A former Grand Theft Auto producer has raised millions to create a science-fiction game that could compete directly with Grand Theft Auto 6. Former Rockstar Games North President Leslie Benzies secured $41 million in funding to develop his independent studio’s debut project: Everywhere.
The Telegraph reported Tuesday that Benzies’ studio, Build a Rocket Boy Games, has gathered a number of deep-pocketed investors to fund the sci-fi open-world adventure that has only been teased through cryptic website updates thus far. But now, this slightly nerdier GTA alternative could create a turf war with GTA 6.
Build a Rocket Boy Games seems to be taking a markedly different approach to development compared to Rockstar (which is owned by video game holding company Take-Two Interactive). Instead of being beholden to its investors, the developer will apparently look to gamers to shape its future.
The game’s landing page touts that players are going to be an “integral” part of the game’s creation.
The website offers only vague details about what exactly Everywhere will be about, where it will take place, or when gamers should expect to even see a trailer. But while Benzies’ brainchild seems to be nothing more than a concept, for now, his vision for the eventual sandbox title does highlight a gripe that GTA fans have had with Rockstar and Take-Two: a shameless amount of bureaucratic obligation.
GTA 5 was released in 2013 and has been nothing short of a goldmine over the past seven years. The game has sold more than 130 million copies as of 2020 and its community around GTA Online is still booming. GTA 5 has been so successful that Take-Two and Rockstar have decided to re-release the 2013 title on next-generation consoles instead of teasing GTA 6. That was a move that might have pleased investors but disappointed fans.
Following GTA 5‘s next-gen announcement, players took to game forums across the internet to complain about how long Rockstar and Take-Two have been “milking” GTA 5.
The game continues to rake in profits from its player base long after selling more than 120 million copies. Benzies seems acutely aware of this sentiment and is trying to reach these disgruntled gamers to start his own fandom for Everywhere.
The game’s mysterious description even sounds like it’s calling itself a force that will rock Take-Two’s boat.
It’s a game. It’s a community. It’s a new world. The storm is on the horizon. And it is only the beginning of EVERYWHERE.
Plus, Benzies’ tainted past with Rockstar and its holding company makes Everywhere‘s description even more passive-aggressive. The GTA producer and Rockstar had a very public break-up back in 2016 followed by a contentious legal battle over what Benzies said was $150 million worth of unpaid royalties.
Build a Rocket Boy has years of work to put in before it delivers an open-world experience that even comes close to GTA 5 or 6. The developer has dozens of open job positions across its two offices in Edinburgh, Scotland and Budapest, Hungary. The newfound funding will surely help to fill these roles. On top of that, ex-Rockstar developers Matthew Smith and Colin Entwistle are also involved with the production. But it could be Benzies’ vision and leadership that could turn Everywhere into the GTA competition it’s billed as.
The producer was a pivotal member of Rockstar during the 2001 release of GTA 3 that effectively made the open-world genre into what it is today. It’s too early to say if Everywhere will even come close to standing up to the 23-year legacy of GTA, but Benzies’ idea of giving gamers more creative control over the virtual world is certainly turning heads and opening wallets already.
Regardless of when these two games are released, Everywhere already feels like a direct competitor to GTA 6.
Everywhere is in development with no release date.