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Absurd Ventures By Rockstar Games Co-Founder Dan Houser Will Do More Than Produce Games

Absurd Ventures founder

Dan Houser, co-founder of Rockstar Games who also formerly held the position of creative director and lead writer for games like Bully, Red Dead Redemption, and GTA 5 has launched a new company called Absurd Ventures. Houser co-founded Rockstar with his brother Sam Houser, Gary Foreman, Terry Donovan, and Jamie King in 1998.

Absurd Ventures logo

We are careful not to call Absurd Ventures a studio because producing video games is just one of the many things that the new company will do. The new intellectual property will build characters, stories, and worlds across diverse mediums.

Houser left Rockstar Games in 2020 which explains why his sudden reemergence in the gaming scene has created a buzz. Absurd Ventures has the tagline “Storytelling. Philanthropy. Ultraviolence.” that summarizes all the different services the company plans to render.

Geoff Keighley, the founder of The Game Awards, tweeted about the new company. Keighley quoted a press release that said: “[Absurd is] building narrative worlds, creating characters, and writing stories for a diverse variety of genres, without regard to medium, to be produced for live-action and animation; video games and other interactive content; books, graphic novels, and scripted podcasts.”

The Santa Monica-based company has a small team of employees. Absurd Ventures will unveil its financing and investment partners at a later date said Houser’s spokesman. The company’s website and social media channels went live on Thursday, June 15, 2023.

The company posted a cryptic video on their YouTube channel which seemed to showcase different types of entertainment with occasional questions displayed as texts throughout the video. At the time of this report, the video has garnered more than 3,000 views.

Houser is living the best of his life

Dan Houser, founder of Absurd Ventures
Dan Houser, founder of Absurd Ventures

In an interview published in Vulture in 2018, Houser said, “We were working 100-hour weeks” to polish, rewrite, and re-edit Red Dead Redemption 2, emphasizing the hard work that Rockstar does in its games. Apparently, that experience was the reason why he took extended leave before finally exiting Rockstar.

Although Absurd Ventures was officially announced on June 15, 2023, it was first incorporated in the United States and the United Kingdom on June 23, 2021. Perhaps, the reason for the two-year delay in announcing Absurd Ventures was that foundation was being laid behind the scene.

Reports have it that since Absurd Ventures was incorporated, Houser has been living the best of his life. Gamespot reported that Houser and his wife Krystyna Jakubiak recently acquired a mansion in Los Angeles, California for $8.5 million.

Data from Yahoo Finance shows that Rockstar’s value dipped to $800 million after Houser announced his exit from the company. His brother Sam remains the president of Rockstar.

The sudden rise in the trend of developers breaking away to start new studios

Earlier this month we reported that some CD Projekt Red developers—the studio behind The Witcher— left the company to start a new studio called Blank. The new studio promised to give ownership to the entire team rather than one person. Also, the team said they wanted to improve the work-life balance of their staff.

Part of the things that Houser pointed out in his 2018 interview before exiting Rockstar was the long working hours. Perhaps, the emergence of Absurd Ventures and Blank is a subtle cry for help—or protest—from game developers.

While gamers enjoy long hours of game content, it is easy to forget the time put in by the team behind the curtain to bring the game to life—sometimes at the detriment of their work-life balance. Perhaps, launching a studio is the only way they believe they can get a breather.

At a time when Hollywood is turning to video game IP for adaptation and guidance on how to nurture massive franchises over many years, the breakaway by developers to start their own companies may be a way of preparing themselves to key into the boom.

Do you see Absurd Venture becoming a rival to Rockstar Games in the near future? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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