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Leslie Benzies Talks New Game + New Studio w/ R* Staff

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#1

Posted 26 January 2017 - 06:39 PM Edited by Spider-Vice, 26 January 2017 - 06:41 PM.

Interview with Leslie: http://www.polygon.c...s-matthew-smith
 
Leslie Benzies & co. discuss their new game
 

Leslie Benzies and two other ex-Rockstar North leads — Matthew Smith, former audio director at the studio, and Colin Entwistle, former lead programmer — are starting their own team for a new video game project.

Their unnamed company currently has offices in Edinburgh, Scotland, the hometown of Rockstar North, as well as Los Angeles. Their game, which has the working title of “Everywhere,” is in development on Amazon Lumberyard, the retail giant’s free game engine.

 
There is a whole interview with him there!

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#2

Posted 26 January 2017 - 06:46 PM

Wow, he even brought along other ex-Rockstar staff!

 

This reminds of that interview where he said he wanted to bring every world of GTA into a single game....looks like he still has that vision!

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#3

Posted 26 January 2017 - 06:52 PM Edited by BlackScout, 26 January 2017 - 06:54 PM.

Jesus...
 

Reporter: Do you feel that your legal dispute with Rockstar is affecting this project at all — hanging over it in any way?
 
The Benz: Not at all, this project is incredibly exciting for us and does not share any brain space with the dispute.

 
This made me think two things. Either he is doing well on that dispute or he doesn't really care at all...
 
RIP Rockstar Games.

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#4

Posted 26 January 2017 - 06:56 PM

I knew this was gonna happen someday. This is kinda like the case with Hideo Kojima, who left Konami after MGS V: The Phantom Pain to form his own company.
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#5

Posted 26 January 2017 - 06:58 PM

Just gonna quote specific parts that I think are interesting/important:
 

While itll have many established gaming elements, were also including features that games havent touched on yet.

Were using Amazons Lumberyard

(note: this is Amazon's game engine that's basically an offshoot of Cryengine, currently notable for being what Star Citizen uses)
 

Weve grown from a core team of just a few to a team of around 30 now, and are currently hiring at both studios we filled that blank page pretty quickly and now need to make it all!

The Grand Theft Auto games have always been about sending up American pop culture with puerile humor and a healthy dose of cynicism. Is that something youre interested in?

The Benz: Everywhere is very different from GTA. There may be parts of our game that include satire but the tone will be very different and at times our players will be in control of how the tone is set.

Smith: Well have a distinctive style and tone, and plenty of story and characters but what I find more interesting is letting players create their own stories, their own personalities. To a degree, more like a social network where whats being commented on or ridiculed isnt written three years in advance, but can change hour by hour. And if a future President chose to make policy announcements in Everywhere, thats something Id certainly find interesting!

(Benz, on his influences)One that really resonated with me was Hideo Kojimas Metal Gear Solid he has a great eye for detail.

Smith: Many and varied! I love impossibly detailed, personal games like Inside or Firewatch, but am equally drawn to expansive open worlds the original Elite in the 1980s probably had the biggest single influence on me.


Definitely seems interesting, wonder how this will pan out in the coming years.
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#6

Posted 26 January 2017 - 07:00 PM

It makes me wonder whether this was what their original dispute stemmed from - is "Everywhere" what the Benz wanted for GTA, but the Housers didn't? It sounds big and bold for sure, and something like the core direction of their flagship series could definitely split the team when it was the 3 of them at the top.

 

I know he says it'll be different from GTA, but if someone could find that quote about what he said he wanted for GTA Online, it matches up a lot with what he's suggesting. 

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#7

Posted 26 January 2017 - 07:04 PM Edited by Jabalous, 26 January 2017 - 07:06 PM.

I don't expect something big (AAA), but interesting nonetheless.

 

 

GTA Online turned out to be a huge success. Is that something you anticipated? How important do you think online multiplayer is to AAA games these days?

The Benz: I had a hunch that online was the future and hoped that we could make it a success. I’m proud that the foundations we laid worked and are still working so successfully. I see a future where we don’t reference single or multiplayer — we just choose when we play and if we want to hang out with others or we want to be alone. Just like real life — sometimes I want to be with people, sometimes I don’t, or I want them around but I don’t want to interact with them. We’re making “Everywhere” as seamless as possible so players won’t have to think about jumping from mode to mode — except when it helps the gameplay.

 

 

That's exactly where he was taking GTA to, which is something I despise.

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#8

Posted 26 January 2017 - 07:11 PM Edited by Spider-Vice, 26 January 2017 - 07:12 PM.

Also this about his influence at Rockstar:

 

 

What do you think was your biggest contribution to Rockstar over the years, and do you want to bring that same thing to this new project?

Benzies: I think I brought order to the chaos of making video games. Having a clear idea of the big picture was very useful when designing. I enjoyed the challenge of making many complicated parts fit neatly together. There is a lot of psychology in design. Everything I did ultimately focused on how players would feel or react to a mechanic in the game. I hope to do that with “Everywhere.”

