Rockstar Leeds founder Gordon Hall has died aged 51.
In 1997 Hall launched Game Boy Advance developer Möbius Entertainment, which became Rockstar Leeds after Take-Two purchased the studio in 2004. Rockstar Leeds went on to make PlayStation Portable games Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories, and Nintendo DS classic Chinatown Wars.
In 2009 Hall worked at Rockstar San Diego on Red Dead Redemption. After a sabbatical, he returned to games in 2012 to lead The Blast Furnace (what was once Activision Leeds), becoming chief creative officer at Activision Mobile in the process. Hall left The Blast Furnace and the games industry in 2015.
In the video below, the Art Institutes interviews Hall and two other Rockstar employees at SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans to offer advice on getting a job in games. At the time, Hall was Studio President for Rockstar Leeds and Rockstar San Diego.
In a tribute published by Game Republic, a website devoted to the games industry in the north of England, Martyn Brown of Five Aces Publishing LTD said Hall “was simply brilliant to be around, incredibly motivating and ever positive”.
“An absolute one-off for whom it all came naturally,” Brown added. “I saw many times first-hand how he worked with people and lifted their capabilities above and beyond, driving his team, project and company to unbelievable heights of success. 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.”
In a statement to the BBC, a Rockstar spokesperson said:
“We were very saddened to hear of the recent passing of Gordon Hall. During his time with us, Gordon helped create some truly amazing games and was instrumental in the creation of the classic, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. May he rest in peace. Our condolences go out to his family and friends for their loss.”
Hall is survived by his son, James.