Rockstar has now officially acknowledged the acqusition. “We are thrilled to have Ruffian join the Rockstar Games family,” said Sam Houser, founder of Rockstar Games. “The Ruffian team are a talented addition to Rockstar’s global studios, and we look forward to working together on future projects.”
The statement goes onto to note that the team is now up to “just over 40” and has experience that “includes some early Rockstar titles from the Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt series.”
Co-founders Gary Liddon and Billy Thomson will remain on-board as Co-Studio Directors of Rockstar Dundee. “We are incredibly excited to be joining the Rockstar team,” said Thomson. “Not only do we have the opportunity to work on some of the most successful entertainment properties in the world, but Rockstar’s investment in our studio is a great sign for the continued expansion of game development here in Scotland.”
It emerged yesterday, as spotted by The Gamer, that Ruffian Games was recently acquired by Rockstar and is to renamed Rockstar Dundee. The studio is best known for developing Crackdown 2.
No official announcement has come from Rockstar regarding the acquisition of the studio, which was pegged as having 27 staff in 2019. But it’s certainly happened, as attested by a change in details on its Companies House listing.
The studio was set up in 2008 by Gary ‘Gaz’ Liddon and Billy Thompson and consisted largely of ex-members of Realtime Worlds. That company was founded by David Jones, who was also a founder of DMA Design (Rockstar North’s precursor). Realtime Worlds folded after the failure of APB: All Points Bulletin, a massively multiplayer online title – which certainly aimed to be what GTA Online has become today – so everyone is on pretty familiar ground here.
A few days ago it put out a tweet saying that it was recruiting for staff to work on Rockstar titles, though that now looks to go way beyond work-for-hire outsourcing. In recent years the team has worked on both Crackdown 3 and the Master Chief Collection, as well as various Kinect-related titles.