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Has Michael Unsworth left Rockstar Games?


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11 minutes ago, Tez2 said:

If it's true, considering he's a veteran, 16 years in a single studio is a long time and his cue to leave. I expect anyone who has spent over 10 years to seek other industries or retire all-together. The changes made to the NYC studio could have played a role in his decision-making. I mean Sam went back to Rockstar North after Dan's departure. You kinda expect higher-ups like him to be where Sam is. The costs of moving to another studio to accommodate that is simply not worth it. People just seek other studios or other jobs in cases like that.

 

In terms of writing, it's a team's effort so I expect the quality to be as good as before. Even so, if it's true that he left this year, he has already overseen VI's and the next title. VI's pre-production dates back to 2014 and the brainstorming/planning stage dates back to 2012. At this point, brainstorming and the planning stage on the next title may have already been concluded. The title after the next title would be the one in which he hasn't contributed any input to.

Will the departure delay the announcement schedule of gta 6s announcement and the release schedule?

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Just now, Billy95 said:

Will the departure delay the announcement schedule of gta 6s announcement and the release schedule?

 

No, lol.

 

If Unsworth has left R* it's likely a sign that his work on VI is done.

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33 minutes ago, Jason said:

 

Where did you hear that?

It's not even R* North, it's London, lol. London is where the UK writing and productions teams are. Also, I'm pretty sure the reasons were family-related and nothing to do with Dan leaving.

 

1 hour ago, Xerukal said:

It's about why they left.

These people are getting old and working on projects that each take 7+ years is unsustainable for some. There are plenty of other industry veterans leaving, including recently Naughty Dog higher ups. We are coming to a point in the 2020's where a lot of those veterans will be too old to want to continue doing these AAA things.

 

Seriously it's full-on fearmongering to think that the ONLY reason is that there's friction. It's been years between veteran departures, they are all already of a certain age. In this day and age a lot of devs join AAA studios only to work on ONE project because development times are so long and development is so stressful. One game is enough to burn out a lot of people nowadays. It is completely normal. 16 years is almost triple the normal amount of tenure for someone in the games industry, average tenure is about 5-7 years and even then that's kinda high. AAA development is tiring, stressful and complex and many industry veterans just wanna leave that behind now after 15-20 years doing the same thing - this includes narrative and R* isn't that special, they will have people who want to just retire or do something different after so long.

 

And again. Who said that it's an issue for some of those older veterans to leave? Trust me, a lot of younger talent can be very much better than all of these veterans. As Jason said earlier, I think there's gonna be a bit of a rude awakening for a lot of bigger studio fandoms in the next few years as veterans of most AAA studios start leaving. It will happen. If it were me, I wouldn't be working on AAA anymore after 20 years with how much more complex and stressful it's become.

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6 minutes ago, Spider-Vice said:

It's not even R* North, it's London, lol. London is where the UK writing team is.

 

These people are getting old and working on projects that each take 7+ years is unsustainable for some. There are plenty of other industry veterans leaving, including recently Naughty Dog higher ups. We are coming to a point in the 2020's where a lot of those veterans will be too old to want to continue doing these AAA things.

 

Seriously it's full-on fearmongering to think that the ONLY reason is that there's friction. It's been years between veteran departures, they are all already of a certain age. In this day and age a lot of devs join AAA studios only to work on ONE project because development times are so long and development is so stressful. One game is enough to burn out a lot of people nowadays. It is completely normal. 16 years is almost triple the normal amount of tenure for someone in the games industry.

Fair. You can tell a lot was put into RDR2 and it ended up being spectacular, but its price was a lot of the workers sanity with all the crunches going on and what not. 16 years is one hell of a feat, and I wish Michael Unsworth the best of luck moving forward, the man did his part and then some.

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37 minutes ago, Tez2 said:

I mean Sam went back to Rockstar North after Dan's departure

What's the source for this?

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Johnny Blackbird
25 minutes ago, sanjay3207 said:

What's the source for this?

It was revealed to him in a dream.

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57 minutes ago, Spider-Vice said:

Seriously it's full-on fearmongering to think that the ONLY reason is that there's friction.

Personally I’d be inclined to say there is more complacency that it won’t matter AT ALL.

 

Maybe there’s been some friction, maybe there hasn’t. But I don’t think it can be discounted as a possibility - unless someone has some genuine inside information that categorically says that’s not the case. It would be unusual if there wasn’t in big business.

 

I can buy it’s also possible departures are on good terms (not knowing anything about the personalities) - it could be burn out, wanting a break or to do something different. But even if the reason for leaving is benign, there’s also the impact after they are gone.

