Grab your popcorn, this is going to get ugly
Court battles aren't uncommon in the world of video games, but this one looks to become an ugly one quickly. Former Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies has filed a $150 million lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive in unpaid royalties. Among the complains listed in the court filing, Benzies claims he was the victim of "numerous deceptions" that ultimately resulted in his dismissal from Rockstar. Take-Two claims otherwise, setting the stage for a Grand Theft Auto style court battle.
Benzies acknowledges his paid sabbatical in September 2014 to celebrate the success of Grand Theft Auto V, but things quickly turned sour. His lawyers wrote in a statement that Benzies "found himself unable to enter the Rockstar North office because his facilities access device had been deactivated." Take-Two claims otherwise, as CEO Strauss Zelnick stated in a conference call back in February that Benzies decided against coming back to work for Rockstar. Rockstar and Take-Two both claim he resigned "without Good Reason" in documents filed with the US District Court in southern New York.
Most of the legal battles we find ourselves watching tend to be trademark or patent disputes. Benzies and Take Two have set the stage to take video game-related legal battles to the next level, and we're not talking about Phoenix Wright. Take-Two and Rockstar have filed a complaing for declaratory judgment, claiming Benzies's suit for unpaid royalties goes against a royalty plan from 2009 that he was party to. Benzies obviously disagrees with his lawyers filing a suit for the money.