Take-Two Says Frequent GTA Releases Would "Degrade" Franchise

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Take-Two Says Frequent GTA Releases Would "Degrade" Franchise

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Despite Call of Duty's success with the model, Take-Two Interactive doesn't believe regular releases are right for Grand Theft Auto.

Grand Theft Auto is one of those franchises that can set the standard for a gaming generation. That in mind, it's somewhat puzzling that the franchise hasn't seen more frequent releases. While Grand Theft Auto IV received substantial expansions, there hasn't been a full-fledged sequel since 2008 and the next game in the series, Grand Theft Auto V, won't hit store shelves until this September. According to Karl Slatoff, COO of Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive, this is somewhat by design.

"Oftentimes 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," said Slatoff, speaking at the Wedbush Transformational Technologies Conference. "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."

Slatoff's comments fly in the face of some of this generation's biggest success stories, namely the Call of Duty games. Beginning with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the Call of Duty franchise has seen new iterations coming almost annually, each reaching seemingly greater heights of success. That being said, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, despite breaking launch period sales records, actually sold fewer copies in the long run, lending some merit to Take-Two's concerns for its own games.

It's not as if there aren't examples outside of Call of Duty, either. It wasn't too long ago that music simulation games were all the rage, with new Guitar Hero and Rock Band games hitting store shelves on a regular basis. Fans soon grew tired of constant updates however, and the music game market came crashing down. Activision put a stop to new Guitar Hero games in 2011, and the last major Rock Band title was released the same year.

You can't really blame Take-Two for taking steps to avoid a similar fate, even if it means that, in the short term, its bottom line is a little smaller.

Source: GameSpot

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I imagine it's a bit difficult to stay fresh when other great games like Saint's Row and Just Cause with similar gameplay are also releasing in the same timeframe.

Kross:
I imagine it's a bit difficult to stay fresh when other great games like Saint's Row and Just Cause with similar gameplay are also releasing in the same timeframe.

Just Cause has more in common with Mercenaries than GTA, but I see what you mean (Mercs essentially was GTA with airstrikes and more combat vehicles).

The thing about GTA is that, at least for the console releases, they beat the competition for sheer content. San Andreas was gigantic, and while IV took it back to one city, they crammed that city with so much stuff.

2 years? It takes at least that long just to get all the grit, crack and hooker blood out of the carpets from the last release.

Kross:
I imagine it's a bit difficult to stay fresh when other great games like Saint's Row and Just Cause with similar gameplay are also releasing in the same timeframe.

Well at least it will help them maintain quality. Now they can put up a huge ass poster of SR3 with the caption: LESS WHACKY THAN.

That`s true to most series, yes AC I'm looking at you and how you you saturated me with "Ezio content"....

Milanezi:
That`s true to most series, yes AC I'm looking at you and how you you saturated me with "Ezio content"....

Damn. Ninja'd.

I like what they are saying. Games can get old quickly if there are many instalments too quickly. Look at AC. The second one felt fresh after the first one. It held its roots but was still different enough to feel like a fresh experience. Then Ezio just refused to go away. Brotherhood was good but nowhere near as good as II and felt more like an expansion pack than anything else. And Revelations. Revelations was tired and no where near as good as its predecessors. And ACIII. ACIII was trying to be the same while looking differnt. it just didn't work.

CoD works though. Its a multiplayer experince. You play it to play the same CoD you have before but with minor tweaks and maps. Though it would be nice if it tried to dracticlly change the formula again. Just because it can.

It's probably a wise move, and frankly I find it refreshing to see a publisher showing some restraint whilst still knowing, and giving, what people want.

Good. There's still some hope for the industry. If a few more publishers figure this one out, maybe things won't crash and burn quite as hard as the seem destined to.

There are two games that developers and publishers seem desperate to emulate COD and WOW. However doing this never ends well. It is good see that some publishers are starting to see through this.

So wait, in order to ensure the market for the game itself stays open as long as possible and the quality is as high as possible they're intentionally making slow releases, focusing on the bottom line?

That's weirdly intelligent for a major games company. If only more businesses could learn from that model.

That guy is 100% right. People are still buying and playing GTA games. They are true works of art. I view Houser brothers as Coen brothers of video game industry with a little bit of Tarantino mixed in.

Even though there's a lot of free roaming games these days, some of which are blatant GTA clones, GTA is still a very unique experience. And a part of the reason why it stays unique is the fact that they aren't rushing to release a new one every year. They know what they want and they're not afraid of bending a few rules and pissing off a lot of people in order to achieve their goals. GTA is a video game parody and criticism of the real world. And I can't wait to see what GTA V will be making fun of. But it's more than that. I think Rockstar really manages to capture the right atmosphere of the setting they're aiming for. Even though their cities are fictional versions of real life cities, they feel alive much more than cities in other free roaming games. The attention to detail in creating these worlds is extraordinary.

captcha: broken heart

How did you know? :(

I don't know? I'd take any one of last gen's GTAs over GTA4 and they came out about every other year. Not that I don't completely get what they're saying: I like AC & CoD but I don't buy every release. However, there are enough people who do buy the new one every year, enough to make it worth it to Ubi&Acti.

