Rockstar Games sets up shop in Los Angeles with new studio

Fans of Grand Theft Auto have been anxiously following any updates from Rockstar Games in anticipation of further information regarding GTA 6. There is a glimmer of optimism in the distance, and anticipation for the next installment has been growing. The famed American game company is reportedly setting up a new studio in California, according to a recent job listing.


The purchase of Santa Monica-based Standard Deviation, a business that specializes in motion capture technology and software, is where the new firm got its start. Rockstar Games just revealed a homepage with the message: “Standard Deviation is now a part of Rockstar Games.”

Rockstar Games published a job listing for an electronics engineer not long after the takeover. An excerpt from the job description that read: “Rockstar Games is seeking an Electronics Engineer to join a team focused on designing and building cutting-edge hardware tools for motion capture and game production” caught the eye of Twitter user @morsmutual_ (who discovered this first). This is a permanent full-time role based out of Rockstar’s distinctive Santa Monica game production studio.

Since then, there has been a ton of conjecture on the internet about what the new studio may be working on. It’s highly likely that Rockstar Games is establishing a presence in Los Angeles as a tactical move to streamline the process of engaging actors, a significant portion of whom are concentrated in the entertainment hub of Hollywood. Given the strong likelihood that this studio is a rebranding of Standard Deviation and its stressed description as a “unique development studio,” it’s also possible that this studio is actually a rebranding of Standard Deviation.

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The timing of this transfer couldn’t be better, even though it’s unlikely that Rockstar already has a project in the works for the new studio. Game developers benefit from the fact that the ongoing actors strike and the restrictions imposed by SAG-AFTRA specifically state that the strike does not apply to commercial or video game activity.

GTA aficionados are well aware that Santa Monica and Los Angeles served as the inspiration for the cities of Del Perro and Los Santos, respectively, in GTA V. The new game, GTA 6, will, however, transport players back to Vice City, which is modeled after Miami, Florida, according to recent GTA 6 reports. In light of this, the majority of fans assume that the Santa Monica studio may eventually house the rumored Bully 2 or the follow-up to the 2011 detective-adventure game, L.A. Noire.

The latter seems to be the front-runner given that the original game’s interrogation gameplay utilized motion capture innovations and was set in Los Angeles. Players had to determine whether interviewees were telling the truth by observing their reactions.

Given that the development of L.A. Noire cost Rockstar Games significantly more than $50 million, making it one of the most expensive video games ever created, investing in a motion capture company and hiring engineers to design and build motion capture equipment for upcoming projects is just smart business.

L.A. Noire has sold over 7.5 million copies.

Currently, Rockstar Games has an international network of 11 subsidiary companies, including Rockstar San Diego, the Californian studio that gave rise to the Midnight Club franchise and arcade-style racing games.

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