An official document released by Take-Two Interactive on 4th February has confirmed that Dan Houser, co-founder of Rockstar Games, will be leaving the company on 11th March 2020. No definitive reason has been given for his departure, although Rockstar's increasing focus towards the online portions of its games may be partly to blame.
Houser co-founded Rockstar Games in 1998, where we went on to work as a head writer and producer for most of the company's major titles. He strongly influenced the stories of the Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead franchises, as well as titles like Bully and Max Payne 3.
In recent years, the online modes in games like Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2 have taken priority over single-player, as evidenced by Rockstar's promise of story DLC that was never delivered upon. In December 2013, an official Rockstar blog post made the following statement:
"For those ready to jump back into the story of Grand Theft Auto V, we have big plans for substantial additions in 2014 continuing Michael, Franklin and Trevor's action, mayhem and unexpected adventures"
As established, Rockstar never released story DLC for GTA V. It generates more profit by keeping its online playerbases hooked than it would by producing more story content. This failure to follow up on the promise of story DLC can now be seen as an early indicator of the direction the company has increasingly followed over these last few years.
Houser's departure from Rockstar is a worrying sign for fans of Rockstar's stories. With a lead writer gone, it's even less likely that we'll see games from them with narratives on-par with Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto. It really does look like Rockstar is now an online games company above all else.