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GTA Producer Leslie Benzies Embroiled In $150 Million Lawsuit With Rockstar

The “sabbatical” that former Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies was on has proven to be far more complicated than it first appeared.

When Kotaku reported that Benzies had left Rockstar North back in January, the company told us he’d been on a sabbatical for several months and had “decided not to return to work for the company.”

Benzies paints a more complicated story. In a press release announcing a lawsuit against his former employer, Benzies claims he was “enticed by Rockstar” to take a sabbatical after the launch of Grand Theft Auto V. During that time, he reportedly discovered “numerous deceptions” designed to push him out of the company and deny him royalty payments to the tune of $150 million.

In December 2008, Rockstar parent company Take-Two Interactive announced long-term employment contracts and a “profit sharing arrangement” with Benzies and Rockstar co-founders Dan and Sam Houser.

“This new chapter in our successful relationship further aligns the interests of our creative teams with those of our shareholders,” said Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick at the time.

Benzies’ lawsuit says the agreements were identical for all three, and Sam Houser’s actions to remove Benzies from the arrangement was “the product of what turned out to be a lengthy deception” driven by “mounting resentments after many years of high praise.”

Benzies specifically called out the statement Rockstar issued to Kotaku about his sabbatical, calling it “out-of-bounds and inaccurate.” At the time, Benzies and Rockstar were in the midst of a “lengthy mediation” to find a middle ground, and Benzies disputes that he chose to leave:

“When attempting to resume his duties upon conclusion of his sabbatical on April 1, 2015, Mr. Benzies found himself unable to enter the Rockstar North office because his facilities access device had been deactivated. After being let inside by building security, Mr. Benzies was then ordered to leave by the Rockstar North office manager without reason.”

Since Benzies filed his lawsuit, Rockstar has countersued, claiming Benzies isn’t owed any additional money, due to breach of contract.

On March 23, 2015, Rockstar says Benzies sent a letter to the company asking for “exact financial parity with his co-Principals, prospectively and retroactively as of the Effective Date of the 2009 Royalty Plan.” In other words, he wanted to be on equal financial footing with the Housers.

On April 2, Benzies reportedly sent another letter asserting termination of his employment for “good reason,” in which the employee argues the employer has negatively impacted the employee’s ability to do their job. Alternatively, Benzies argued he’d been fired “without cause,” arguing he was due a compensation package involving royalties, even if he left.

Rockstar confirmed the group had been in mediation with Benzies, but negotiations were “unsuccessful” and disagreed with his “good reason” argument for leaving the company. Furthermore, Rockstar argued the royalty arrangement was such that Benzies was barred from even making the argument, as he had “no right to contest the royalty allocation” and even doing so was a “breach” of the plan he’d signed years ago.

The only way Benzies could be awarded the royalties he’s asking for, claims Rockstar, is by a group called the Allocation Committee, which includes Houser. “Sam Houser would have the sole authority to determine what, if any, royalty percentage should be allocated to Benzies,” reads the suit.

This lawsuit is a thorny situation, and it’s just getting started. We’ll be keeping an eye on it as it develops.

Top 5 Battleborn Heroes

The minds that brought you Borderlands are here with a new Hero-shooter, Battleborn. We’ve had the chance to go into 2K’s secret bunker in Windsor and take an exclusive sneek-peek at the game.

Cosplay Spilling into Daily Life?

Cosplay has been around for along time. Originally something done by the few, “costume play” has exploded in popularity to the point where it is an integral part of pop culture. Cosplay at comic cons, or any cons, nation and world wide is so popular that contest are setup and cosplayers are rewarded for creativity and ingenuity. Participants spend months preparing for events, meticulously designing, planning, sculpting, and refining their costumes. There are even fan pages on Facebook for specific cosplayers who can be hired to attend events and have achieved name recognition and some degree of fame. What is really interesting about Cosplay though is that it is now spilling over into daily life. A quick search on the popular crafters and handmade site Etsy shows hundreds of products made with cosplay themes but for regular daily life and I’m not talking about just t-shirts of your favorite characters either.

Imagine if you will, that you are in need of a new daily coat and you are fan of the BBC series Sherlock. Well you would be in luck be cause there is a company called theJacketMaker.com that offers you a real life, high quality peacoat almost exactly like that worn by the series lead Benedict Cumberbatch. Or if Sherlock isn’t your thing but the CW’s Green Arrow centric show ‘Arrow’ is you could just get a green hooded coat styled after the show. What if comics are you your thing either but video games like Assassin’s Creed is and you only need a hoodie? Well GeekHoodies.com has you covered!

Personally I think its a lot of fun to be a geek today. Having been a fan of comics from back when you could get beat up at school for it, its kinda nice to let your geek flag fly! Even areas where you wouldn’t expect cosplay to touch are being effects, and in a good way! Check out Etsy for business casual and formal gear and you can find custom Deadpool cuff links with matching tie bar, of course there are the normal custom ties, but how about custom high heels!?! Then at the other end of the spectrum like motorcycle gear you will find things like custom painted helmets such as this Spider-Man themed full face helmet on Etsy. UDreplica.com has line of themed motorcycle riding suits like this one based on the batsuit from The Dark Knight movie. And if a full riding suit isn’t quite you then you can hit up Weld Burn Masks and get a Punisher themed handmade motorcycle face mask.

Its an exciting time whether it is DC or Marvel, Comic or Anime, Movies or Video Games there is someone out there making something for your everyday life to help slake your cosplay passion between events!

Sleeping Dogs getting new DLC stories, packs in 2013

There will be two new stories and three packs available as DLC for Sleeping Dogs in the next three months, Square Enix announced today. Year of the Snake (which seems like a safe bet to assume is going to launch around the Lunar New Year) takes place with Shen returning to the Hong Kong Police

GODSANDHEROES

Rome Rising is a mature, full-scale, action-adventure, massively multiplayer online role-playing game that immerses the audience in Roman mythology.

Players strap on gladiator armor, lay waste to monsters and command minions while seeking favor from the gods.

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