 

We perennially get the argument wheeled out that there’s a whole team of people as if no one realises that. Yes, it doesn’t mean there’ll be a sudden absence of talent. But leadership matters, and if Unsworth is moving on that’s two of the top three guys gone is a relatively short space of time. Change in leadership almost always involves some change in direction.
 

You could argue that might be a good thing - keeping things fresh, etc. That may turn out to be the case. But when you have a team that’s so good (produces the superlative RDR2 story for example), the phrase that comes to mind to me is - “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”: i.e if it were a simple matter of choice, I’d feel more confident the next story is in good hands if the same guys were still in charge. New leadership will be an unknown quantity.

 

The top team changing for me represents a risk (if you like the stories they’ve led the production of), not something that should be dismissed as nothing to worry about. Yes, it could work out fine, but there’s no reason to think that’s the default outcome either.

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universetwisters

I’m sorry but literally who? This is the first time I’m hearing of his guy, let alone hearing him be mentioned in the same vein as the Benz or the housers.

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The reason why it's ultimately pointless to fearmonger the changes is because change is literally inevitable.

 

As I said, these guys that are leaving have been around for 15-20+ years, probably started it in their 20's or 30's, they're reaching an age, after having a successful, career, where they can retire. You also have to remember that if any individual committed to another AAA project, nevermind an AAA one, it's another 4 or 5 years of their life they are committing to a project.

 

Like I also said, if you're someone who follows the industry and knows a lot of the famous writers, directors, leaders, designers, whatever, you're going to see a lot of this over the next couple of years. They're all hitting that age and given the time it takes to develop games and the long hours they've all put in (they were all around in the prime crunch days) it is inevitable that many of them, if not all, are going to step away. We've seen Todd Howard contemplate it recently where he implies the next Elder Scrolls might be his last ES title, which is probably why he also wants to do Fallout 5 him self, which could be his actual last title before retirement.

 

These changes will impact studios of course, key people leaving will do that, but yea, fearmongering it is just pointless, nevermind thinking there's some grand conspiracy going on.

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4 minutes ago, universetwisters said:

I’m sorry but literally who? This is the first time I’m hearing of his guy, let alone hearing him be mentioned in the same vein as the Benz or the housers.

It’s probably fake news anyway 😉

 

Spoiler

Sorry couldn’t resist. It quite possibly is nothing. As far as I can see his LI profile just has 2023 and not to present. But his also doesn’t have months on it like a lot of them. There’s been no official word. He could equally be taking a different role to his current position of VP. So this could just as equally be fake news as real!

 

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1 hour ago, Spider-Vice said:

It's not even R* North, it's London, lol. London is where the UK writing and productions teams are. Also, I'm pretty sure the reasons were family-related and nothing to do with Dan leaving.

I never knew this! I always thought Rockstar London was just a support team for IT related stuff. That's awesome to know!

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London's always been their UK HQ AFAIK? I remember seeing it described as the publishing HQ at some point.

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4 minutes ago, videotechx said:

I never knew this! I always thought Rockstar London was just a support team for IT related stuff. That's awesome to know!

Rockstar London has art departments, publishing and community management too. It's also where R* International operate from. If you keep an eye on job listings as they appear you'll see too.

 

Just now, Jason said:

London's always been their UK HQ AFAIK? I remember seeing it described as the publishing HQ at some point.

Correct. North is the dev HQ but London does all the business/publishing stuff, some art, writing, etc.

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8 minutes ago, Jimbatron said:

It’s probably fake news anyway 😉

 

It's a possibility that it might be fake. The 1st mention that Michael left rockstar was by a gtaf user who noticed his linkedin account. We literally don't whether it's real or not and we do not have any official confirmation from T2, R* or Michael unsworth himself. 

 

There's 3 possibilities - 

 

1. Michael did leave the studio. But, wanted remain silent about it and did not want any public attention.

2. He probably got promoted to VP of creative. Since dan houser role was VP of creative and nobody filled that postion since his departure. So, michael unsworth might have taken that position.

3. I several times checked this linkedin account in the past, it was in-active. It seems like a linkedin thing which updated his profile as "-2023" instead to "-present" due to inactivity. 

 

But, we will have to wait and see. I really don't know what happened. But, many rockstar creatives leaving rockstar will definitely effect their next game. Whether it's better or worse, we don't know. In the past, the only time when many executives left rockstar was after the release of GTA SA [Terry donavan, jamie king, paul kurowski, james worrals and many others]. Their departure had significant effect on GTA 4, consideting how much different GTA 4 is compared to previous GTA games.

