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Rockstar Leeds Founder Gordon Hall Dies

Founder of Rockstar Leeds and one of the developers behind many popular handheld ports, Gordon Hall, has died at 51. As of now, no cause of death has been reported. Gamesindustry.biz reported the news on March 11, 2021. He's survived by his son, James.


Friends, fans, and gaming groups took to Twitter to offer condolences. The official Twitter account for Leeds Games Toast, a meet-up for the developers at Rockstar Leeds, mentioned that Hall "never failed to make an impression on those he met, and was always the first to offer help to others." 

Many friends remembered his ability to make everyone around him laugh, and a statement from close friend and colleague Martyn Brown beautifully described his personality: "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."

Hall made his mark on the gaming industry when he founded Mobius Entertainment in 1997, a development group that focused on handheld ports since the era of the Game Boy Color. The group attracted the attention of Take-Two Interactive (the parent company of Rockstar Games) in 2003, when it was contracted to create a Game Boy Advance port of Max Payne, a fan favorite that gamers want to make a comeback. The port was praised by critics because of how well it kept elements from the original game, despite being ported to a device that didn't have nearly the processing capability of a console. The group did so well with the port that Rockstar Games bought the Mobius Entertainment, completing its transformation into Rockstar Leeds. Rockstar Leeds continued to work on handheld games, helping with the development of the GTA handheld titles like Chinatown Wars and Vice City Stories. It also created the port for L.A. Noire and plenty of other Rockstar games.


Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars brought the series to a different level on handheld devices. It was the highest ranked DS game on Metacritic the year in 2009, the year it was released. While it's not looked on by everyone as a favorite in the series, many dedicated fans who talked about their love of Chinatown Wars when responding to the news of Hall's death.

In 2011, after working on such titles as L.A. Noire and Red Dead Redemption, Hall stepped away from Rockstar Leeds and spent time researching the psychology of gamers and the science behind microtransactions. After two years, he joined the team at Activision Blizzard Mobile as its Chief Creative Officer. Hall departed from the games industry altogether in 2015, but he left an indelible mark on the games industry. Many friends and colleagues have shared their fond memories of Gordon Hall in a memorial piece by Game Republic.