 

 

 

It makes me wonder whether this was what their original dispute stemmed from - is "Everywhere" what the Benz wanted for GTA, but the Housers didn't? It sounds big and bold for sure, and something like the core direction of their flagship series could definitely split the team when it was the 3 of them at the top.

 

I know he says it'll be different from GTA, but if someone could find that quote about what he said he wanted for GTA Online, it matches up a lot with what he's suggesting. 

You do make a good point, all this seamless online stuff he's talking about looks like was going to be the future of GTA. I wonder if the Housers preferred money to innovation. It could've been the reason for the dispute.

 

I also find it very ironic that one of his inspirations was... No one other than Hideo Kojima, who also got emancipated from Konami.

 

This said, we still don't know whether he was the "GTA destroyer" or not, or why the dispute really happened, but this will be extremely interesting and I can't wait for it. Might not be everyone's cup of tea, but we'll see.

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#9

Posted 26 January 2017 - 07:18 PM Edited by Spider-Vice, 26 January 2017 - 07:20 PM.

It has a logo, revealed in a separate Polygon article!

http://www.polygon.c...azon-lumberyard

 

 

Everywhere_LOGO.jpg

 

Edit: Also

 

The Benz was credited as director of Grand Theft Auto Online, the ambitious (and hugely lucrative!) online component of Grand Theft Auto 5. “The Houser brothers had little interest in GTA Online, and did not focus on its development,” The Benz claimed in the lawsuit. That focus on game as service appears to be in play with Everywhere.

 

Maybe the Housers did right in not wanting his GTA Online experience because it reached the levels it's at today, maybe they didn't. Maybe both companies will make great games in their own genres (online/SP) without/with Benz, who knows. But nonetheless great news.

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#10

Posted 26 January 2017 - 08:02 PM

It's kinda funny how they are promising to give us a whole "new world" that' encompasses "everywhere" with buzz worlds like "freedom" but they still haven't settled on a studio name or a proper title :p

 

I'm excited to see where this is going, I just hope they aren't getting ahead of themselves!


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#11

Posted 26 January 2017 - 08:03 PM

Official Website

Press Kit
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#12

Posted 26 January 2017 - 08:26 PM

Check out their hiring positions in "Work" and read the descriptions, some very adventurous stuff in there. They are hiring on Rockstar's doorstep too, I wonder are they trying to poach?
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#13

Posted 26 January 2017 - 08:35 PM

It wouldn't surprise me, the amount of people who walked out after Leslie was fired at North, NYC AND San Diego makes me curious if the L:A studio is going after those guys from SD too.
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#14

Posted 26 January 2017 - 08:48 PM

Looks like they might be opening up for user generated content or a forum? Found on their privacy policy:

 

BK6ryPu.png

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#15

Posted 26 January 2017 - 10:03 PM

Looking forward to what the team has in store.

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#16

Posted 27 January 2017 - 12:17 AM

Glad to see this happening :D


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#17

Posted 27 January 2017 - 02:57 AM

That moment when you qualify for one of the job listings.

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#18

Posted 27 January 2017 - 03:27 AM

You'd probably qualify for R* too then? :p

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#19

Posted 27 January 2017 - 04:00 AM

this news appeals to my interests :^:


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#20

Posted 27 January 2017 - 04:24 AM Edited by DieselFuelOnly, 27 January 2017 - 04:24 AM.

You'd probably qualify for R* too then? :p

 

Providing it's the same field, I suppose so  :whuh:

 

whatthehell.png

 

Now look what you've done.

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#21

Posted 27 January 2017 - 05:41 AM

I knew this would have happened - The Benz opening a new studio and hiring former Rockstar employees, I mean - I just didn't think it'd happen so soon. Very interested in how this will develop.

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#22

Posted 27 January 2017 - 08:58 AM

In think letting go of "The Benz" was their biggest mistake yet. It's a possibility that this "Everywhere" could become serious competition for the GTA series. But right now, I applaud Leslie for making his own company. Well done, man. Glad to see you back in action. Just...that this time you don't have your usual team with you.
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#23

Posted 27 January 2017 - 11:11 AM Edited by Mister Pink, 27 January 2017 - 11:14 AM.

It wouldn't surprise me, the amount of people who walked out after Leslie was fired at North, NYC AND San Diego makes me curious if the L:A studio is going after those guys from SD too.

 

Did a lot of people walk out after him? Is there any article I can read supporting this? :) I mean aside from the ex-employees working for the new studio, a lot of them could have left for their own reasons. The other way makes it seem like they walked out in solidarity with the Benz.

 

So The Benz is responsible for GTA Online? Hmm.. I might be kind of glad he's gone then. However, looks like Rockstar are in too deep with this Online and it's too lucrative that it's going to be a permanent and flagship feature of GTA now. Even if GTA Online resources were halved, I wonder what SP would have been like and how it would been developed. I mean GTA Online is cool for the new kids that like waiting in lobbies and paying to play but I come from a time when a game felt complete and you could play a GTA in SP for years. Times have changed. 

