Rockstar’s critically-acclaimed 2010 Western epic Red Dead Redemption had a very troubled path to release, new emails from president Sam Houser have revealed.
Released as part of the evidence in former Rockstar North head Leslie Benzies’ lawsuit against his former employer – including the Houser brothers – the internal comms from 2009 uncovered by GameSpot show that the team struggled with major issues, including the game’s camera and visuals.
"This is a (recurring) nightmare," Sam Houser wrote in an email to Benzies in October 2009, referring to Red Dead Redemption. "But one i/we need to get out of. I have problems with the camera all over the place. So much so, that I can’t be rational or specific about it. The darkness!!!"
In another message, he wrote: “The ups and downs are VERY extreme. We have to fix this. Quickly. Help! I’m freaking!’"
Benzies’ lawyers released a statement alongside the emails highlighting what they believe to be proof that the dismissed Rockstar veteran was critical to Red Dead Redemption’s eventual success after turning it around and producing a demo for platform partners “within a few months” of joining the team.
“As Sam Houser himself recognised, the Houser brothers were incapable of completing large and complex games without Mr Benzies’ oversight, management, and skill in taking unwieldy designs and making an understandable, cohesive, and enjoyable game," the lawsuit says.
Indeed, Houser is shown seemingly calling for Benzies’ help specifically in one email.
“PLEASE help me/us get rdr into shape. I am a jabbering wreck right now," he writes. "I need The Benz!’"