It appears that one of Rockstar Games’ veteran writers is quietly leaving the studio after 16 years. According to his LinkedIn profile, writer Michael Unsworth–who worked on both Red Dead Redemption and its sequel, Red Dead Redemption 2–is leaving his “vice president of writing” post at the studio. The change to his LinkedIn profile was first pointed out by a GTAForums user.
Unsworth doesn’t have a Twitter presence, and hasn’t publicly shared his reason for leaving on LinkedIn, so fans of his work can only speculate on the reason behind his departure. The only notable details on Unsworth’s LinkedIn account are updates to both his work history and bio that reflect the change, with his bio now describing his time at Rockstar in the past-tense:
“Mike is an accomplished writer who spent over 16 years working for Rockstar Games as a creative lead on some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful video game franchises of all time, most notably Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption,” reads the updated bio section. “He has a deep understanding of interactive storytelling, character development and open-world game design and extensive experience building and managing creative teams.”
In addition to Read Dead Redemption and its sequel, Unsworth has also contributed to other Rockstar blockbusters, including GTA IV, GTA V, Max Payne 3, and L.A. Noire.
Neither Unsworth nor Rockstar have publicly commented on his departure, but Unsworth isn’t the only Rockstar veteran to leave the 24-year-old studio in recent years–Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies left in 2016. In 2020, Rockstar creative lead Dan Houser and GTA writer/producer Lazlow Jones both left the studio after working there for over 20 years. Rockstar did comment on Houser’s exit, with Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick saying “things couldn’t be better” at the studio in the wake of Houser’s exit, and stating that Rockstar did not expect any additional departures. After publisher Take-Two announced Houser’s exit in 2020, the company’s stock dropped by 7% (via VGC).
Rockstar is currently focused on the next entry in the Grand Theft Auto series. Little is known about the game aside from the contents of a massive leak that occurred last year, suggesting the game’s setting will be Vice City, the GTA universe’s take on Miami, Florida.