 

I wish all the success for The Benz and his team. The guy is obviously a legend and he impresses me when he says there's a lot of psychology that goes in to implementing features in games etc. At the same time I also question some of the decisions made for GTA IV and V like Yoga, lack of features in IV, the abandoment of SP for GTA V etc. Maybe The Benz was the only guy that could implement the further development of GTAO things in to GTA SP. Maybe that's why things were blocked eventually after he left because it was unsustainable and potentially unstable and could cause to many bugs therefore Rockstar actually blocking access of Online things in SP. 

 

Of course I don't have a clue who's decisions where who's and what the original idea was and how it ended up. I'm just speculating for my own amusement.

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#24

Posted 27 January 2017 - 12:08 PM

A video game that simulates and fuses the real world with the virtual. Live your own stories as you live in ours.

 

I am getting some kind of a space game vibe from the first look of the website and the game font, though i could be always completely wrong. Hopefully it's the NMS/Star Citizen we all deserve.

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#25

Posted 27 January 2017 - 12:32 PM

Rockstar is done. I'm sure the Housers will rush out one last GTA before Benz' masterpiece hits the market, then it's game over for them.
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#26

Posted 27 January 2017 - 01:36 PM

Easy now. Let the limbs develop before expecting it to walk.

 

This excites me big time. Very excited to see what's next. I kind of expected this, but not so soon. Either way, bring it on!

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#27

Posted 27 January 2017 - 01:38 PM Edited by Mister Pink, 27 January 2017 - 02:59 PM.

Rockstar is done. I'm sure the Housers will rush out one last GTA before Benz' masterpiece hits the market, then it's game over for them.

 

It could go another way too. I mean I imagine The Benz would have had a lot of say and certainly had the technical know-how to implement these things. Where the Housers are more like the think-tank, the ideas guys. It's now alleged that the Housers weren't too into Online but it seems like it was The Benz pet project. I'm guessing this is why he's asking for 150 million, most likely Shark Card revenue. It now looks as why they went separate ways.

 

It's quite possible the Housers see GTA was a SP experience first. It's quite possible The Benz proposed GTA Online to Take Two and Take 2 agreed to fund it, so long as it's monetized with Shark Cards. 

 

So, if there's a disagreement in the focus of GTA it's likely because of the most obviously devisive thing: GTA O. GTA ceased to be a SP game and became an exclusively Online only game as soon as they stopped supporting or adding things in to the SP. This clash of creative direction is most likely why we didn't see any SP DLC. 

 

So, whoever fills The Benz shoes will have to provide some loyalty to the the Houser's wishe's and maybe we'll see a return to a more single-player centric game. However, I just don't see it going back. But as Strauss Zelnick said ""Not only was it not our intention that GTA Online was permanent, but it's important that it not be permanent. We have to rest the franchise at some point." 

 

I wouldn't mind if the next GTA drops and it's single player only for a minimum of a year or something. I don't know. Why do I spend so much time thinking about GTA :(

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#28

Posted 27 January 2017 - 02:20 PM

GTA online was going to happen eventually. I remember playing GTA 4 online forever and wondered what if we could buy apartments, clothes, cars, etc online and thinking that would be cool. And it finally happened with GTA V. The only thing I hate about GTA Online is the that it has too much PVP gameplay. Other than that it's miles better than what we got with GTA 4 online freemode.

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#29

Posted 27 January 2017 - 02:31 PM Edited by RogerWho, 27 January 2017 - 02:32 PM.

I'm somewhat confused by the reactions. On one hand, the concept of GTAO is almost universally hated across this board (well apart from the GTAO forum obv.), or at least what it has done to the GTA SP or the GTA formula. Everyone's been crying about how GTA V SP was botched, how it doesn't get updates, how shark cards rule the design choices and all that.

 

And now Benz is doing another game like that and everyone is suddenly excited? For another GTAO clone?

 

I'm confused. Help me understand. Where are the GTAO haters?

 

For example (not trying to pick on you on anything, this quote just highlights my confusion):

 

You do make a good point, all this seamless online stuff he's talking about looks like was going to be the future of GTA. I wonder if the Housers preferred money to innovation.

I get the 'innovation' part, but GTAO is obviously the biggest moneymaker and most likely was, or at least could have been predicted to be. So if anything, to me it seems that the Housers would pick safe bets over innovation, or the original GTA concept over money.

 

Of course, I have no real clue what the Benz/Housers relationships was in the company. A lot of people seem to have very intimate knowledge of what it was like there though [sarcasm].

 

To me it seems that if anything, if Benz left/was let go before GTAO started development, perhaps GTA V could have been a better SP game.

 

Another thing I don't get is... These guys just started. How long is this game off, 3 years at least? And the hype is already starting? Oh dear.

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#30

Posted 27 January 2017 - 02:34 PM

When Benz was let go, GTA Online development was done. He was let go in 2014. When GTA Online development started in 2012, Benz was still there.

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