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Former Rockstar Dev Shut Down Blog Because It Annoyed “Old Colleagues”

Former Rockstar Dev Shut Down Blog Because It Annoyed “Old Colleagues”

On November 11, Obbe Vermeij, former Rockstar developer announced that he had started a blog to talk about his time at Rockstar North. However, less than 2 weeks after the announcement, he has now shut the blog. He also put out a tweet to address a false assumption by Kotaku.

Former Rockstar Dev Shut Down Blog Because It Annoyed “Old Colleagues”

“The Kotaku article is not accurate,” Vermeij wrote on X. “I took the blog down because it seemed to annoy my old colleagues at Rockstar North. There was no contact with R* New York. No legal threat. No silencing. Everybody, please calm down.”

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Earlier this week, the former Rockstar technical director shared details about some of the games canceled by the studio including the spy game titled Agent. He also talked about a zombie game that was abandoned by the company after they adjudged it too “depressing”, and more.

Former Rockstar dev may have spilled “too much info”

Former Rockstar Dev Shut Down Blog Because It Annoyed “Old Colleagues”

The former technical director spent 14 years with Rockstar North before parting ways with the company in 2009. According to Vermeij, the initial plan was to split Rockstar North into two teams, with half working on GTA 4 while the other half worked on Agent, which was codenamed Jimmy.

“It was a James Bond game and Jimmy is the Scottish version of James,” Vermeij wrote. “The game was to be set in the 70s, and be more linear than GTA with a number of locations. There was a French Mediterranean city, a Swiss ski resort, Cairo, and at the end, there would be a big shoutout with lasers in space.”

Vermeij recalled working on Agent for over a year before Rockstar decided to move its priority to the development of GTA 4. Part of the reason for that decision was that the game was not progressing as the company had hoped.

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“We tried to cut the game down in an attempt to get the bulk of it done before the inevitable call from [Rockstar New York] would come. We cut out an entire level (I think Cairo) and maybe even the space section. It became clear that Jimmy was going to be too much of a distraction for us and we ditched it. I think it was handed over to another company within R* but never got completed.”

Obbe Vermeij, former Rockstar technical director

Rockstar abandoned the Agent trademark in 2018. By 2021, the company pulled down the game’s website. Vermeij also spoke about another canceled project that was to use GTA Vice City engine repurposed to make a zombie game set on a remote island in Scotland. It wasn’t long before Vermeij received an email from Rockstar.

Was Rockstar’s email to Vermeij misinterpreted?

Former Rockstar Dev Shut Down Blog Because It Annoyed “Old Colleagues”

The last message that Vermeij shared did not talk about his time at Rockstar. Rather, it was about an email he received from Rockstar North. The short blog post read:

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“Today (22 Nov 2023) I got an email from R*North. Apparently, some of the OG’s there are upset by my blog. I genuinely didn’t think anyone would mind me talking about 20 years ago games but I was wrong. Something about ruining the Rockstar mystique or something. Anyway, this blog isn’t important to me to piss off my former colleagues in Edinburgh so I’m winding it down. I’ll maybe just leave a few articles with anecdotes that don’t affect anyone but me. I would love for Rockstar to open up about development of the trilogy themselves, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon. Maybe I’ll try again in a decade or two.”

Obbe Vermeij, former Rockstar technical director

At the time of writing this post, the entire blog had been taken down. Perhaps, Vermeij decided against leaving any post at all. Some media outlets insinuated that he must have been pressured to take the blog down. However, Vermeij has insisted that he did it out of his own volition.

Although the website is now defunct, the posts from the website were thankfully archived by Nadir (@Oddnadir) and you can find them here. What I find hard to understand is why Rockstar frowns at an ex-employee talking about something that happened two decades ago—unless they plan to revisit the IP sometime in the future.

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