In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Strauss Zelnick, CEO at Take-Two Interactive, has admitted that the eight-year wait for Red Dead Redemption 2 was perhaps a bit too long and that the publisher anticipates gaps between releases in existing franchises moving forward.
“I don’t see it expanding further,” Zelnick said in regards to the development process. “In fact, I would expect in many instances it may compress. I think you’re right in that our ability to engage with consumers on an ongoing basis has [resulted in] some less pressure on getting to market with an all-new title.”
However, the CEO also thinks that “building anticipation is a good thing,” as proved by how successful Rockstar Games titles have been lately, and for how long. He added that “I was a real outlier 12 years ago when we said we don’t think it makes sense to annualize non-sports titles, and now most people would agree.”
With that said, the “eight years [wait] is probably too long,” even for a game like Red Dead Redemption 2, and the label is doing the proper work to avoid this from happening again. One trick Rockstar could use moving forward is building shorter stories for titles at launch and then adding upon their base with the post-release support, which is something Rockstar has been doing with GTA V.
“It’s possible that games may be a bit shorter than they were in certain instances,” Zelnick said, and it’s not a case since RDR2 has a 60+ hour storyline. “It’s possible that the ability to deliver content on an ongoing basis for a long time after an initial release of a hit would mean that perhaps that initial release wouldn’t be as long in terms of number of hours of gameplay as previously had been demanded in a world where that was all you were getting.”
So, could this mean that GTA VI could be shipping earlier than anticipated? We don’t know, and maybe it’s too late to say that the game could be coming earlier since we’re already six years into GTA V post-release support. Other franchises like BioShock are missing in action, so Take-Two has to do something if it wants to take advantage of its larger titles.