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22 minutes ago, Jason said:

The reason why it's ultimately pointless to fearmonger the changes is because change is literally inevitable.

 

I’d agree change is inevitable - everyone retires eventually. And fearmongering is pointless (guess it’s a question of opinion what you define as that) until you know who the replacement are and see how it pans out.

 

If we’re trying to work out objectively whether some news is good or bad, I don’t think it’s good analysis to say “change had to happen at some point, so it we might as well take the stance it will all work out fine.”

 

Look at it from another angle, I seem to remember Take2 publicly celebrating after GTA IV they had extended the contracts of their top team to work on the next title. Would anyone look at MU leaving and say “yes, that’s a positive development”?

 

As I say, I doesn’t mean everything from the writing team is going to turn to crap now. It may go from strength to strength. But I’d personally feel more confident if the top team were the same, and it’s not unreasonable for a question mark to be added until we know more about succession/replacement plans and we see some results.

 

The mood for me shouldn’t be complacency or fearmongering, it should be caution.

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Here's my take on this, it's a 50/50 until proven otherwise.

 

To say the new people are incompetent and lack the talent is a not necessary correct because we haven't seen much yet, but to also completely dismiss the influence of the veterans is also not accurate.

 

It is true that games are the product of a collective work coming from every single person that works at a studio, but there's a vision and eye for quality that people in leadership positions have a huge influence on, otherwise their positions are meaningless, especially in something such as writing or art directory.

 

All in all, the next game will not even be impacted by this anyway, it remains to be seen how the one after shapes up to be, whoever is filling these shoes will either be good, almost identical or bad compared to the veterans, they need to be given a chance though.

 

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1 minute ago, Spider-Vice said:

business/publishing stuff

 

I thought that Rockstar NY does the publishing and business stuff. At one point, T2 and R* shared the same building and T2 were kicked out in early 2018.

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1 minute ago, sanjay3207 said:

 

I thought that Rockstar NY does the publishing and business stuff. At one point, T2 and R* shared the same building and T2 were kicked out in early 2018.

R* NY are the main corporate HQ but they have other HQ's for regional publishing and such. Rockstar has small offices inside each of the T2 offices in e.g. Germany, Spain, Japan, Malaysia, etc.

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4 minutes ago, Jimbatron said:

If we’re trying to work out objectively whether some news is good or bad

 

We can't, is the point. We have nothing to speculate on.

 

If he has left it's entirely possible he went as quietly as he has to avoid this exact type of situation, cause again, R* never single out individuals because they have always acknowledged it's a team effort.

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27 minutes ago, Jimbatron said:

fearmongering is pointless

 

I would say that fearmongering is due to mis-info or info taken out of context and spread by accounts who are pretending to be rockstar news accounts. The news around around rockstar and their next release has been dry. Whenever rockstar is mentioned in the news, it's always negative. Rockstar's business practice's does not help with that. So, if any news around rockstar that is mildly interesting will be spread around gaming circles. So these accounts will not verify the information that they get and just post it on social media news where people will just read the titles and jump into conclusion's. This started dan's departure and continued ever since. 

 

27 minutes ago, Jimbatron said:

you know who the replacement

I don't know whether this is positive or negative, But Rockstar hired roger drew as senior creative writer in 2020/2021 and he is part of Rockstar London. Roger drew wrote political satire shows like "The think of it" and "VEEP". I have seen VEEP and I liked it very much. I haven't seen "The thick of it". Anyone who seen that show can comment on it's quality.

 

27 minutes ago, Jimbatron said:

Look at it from another angle, I seem to remember Take2 publicly celebrating after GTA IV they had extended the contracts of their top team to work on the next title. Would anyone look at MU leaving and say “yes, that’s a positive development”?

 

When creatives leave and people concerned about it's effect on the studio, T2 will always say it's an positive developement. When leslie benzies left rockstar, Strass zelnick said that they are doing fine and his role was replaced by rob nelson and aaron garbut [Who were directors for RDR 2]. But during that time, RDR 2 was going through developement hell, but at the end, rockstar ended up releasing the game in a good state. Irrespective of studio departures's and the effect it has on the studio, T2 will always say it is good and reassure the investors. They are not gonna admit that they doing bad to the investors. 

 

27 minutes ago, Jimbatron said:

I doesn’t mean everything from the writing team is going to turn to crap now. It may go from strength to strength. But I’d personally feel more confident if the top team were the same

I don't know about the present writing at rockstar. But, sometimes change is good. In my previous post, I mentioned that many creatives left rockstar after GTA SA. In which 2 of them were writers who wrote original gta's i.e, Paul kurowski and James worral. These 2 were replaced by Michael unsworth and rupert humphries. The writing went from strength to strength. we will have to wait and see with what happens with gta 6. 

