Ex-Rockstar Lead Devs Announce New IP Universes

The logo for Absurd Ventures, one of the new studios from ex-Rockstar devs, which has today announced its first two IP universes.

Ex-Rockstar Games producer and Grand Theft Auto writer Dan Houser’s new outfit, Absurd Ventures, has revealed its first two “universes.” The team’s plan is to expand both IPs to “a wide range of formats and platforms,” but both are starting off fairly modestly.

The first of the two IPs is called American Caper, and it sounds right up Houser’s alley as a satirical commentary of American life. Debuting as a graphic novel illustrated by Simon Bisley (Heavy Metal Dredd, Batman: Black & White). The story follows “two normal, badly damaged American families in a world of corrupt business, inept politics, and bungling crime.”

For the launch of its other IP, A Better Paradise, Absurd Ventures has partnered with prolific podcasting company QCODE Media to develop it as a 12-episode audio fiction series. The premise for that project is far simpler, described only as “an existential suspense thriller, set in the near future.”

Both of these projects are set to launch in 2024. According to Houser, these first two universes “represent [Absurd Ventures’] approach to storytelling and media. These initial releases will allow us to introduce these universes at the same time as we are working on other iterations and expansions. This is just the beginning.”

Beyond Houser, Absurd Ventures is home to several formerly high-ranking staffers from Rockstar Games, including recurring GTA DJ and writer Lazlow Jones and Red Dead Redemption co-writer Michael Unsworth.

And it’s not the only ambitious project from Rockstar alumni. Former Rockstar North president Leslie Benzies is also heading a new team, Build a Rocket Boy Games, which is working on Everywhere, which is both a game and a platform for users to build their own experiences, a la Roblox.

Meanwhile, Rockstar itself is set to unveil the next, long-awaited entry in the GTA series at some point in December. Make sure to check back for the latest on all of these projects.

About the author

Damien Lawardorn
Editor and Contributor of The Escapist: Damien Lawardorn has been writing about video games since 2010, including a 1.5 year period as Editor-in-Chief of Only Single Player. He’s also an emerging fiction writer, with a Bachelor of Arts with Media & Writing and English majors. His coverage ranges from news to feature interviews to analysis of video games, literature, and sometimes wider industry trends and other media. His particular interest lies in narrative, so it should come as little surprise that his favorite genres include adventures and RPGs, though he’ll readily dabble in anything that sounds interesting.