Sam Houser discusses how Rockstar Games looks to encourage its creative spark in exclusive Develop interview

Rockstar studio growth has been ‘pretty random’ admits Houser

In an exclusive interview with Develop, Rockstar Games’ president and founder Sam Houser has said he wants to limit any major growth of the controversial company’s development teams as otherwise they will lose their creative edge.

Houser was speaking in the first of series of profiles on each key award winners at this year’s Develop Awards 2008, where Rockstar took home the Visual Arts, Audio Accomplishment, Best In-House Studio and Grand Prix prizes.

When asked about the growth of the Rockstar Games, which in its ten years of business has expanded to include multiple teams in Canada, the USA and the UK, Houser described the expansion as "pretty random" with no major strategy behind it.

"When we found kindred spirits, or people we hoped could become kindred spirits, we tried to bring them into the family," he explained.

"We don’t want to get too much bigger in terms of teams, because the games need to have the personal touch and production values that are in them, and we can’t do that at a much bigger scale, but we will always look to work closely with excellent people when we come across them."

Houser co-founded Rockstar Games in December 1998, and emulated the business on a record label.

He explained: "Rockstar was built with the idea of consistency and quality that the best record labels embody, in which you associate a label with a quality and style. We understood early on what our goals were, whatever the product we were working on. A combination of accessible but innovative gameplay and high production values, with gameplay mechanics and settings we found appealing and unique. In this way, I think we have at least stuck close to what we set out to do. If we succeeded, well, that depends if people like the games or not.

"As an environment, all creative industries are unique, but games bear a somewhat closer resemblance to a combination of movie production and book publishing, I guess, but it is a mercifully unique environment. The team is the most important unit in game development and the size and diversity of personality types and skill sets is something unique to games and something we cherish at Rockstar."

Click here to read part one of the interview with Houser.

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