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17 minutes ago, Jason said:

 

We can't, is the point. We have nothing to speculate on.

Not sure what you mean. Isn’t this entire thread speculation he might have left, and opinions about it?

 

And if there’s not going to be opinions about it, what’s the point? All the thread can be is “he might have left - the end, unless we hear something official”.

 

I agree that means any speculation won’t have hard evidence to support it, but that’s most of GTA VI discussion (except the few bits that’s been learned from verified leaks).

Edited by Jimbatron
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It's a thread speculating that he might have left, yea. The fearmongering about why, without any basis, not so much. FWIW, this more aimed at earlier discussion which I think has been mostly deleted.

 

But anyway, speculating how such a departure may impact R* in terms of their games writing is right now basically impossible - if it's true then it's likely that his work on VI is done and he's stepping away from R* before they move to their next project, so we might not see the impact of Unsworth's departure until their game after GTA VI. That's why it's an ultimately fruitless line of speculation for the time being and does come off a little fearmongery when the line of discussion is "oh no, they're doomed", cause we can't prove anything either way.

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9 minutes ago, Jason said:

which I think has been mostly deleted.

Only the horribly off-topic TLOU 2 "feminism" rants were. All else is on page 1-3 including discussion about Neil Druckmann and Cory Barlog.

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27 minutes ago, sanjay3207 said:

When creatives leave and people concerned about it's effect on the studio, T2 will always say it's an positive developement. When leslie benzies left rockstar, Strass zelnick said that they are doing fine and his role was replaced by rob nelson and aaron garbut

Good example of how they have managed change well in the past. But as I say, that doesn’t mean I’d be complacent that everything’ll be fine this time.

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3 hours ago, Jason said:

Where did you hear that?

Insider account. I mainly heard he's back to UK, but I correlated that with North.

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58 minutes ago, Jimbatron said:

Good example of how they have managed change well in the past. But as I say, that doesn’t mean I’d be complacent that everything’ll be fine this time.

If we consider rockstar's history they always managed to change well in the past. Like leslie being replaced by rob nelson and aaron garbut. Paul kurowski and james worral being replaced by michael unsworth and rupert humphries. When EA bought the renderware engine. They successfully managed to shift away from rendeware and used RAGE engine to develop. 

 

Whenever someone leaves rockstar, these so-called community reporters report it right away. Yet, when roger drew joined rockstar nobody reported anything *crickets*. These so-called reporters did not report anything. 

 

I have mentioned many times on the forums that roger drew joined rockstar. Also other mentioned about his employment as writer at rockstar london. 

 

Michael unsworth departure isn't even confirmed, yet, people decided to report on it without any official confirmation. 

Whereas roger drew's joining rockstar has been confirmed by both rockstar and roger drew himself in his resume.

 

Hmmm, I wonder why it wasn't reported. A unconfirmed departure which might be perceived negatively was reported right away, whereas when a emmy winning writer joins rockstar as senior creative writer wasn't reported by anyone. These reporters probably thought that the news was way to positive for their liking and doesn't fit their confirmation bias.

 

 

https://www.casarotto.co.uk/clients/roger-drew

 

https://www.rockstargames.com/gta-v/thankyou

 

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The same people (talking about the main leadership) worked on GTA IV, RDR1, GTA V and RDR2. GTA V's story is pretty weak compared to the other games. Comparing GTA V to RDR2's story, it's a big difference and both stories were written by the same people.

Example: Leslie's departure - it affected RDR2's development? No, it became one of the best games EEEEEEEVER! People worry for nothing. As I said earlier in the comment, even the veterans can "mess" with something = Not always it's the same quality!

NEVER EVER WORRY ABOUT THEIR MAIN GAMES

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8 minutes ago, Tez2 said:

Insider account. I mainly heard he's back to UK, but I correlated that with North.

 

I don't know whether I should ask this or not 😅 . But, you might ask your insider account about michael unsworth departure at rockstar and put this thread to rest.

2 minutes ago, ionutx02 said:

GTA V's story is pretty weak compared to the other games

 

GTA 5 as a whole took a hit due to GTA 4's criticism. Whereas other titles had a definite vision and rockstar weren't influenced by criticism. GTA 5 was heavily effected because of GTA 4's criticism.

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5 minutes ago, Tez2 said:

Insider account. I mainly heard he's back to UK, but I correlated that with North.

British press reported Houser bought a house in the Cotswolds two years ago. Makes sense. 

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