Leslie Benzies, former President at Rockstar North working on the Grand Theft Auto series, has raised $42 million in funding for his upcoming video game, thought to be a rival to whatever GTA 6 might turn out to be.
The development of GTA 6 has seen a host of changes among the staff at Rockstar, with a number of big names – Dan Houser in particular – leaving the company ahead of the highly anticipated title.
Fans will have to cast their mind further back for this particular departure though, which occurred in 2016.
Benzies, who was a major driving force behind some of the GTA titles (including GTA V), left under something of a cloud, leading to an acrimonious legal battle against his former employers. The dispute was eventually settled in 2018.
Rockstar Games have locations all around the world, including Leeds, England.
The former GTA lead is making a new game
Prior to that settlement from 2018, Benzies established his own video game studio, called Build a Rocket Boy Games. They are working on an upcoming sci-fi title, called Everywhere.
However, a new report from The Telegraph suggests that new investment has been secured from a number of companies, for the value of $42 million (roughly £32 million).
One of the companies involved in the investment is reportedly Netease. The Chinese video game company are known for the Westward Journey series, as well as partnering with Activision Blizzard for the Chinese release of Overwatch.
Everywhere will be unlike Benzies has ever done before.
Despite being a sci-fi title, many have considered the game to be a rival to any future GTA game, especially with some other ex-Rockstar staff members working on it.
Whether it can actually challenge GTA, the likes of which have been acclaimed and universally popular, remains to be seen, but this major new investment will help in almost every avenue of making and releasing a new title.
CD Projekt Red has opened up on big Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay changes that happened in development, after seeing some fans were concerned it may suffer as a result. However, one developer has moved to reassure them – making a comparison to The Witcher 3.
After being announced 8 years ago, Cyberpunk has faced an awfully long time in development. It’s not all been continuous though, serious waves only started being made after CD Projekt Red wrapped up the critically-acclaimed The Witcher 3 in 2015.
During that period, Cyberpunk 2077 has slowly been revealed through various trailers and gameplay specials. But it’s only natural that things may not have necessarily made it to the final cut.
So, on Cyberpunk’s official Discord channel, the game’s Senior Level Designer publicly addressed the potential of Cyberpunk 2077 undergoing big gameplay changes.
Guns definitely haven’t been removed and are still as prevalent as ever.
Cyberpunk 2077 dev explains situation
To reassure fans about the status of the game, one of the game’s developers – Miles Tost – has written a statement regarding the game.
Naturally, fans have been worried about the idea of material being cut and how that might impact things for launch, but he’s swiftly moved to reassure the community.
“We never had dual wielding and I have said my words on techie so often; not sure what else to say about it other than that if you unsure, please wait for reviews, check whoever you trust after it launches and get their input. Not every game is for everyone, we don’t have the power to change that, haha. No one is forcing you to buy the game day one and no one at CDPR wants you to be disappointed with a game you might not enjoy.
“Having said that, on the topic of cut features: cutting features and scope is a very normal part of development. You can witness it so openly with our game, because we happily gave in to community wishes and showed you that 2018 demo. Think about it. The game – 2 years from release.
“Of course, we iterate and change stuff and of course we also will have ideas that sound great on paper but then doesn’t end up working out well in the game with all the other features.”
The game devs have obviously had huge success with their projects in the past. You only have to look at Witcher 3 to know that, and Tost even used that franchise as an example of how things typically evolve during development.
“Witcher 3 we also cut a ton of stuff, but in the end all of it made the game better – now I understand, this is disappointing for everyone when it happens and also difficult to understand without all the context of development environment, but in this case I just kindly ask you for your trust. Just look at stories of so many other games you might enjoy.”
What it means for Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk 2077 comes out this November.
Game development pretty much equates to that of film development, where plenty of film footage ends up on the cutting room floor. It makes sense that not every feature was going to make it into the final game.
A potentially risky comment was suggesting that people wait for reviews before buying the game. But the game has already gone gold anyway, which shows the dedication to the game already. So, perhaps CD Projekt Red isn’t too afraid of that. In general terms, cut content – here and there – won’t make a huge difference to the direction or execution of a AAA game.
We will find out more as we approach that November 19 launch date, but it’s good to see developers take such a transparent approach with the community it seeks to build.