The Hits And Misses Of Rockstar

The Hits And Misses Of Rockstar


One of the biggest development studios on the face of the Earth are Rockstar. Many of their games are engrained into gaming culture, while others are not so much. We delve into their past.

Shooting Star

Let’s go back to the future, shall we, to a date in 1998 in New York City, New York. Baseball legends Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire are chasing the Major League Baseball home run record set by Roger Maris; The Denver Broncos beat the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII; the cost of internet was roughly $20 per month; U.S. president Bill Clinton admits that he did indeed have “sexual relations” with Monica Lewinsky; oh and Rockstar Games was born.

Rockstar Games was founded by a group of video game producers; brothers Sam and Dan Houser, Jamie King, Terry Donovan, and Gary Foreman. The Houser brothers were the driving force behind the creation of Rockstar Games and the publisher Take-Two’s stake in the United States. The developing studio quickly soared into “A-list” status with the creation of subsidiary developing studios such as Rockstar Lincoln and Rockstar Toronto, which were founded in 1999.

Growth came more rapidly with the success of the Grand Theft Auto franchise allowing Rockstar and Take-Two to open more developing studios with Rockstar North, previously known as “DMA Design” (original developing studio on GTA), and Rockstar Vancouver (mostly known for their title Bully) – previously under the name of “Barking Dog Studios”. Both studios opened their doors for business in 2002 putting Rockstar’s satellite studios at the number “4” in four years. Success, if I’ve ever seen it.

Taking Over

From 2003 to 2005 Rockstar would then open four more developing studios; Rockstar San Diego (Red Dead Revolver/Redemption), Rockstar Leeds (Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars), Rockstar Japan (localization for Japanese Rockstar titles), and Rockstar London (Midnight Club: Los Angeles). Eight studios in seven years only meant that Rockstar was going in one direction, up and up.

In 2008 Rockstar opened yet another developing studio; Rockstar New England – responsible for the Xbox 360 and PC ports of Bully. However, it should be noted that not all developing studios opened by Rockstar had success as Rockstar Vienna saw a three year life span where they were responsible for porting all of the Max Payne titles to consoles and created a good portion of Manhunt 2 before they were shut down. Vienna was the exception not the rule with Rockstar.