of Unsworth is a sign that Rockstar may be struggling to keep the team together as it continues to work on future titles. It’s been a rough few years for the studio, with prominent members like Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies and former GTA creative lead Lazlow Jones leaving in 2020. But Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick remained confident in the studio’s future in the wake of Houser’s exit, saying things couldn’t be better.

While it’s not clear exactly why Unsworth has left the company, it’s easy to see why he would want to do so. His massive writing resume includes the works of some of the biggest names in gaming, and he has proven himself as a valuable asset to the studio over the past decade or so. Hopefully, the rest of the team can pick up the slack in his absence and continue to deliver top-notch entertainment. Then again, with a few more years in the pipeline before GTA 6 arrives, that might be a tall order to fill. Regardless, we look forward to the studio’s next release, which is likely just around the corner.