Rockstar Games may speed up its game release cadence to appease parent company Take-Two Interactive's desire for accelerated launches.
According to reports from Rockstar Games aficionado YouTuber SWEGTA, Take-Two is pressuring Rockstar Games to release their games at a faster rate. "Take-Two is reportedly pressuring Rockstar Games to return to their more frequent game release schedule. Although this probably would be bad for bigger franchises like GTA and Red Dead, it could incentivize them to continue focusing on much smaller titles like Bully and Manhunt," SWEGTA said on Twitter.
This pretty much goes against everything Take-Two stands for, at least when it comes to Rockstar's titles. The publisher has repeatedly given Rockstar lots of flexibility and freedom--for instance, Red Dead Redemption 2 was delayed twice--and Take-Two understands that rushing projects only hurts them in the long run.
"All of our labels are focused on releasing the title when they reach that apex of effort and perfection," Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said in an early 2018 investors call.
Outside of annualized sports games like NBA 2K, Rockstar Games is pretty much Take-Two's big breadwinner. The publisher has good reason to let the devs pretty much do whatever they want. Not only are their games sales revenue juggernauts, but the online components ensure long-term earnings via microtransactions--especially with GTA Online, which regularly contributes hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
Here's some figures that show just how important Rockstar is to Take-Two Interactive:
- GTA V has sold more than 115 million copies worldwide
- GTA Online made over $1 billion in 4 years
- GTA V was in the top U.S. sales charts for 74 consecutive months since release
- GTA V is the best-selling game of the last decade
- GTA V made more than $500 million in 2019
- Red Dead Redemption 2 made $725 million in 3 days
- Red Dead Redemption 2 sold 23 million copies in five months, was the best-selling game in 2018
And honestly there hasn't been a huge void in Rockstar's recent timelines (although it's markedly slower-paced than previous generations). Over the last decade Rockstar has launched a game every 4-5 years or so.
- Red Dead Redemption - 2010
- L.A. Noire - 2011
- Max Payne 3 - 2012
- GTA V - 2013
- Red Dead Redemption 2 - 2018
The cadence is a lot slower than Rockstar's 2000s era for sure, which looked like this:
- GTA III - 2001
- Max Payne - 2001
- GTA Vice City - 2002
- Manhunt - 2003
- Max Payne 2 -2003
- Midnight Club II - 2003
- Read Dead Revolver - 2004
- GTA San Andreas - 2004
- Midnight Club 3 - 2005
- The Warriors - 2005
- Bully - 2006
- Manhunt 2 - 2007
- GTA IV - 2008
There's some evidence Rockstar could be working on multiple titles. First there's a bunch of Bully 2 rumors and info floating around, but apparently Rockstar gave up on Bully 2 after two years of development.
Then there's Grand Theft Auto 6, which has been teased repeatedly by Take-Two Interactive.
We could also see smaller and more original games fill the gaps in between releases, similar to passion projects like The Warriors, Bully, and the Manhunt series. Rockstar recently conscripted indie studio Ruffian Games to help work on unannounced projects.
Whatever Rockstar is working on next, I doubt Take-Two is pressuring them at all. The company has a lot of moving parts right now and a lot of games are in the works.
Take-Two just recently announced a new BioShock sequel, and plans to re-release the BioShock franchise on Switch. There's Private Division, a new indie label that published The Outer Worlds, annualized sports game like NBA 2K, Social Point mobile gaming, and the new 2K Games studio led by Michael Condrey.
And that's all the stuff we know about. There's probably a lot more that's under wraps, and not all of it has to do with Rockstar Games.
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