DMA Design was created in 1988 by Dave Jones, Russell Kay, Steve Hammond and Mike Dailly in Dundee, Scotland. They partnered with the UK-based company Psygnosis, who would later create the Wipeout series, to make a number of 2D sidescrolling shooters, including Menace for the Amiga and Commodore 64.
DMA's major breakthrough was in 1990 with Lemmings, a 2D platformer. It was released on the Amiga, NES and Mac selling over 20 million copies. The years beyond this were spent creating many more Lemmings games, including Christmas special editions. In 1993, Psygnosis were bought out by Sony and this would start the beginning of their troubled relationship. DMA released Uniracers as their first game without Psygnosis shortly after. In 1994, DMA were asked by major console giant Nintendo to design a game for their upcoming Ultra 64 system, now known as the Nintendo 64. DMA designed a game called Body Harvest, however numerous changes were asked to be included in order appeal to the Japanese market. After many delays Nintendo dropped out of publishing the game, and Midway Games took over.
Grand Theft Auto
In the meantime DMA was releasing Grand Theft Auto on the PC while another developer ported it to the PlayStation. It used a number of ideas from Body Harvest, the 2D top down perspective and the ability to get into any car was a major focus. The game followed a character who would make his way up the criminal ranks in three fictional US cities. The game sparked controversy due to its display of violence; especially the British newspaper Daily Mail which said it should be banned. This controversy was likely a benefactor to the game's success.
After the success of Grand Theft Auto, DMA was bought by Gremlin interactive. During this time DMA put out two games, Body Harvest for the PC and Wild Metal Country. In 1999 Gremlin was bought out by Infogrames, complicating things for DMA as they had an existing deal with Sony. In the end Gremlin sold DMA to Take Two Interactive and the existing deal with Sony was called Rockstar Games. For the rest of the 1990s DMA released Wild Metal for the Dreamcast and Grand Theft Auto 2 for the PC and PlayStation.
In 2001 Rockstar Games released Grand Theft Auto III using Criterion's graphics middleware RenderWare on the PlayStation 2. The game became a huge success in the US and EU; because of this Sony signed a deal to keep the game exclusive. It was at this point that Rockstar bought DMA and changed their name to Rockstar North in 2002.
The following year would see the massive release of the PC version of Grand Theft Auto III and the release of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. In 2003 a port was made for Vice City and GTA 3 to Microsoft's Xbox and to the PC. The developer would then change and go a different route in 2003 releasing the hyper-violent Manhunt on PS2. The company then went back to GTA the following year releasing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to huge critical and commercial acclaim.
The time from 2004 was spent readying Rockstar North for the next generation of consoles with the release of GTA IV on the Xbox 360 and PS3 in April 2008. Rockstar North released The Lost and the Damned, as well as The Ballad of Gay Tony in 2009 as DLC packs for the Xbox 360. Both DLC packs were being released for the PlayStation 3 in the spring of 2010.
As of July 2010, Rockstar North is working on Agent, an exclusive for the PlayStation 3. Details about the game are scarce at this time.
Announced October 25, 2011, Rockstar North developed Grand Theft Auto V.