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Shaksaw

Rockstar Leeds Founder Gordon Hall Passes Away At 51

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In tragic news, Rockstar Leeds founder Gordon Hall has died at 51. Hall got his start in games in 1997, founding Möbius Entertainment. Möbius mainly developed Game Boy Advance titles, including a version of Max Payne that Rockstar Games published. Rockstar acquired Möbius Entertainment in 2004, rebranding the company under the Rockstar banner and becoming Rockstar Leeds.

Under Hall, Leeds focused on developing titles for the PlayStation Portable system. Notable games from the studio are several spinoff games in the Grand Theft Auto series. This included Liberty City Stories, Vice City Stories, and Chinatown Wars. Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories would inspire its spiritual successor, GTA: Chinatown Wars, another highly acclaimed title released in 2008. All of the games received high praise, with Chinatown Wars holding Metacritic’s highest DS title score. The studio won "Best Handheld Games Studio."

Outside of Leeds, Hall also worked at Rockstar’s San Diego studio, helping to ship 2010’s Red Dead Redemption. He would serve as president of Rockstar Leeds until his departure in 2012, going on a research-focused sabbatical. Gamesindustry.biz reports that the news of his death came from the Yorkshire development scene. No information is available about the cause of death at the time of this writing.

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"Gordon was simply brilliant to be around, incredibly motivating and ever positive. His pursuit of excellence was staggering and he formed a great, trusting bond with those who chose to work (hard) alongside him. As a close friend, he was truly inspirational and socially speaking a real energetic one-off who could endlessly entertain at the drop of a hat, holding everyone in the palm of his hand. Gordon will be very sadly missed," said Martyn Brown, business development at Five Aces Publishing and co-founder of Team17."
Hall researched player psychology and microtransaction strategy during his sabbatical before returning to games as a chief creative officer of Activision Blizzard Mobile in 2013. He would then join mobile-focused Activision subsidiary studio Blast Furnace that same year. However, the studio would close in 2014.

Hall’s contributions to the gaming industry, especially for mobile gaming, are substantial. Pushing the envelope for what mobile gaming could eventually become, he helped usher in the idea that mobile games could be anything else than a mediocre port. Furthermore, his legacy will be tied to the great games the studios he led produced.

Hall is survived by his son, James.

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