As the first week of March comes to an end, it's time for a short round-up of news which has been circulating the web already this month. We've moved into the final 200 days block before the release of Grand Theft Auto V, and several interesting articles this past week regarding Rockstar and Take-Two have appeared, all of which tie in together quite well - hence the reasoning behind having one article dedicated to all of them.
Firstly, Take-Two's COO Karl Slatoff went on record this week stating that Grand Theft Auto will never be an annual - or more accurately, biennial (every two years) - release as it would "degrade series value":
"Often times people ask us 'Why don't you come out with Grand Theft Auto every two years?' To us, that doesn't make sense, because Grand Theft Auto, every single time it comes out, is a brand new experience. You can't possibly do that in two years. And if we did that, our product would fatigue and the franchise would degrade from a value perspective."
Rockstars' such as Leslie Benzies have echoed this previously, and I fully back them. This is not a series which sticks to one experience and concept, you only have to look at the huge leap, in every conceivable way, from San Andreas to GTA IV. This is not Call of Duty or The Sims - this is Grand Theft Auto; not only is the shear size of the game and feature set gigantic when compared to other games, but the sort of technology advancement and gameplay progression between each game is unparalleled.
Secondly, PAX East is exactly two weeks away, and considering Rockstar's track record of attending PAX East and offering exclusive hands-on previews - Red Dead Redemption (2010), L.A. Noire (2011), and Max Payne 3 (2012) - could we expect a similar case with Grand Theft Auto V? Lifestyle site Society & Religion has posted it's take on what marketing they believe is still to be completed prior to the games' release this September:
Two more trailers Official website updates
A second, more in-depth preview
Exclusive online previews that go in-depth on various features
All quite valid, and given Rockstar's track record with PAX as a whole, I wouldn't be at all surprised if a lucky few were given a preview of the upcoming game at the least. A trailer? Even better. If you're lucky to be attending, ensure to take it all in!
Thirdly, continuing on from Mr Slatoff's comments on Grand Theft Auto's release schedule, he also expressed Take-Two's interest in continuing to bring its "core gaming franchises to smartphones and tablets".
"As long as technology continues to evolve, we fully intend to bring our most most highly immersive new products to smartphones and tablets, assuming the platform can handle it."
The success of Rockstar's porting of GTA III, GTA Vice City and Max Payne over to Android and iOS devices has shown that this is welcomed from loyal fans and new fans alike. Considering you can grab yourself a copy of one of these classics for the same as a new version of Angry Birds, I think it's obvious that these are going to continue to sell extremely well. It's a brilliant concept, the games we know and love are reborn and exposed to new fans through news means. I can't speak for Take-Two's complete backlog, but Rockstar's alone is crawling with games which would be perfect on a mobile device.
Lastly, and possibly most exciting of all the news this past week, Mr Slatoff also had something to say about the future of Take-Two:
"Looking beyond 2013, with Grand Theft Auto V launching on September 17th, fiscal 2014 should be one of the best years ever for the company with substantial revenue and earnings growth. [..] And we also have an extensive pipeline of unannounced titles in development which you are going to hear about in the future months.”
With Grand Theft Auto V on the horizon, it's easy to forget that there is still plenty of development going on at Rockstar on another projects. What is happening with Agent? We haven't heard about it since mid-year 2011 when there were doubts over it remaining PS3-exclusive, which it would be safe to say could be true at this point, with PS4 being announced. Plus, Dan Houser expressed interest in a sequel to Bully following Max Payne 3. Considering Rockstar Vancouver, who developed both Bully and Max Payne 3, recently merged with Rockstar Toronto, as I said at the time: I feel this could mean the sequel is at least in the pipeline, if not already in development. There is also Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire which have been huge hits for Rockstar and have fans crying out for future sequels. At this point, anything is possible; and as we settle into a year filled to the brim with Grand Theft Auto V, there is no doubt that Rockstar will also be preparing for some future surprises.