The studio, which has offices in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Los Angeles, California, does not have a name yet, though it could be one of these five that he incorporated recently. According to VentureBeat, Benzies opened it alongside other former GTA developers Colin Entwistle and Matthew Smith, and the studio now has around 30 people on staff and is hiring.
The studio’s first game is an ambitious-sounding project titled Everywhere. As its name suggests, the open-world game aims to allow players to go anywhere and do basically anything.
“Everywhere has a lot of traditional game mechanics, but we’re going for something more that draws inspiration from, well, everywhere,” Benzies told VentureBeat. “Players are getting smarter and require more from their games, and we want players to have the real freedom to live in our worlds in the ways they want to. We’re aiming to offer a huge variety of game modes and styles that not only tell our stories but also enable players to live in the identities and adventures they most want to explore.”
Smith added: “The game is about giving the player an enormous amount of freedom, with enough possibilities and just enough constraints to keep you constantly entertained and at the same time feel like you’re actively shaping the world around you, and living in a genuinely alternate reality.”
Benzies and his team are making Everywhere with Amazon’s Lumberyard engine. The game is coming to unspecified consoles, as well as PC. Benzies teased that people will be able to “engage with the game through other means, too.”
In an interview with Polygon, Benzies said Everywhere won’t be a copy of Grand Theft Auto.
“Everywhere is very different from GTA,” he said. “There may be parts of our game that include satire but the tone will be very different and at times our players will be in control of how the tone is set.”
Developer David OReilly, who worked on that cool video game from the movie Her, is also working on an open-ended game called Everything.
In January 2016, Rockstar confirmed that Benzies left Rockstar North, following a 17-month sabbatical. In April of that year, he sued Rockstar Games for $150 million in royalties and alleged that he was forced out. Rockstar parent company Take-Two, however, doesn’t see it that way.
The company said Benzies’ “significant performance and conduct issues” ultimately created a situation that led to his eventual resignation. Take-Two also said that his claims are “entirely without merit and in many instances downright bizarre.”
We’ll report back with more on the Benzies vs. Rockstar case as it becomes available.
As for GTA V, more than three years after its initial release, the open-world sandbox game continues to sell. In fact, it was the No. 6 overall best-selling game of the year in the US for 2016, while it remains a chart-topper in the UK as well.