GTA 5 publisher Rockstar Games buys Crackdown 2 studio

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GTA publisher Rockstar has acquired Ruffian Games, according to a report published by TheGamer.com on Monday.

Ruffian was originally founded by a trio of industry veterans in Dundee, Scotland, in 2008. The studio led development of Microsoft’s Crackdown 2 a decade ago and, in more recent years, has been working with Rockstar.

The developer also ported Halo: Reach to the Master Chief Collection.

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Rockstar has rebranded Ruffian with the new moniker Rockstar Dundee, in keeping with company tradition. Almost one year ago exactly, the studio announced it was hiring engineers to assist with the development of “unspecified titles for Rockstar Games.”

The company filed a certificate of incorporation to have the name changed to Rockstar Dundee as recently as October 6, along with an authorization form granting Take-Two Interactive “significant control.”

Back in April, Kotaku published a story about Rockstar’s labor practices that said the publisher was, unsurprisingly, at work on “a new entry in the Grand Theft Auto series.”

The company’s plan “is to start out with a moderately sized release,” according to the report, “that is then expanded with regular updates over time, which may help mitigate stress and crunch.”

GTA 5’s claim to fame is that it’s the most lucrative entertainment product in history, but the studio’s culture of nightmarish overtime became something of a scandal in the lead-up to Red Dead Redemption 2’s release in 2018.

At the time, sources within Rockstar claimed to be working 60-hour weeks pretty regularly, including nights and weekends. Internally, Rockstar execs pledged to do better.

By April of 2020, Kotaku wrote that the culture within the studio had indeed begun to improve for the better.