In a surprise move, Mike Unsworth, Rockstar Games’ Vice President of Writing, has decided to step down from his post after a decade and a half stint with the notable studio. Originally noticed by community member Rucke in the GTAForums and then retweeted by SWEGTA’s Rockstar news Twitter account, Unsworth’s LinkedIn profile showcased the unexpected shift.
Unsworth’s distinguished work at Rockstar reflects his passion for providing an intricate narrative perspective to video games. During his 16-year tenure, he left an indelible mark on the company’s growth, having written for Grand Theft Auto 4 and 5, Red Dead Redemption 1 and 2, LA Noire, and Max Payne 3.
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Unsworth’s departure follows the pattern of Rockstar’s attrition, mirroring the exit of the studio’s co-founder Dan Houser, with whom he closely collaborated on the renowned 2018 Rockstar release, Red Dead Redemption 2.
Rockstar is yet to release a statement on Unsworth’s departure or reveal whether it will impact the Grand Theft Auto 6’s much-anticipated launch in 2025. Although Unsworth’s departure might not directly influence GTA 6’s narrative development, which is purportedly near completion, the possibility of potential plot modifications could upset the production timeline.
The loss of such a veteran writer has fostered anxieties among ardent fans, who worry about the quality of dialogue and narrative structure in GTA 6’s future DLCs. Unsworth, who has consistently delivered top-notch narratives in his previous GTA titles, was influential in moulding the iconic dialogues within the iconic series.
Unsworth’s departure also sparks intrigue regarding his next venture. His LinkedIn profile has not been updated with a new affiliation, suggesting that the exit may have been recent. His profile contains a commendable list of writing credits, including Rockstar’s principal titles over the last decade and a half.
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He began at Rockstar in 2007 as a Senior Creative Writer, ascending to the role of Writing Director in 2019 and eventually became Vice President of Writing in 2021. His distinct voice found its way into various game characters, including GTA IV’s pedestrian dialogues and even a commercial.
In reviewing Unsworth’s career at Rockstar, his contribution covers an impressive slate of titles:
- Grand Theft Auto IV
- Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad Of Gay Tony
- Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned
- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
- Midnight Club Los Angeles
- Red Dead Redemption
- Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
- Max Payne 3
- L.A. Noire
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Grand Theft Auto: Online
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Red Dead Online
His exit reflects a larger shift in Rockstar, which has seen a string of high-profile departures, including Leslie Benzies in 2016, Lazlow in August 2020, and co-founder Dan Houser in March 2020.
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Parallel to this, BioWare, another giant in the gaming industry, has recently released Lukas Kristjanson and Mary Kirby, the lead writers behind Baldur’s Gate 1,2 and the Dragon Age series, respectively. The move is part of BioWare’s major cutbacks, which will see a reduction of nearly 20% of its workforce.
Unsworth’s departure from Rockstar marks the end of an era. His storytelling has been instrumental in shaping some of the most distinctive narratives in the gaming world. As we bid adieu to this prolific writer, his legacy will undoubtedly continue to resonate in Rockstar’s corridors and amongst its global player base.
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