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'Scotland cuts us out' - Rockstar North

Rockstar North boss Leslie Benzie gives rare interview

In an extremely rare interview, Rockstar North president Leslie Benzie has discussed his feeling of neglect from the Scottish government, which he says "seem to cut us out" when it comes to highlighting the country's success stories.

Considering GTA's massive cultural influence, notes The Times, it's strange that politicians committed to "a smart, successful Scotland" haven't come knocking at Rockstar North's door - the game is after all one of Britain's biggest exports.

"We'd love to help if we have time," president Leslie (you can only get away with that name if you're Scottish) told the paper. "But there are a number of agencies which actively seem to cut us out. There is this weird thing where people think Scotland is so innovative, but if you do anything truly innovative, you get beaten down."

Yesterday Rebellion boss Jason Kingsley called on Britain to "celebrate" GTA IV. "This is the world's biggest launch in the games market and the intellectual property is actually British made," he said.

"We've had such a beating over the past three years - by the American government, the British government, the Daily Mail," said Rockstar North boss Benzie.

Before DMA Design became Rockstar North, remembers Benzie, he had decided to leave the company. But new boss Sam Houser convinced him to stay by financing the team's move to Edinburgh. Why not move to Rockstar's head office in New York? "For the Weather," he says.

There is no sun. If I am abroad I can sit in the sun for a whole day and do nothing and feel great. If I sit outside here, I'm fidgeting after a couple of minutes. There are a lot of us here. This is our home."

Now that GTA IV's finally in the shops, Benzie says he's left with "a void" after living with the sequel for so long. "It is almost depressing," he said. "It's like somebody's gone from your life. A couple of weeks from now, I'll be fine.

"You've been working on the project for three-and-a-half years and you've given up all your friends. You've given up television. You do this nonstop. Up to the last four months, you're not sure it's going to gel. It is in those very last moments that it comes together. That's where the fear comes from. We spend our entire time just shaking and thinking: 'Is it going to work?'"