Also I wouldn't say GTA4 got "substantial expansions." It got a couple of overpriced mission packs. They didn't add an island or anything. Something like Borderlands' "General Knoxx," THATs a substantial expansion.

'Grand Theft Auto, every single time it comes out, is a brand new experience'

Well Liberty City did look shinier the fourth time I visited it.

Joking aside though, I completely agree, the only games I really still look forward to anymore is GTA. I know each one I play I am going to get lost in for a very long time. That kind of experience is worth the wait.

Kross:
I imagine it's a bit difficult to stay fresh when other great games like Saint's Row and Just Cause with similar gameplay are also releasing in the same timeframe.

For what it's worth, if they keep up the THQ pattern, Saints Row will kill itself under annual releases.

Actually, what I liked about SR2 vs GTAIV is that you really had two different approaches to the same thing.

That thing being specifically sandbox games, not the style.

DVS BSTrD:
2 years? It takes at least that long just to get all the grit, crack and hooker blood out of the carpets from the last release.

Kross:
I imagine it's a bit difficult to stay fresh when other great games like Saint's Row and Just Cause with similar gameplay are also releasing in the same timeframe.

Well at least it will help them maintain quality. Now they can put up a huge ass poster of SR3 with the caption: LESS WHACKY THAN.

Not to mention MORE CONTENT THAN.

I like how, years after GTA's last release, Volition could only reach a level of comparable visual quality by grossly shrinking their city and stripping content. Now, I'm not a graphics whore, but it still amuses me that in pushing for the "MOAR SHINIEZ!" they couldn't beat a 3 year old title without sacrificing the size and access of the city. Beating both shouldn't have been that hard.

The whackiness is actually secondary in my mind. At least I can reasonably expect a full title from Rockstar, whether it's a dating simulator or batshit insane.

Meh, GTA is good but in SR3 I could be a big-boobed clown who flies around a laser-machine-gun-mounted hover bike and blow up golf carts full of mascots. Much better than a whiny depressing Serb with an annoying accent.

Hell, I would probably pay for a version of GTAIV that just removed Roman and the final mission from the game entirely, and just make it a fun game.

They went from parodying Scorcese-esque crime dramas to badly mimicking Scorcese crime dramas. We'll see if V is any better.

Milanezi:
That`s true to most series, yes AC I'm looking at you and how you you saturated me with "Ezio content"....

Right. When I saw this headline, the first game series I thought of was AC, not COD. Sadly, with AC4 coming out at the end of this year, it's not just Ezio saturation we're having to deal with but AC saturation in general. Seriously, would even a little downtime between installments hurt?

I don't mind waiting this long for a new GTA game if it means we actually get something new and not just a slight variation on what we had before with a couple of new features tossed in. Incidentally, every two years is also the frequency with which Saints Row fans manage to have an independent thought...

this is awesome and one of the many reasons i love rockstar, i have to play the devil's advocate here in one regard.

the yearly call of duty games are actualy made bi-yearly, with an alternating release schedule between 2 seperate studios.

Rockstar /TakeTwo the last bastion of creativity in the big corperate world of the EA, Activisions.

And here we see the rare beast: the developer who has artistic integrity! Stray carefully around it.

People wonder why Rockstar is one of my favorite developers! This is why. They know that quality is better than quantity, and show it in their games.

There's little that I could say that hasn't been said already: Rockstar/Take Two are awesome, and understand how to make a good series rather than just one that makes money.

I'm honestly amazed that there's actually a large publisher in the games industry capable of looking to the long term benefits over short term profits. I'm rather shocked by the thought.

I completely hated GTA 4. I thought it was terrible in nearly every facet (the PC port was awful at launch) and that game alone basically ended any enthusiasm I had for the series. In fact, come to think of it, I haven't played a single "open world big city" game since then. Saints row, sleeping dogs, etc. None of them have even remotely appealed to me since GTA 4.

Maybe I also just kind of grew up and my tastes changed, I dunno.

Thank you Take Two. Yearly releases are why I gave up on CoD, AC, and Guitar Hero. A year is just not enough time to truly innovate a franchise and in all three cases I listed, stagnation becomes a major problem. In fact the only game in any of those franchises that seemed to innovate was AC3, but it was so bloated and misguided that game suffered severe issues as a result.

even when i gave up on this franchise since san andreas, its good to hear that at least some publishers do the right thing and take their time instead rushing things out the door.

GOOD. Finally someone with some fucking sense on this whole stupid yearly release bullshit.

I wish other Publishers would take heed.

But knowing Activision and EA this seems unlikely.

I respect prolonging development time to avoid shipping a product that's not ready, but to his speech, I have to say that the only time we've waited more than two years to get a GTA game was when the shittiest of them was made. All the way up to San Andreas (where I've always found each game to be more brilliant than the last), the development time was never over two years (barring a month maybe).

So no, frequent GTA games would not cheapen the franchise, crappy games would and have.

Im happy to read this statement.

I already had a deposit of 40 euros down on GTAV with gamestop when they announced the delay (i was dropping in a tenner a week) and i was actually fine with it, my money is still there and they are taking an extra few months to get the game right. Main Reason im cool with it is because i trust the brand, i trust the franchise, and i know that im going to get a very good product at the end of it.

unlike Aliens colonial marines *Cough*

lancar:
It's probably a wise move, and frankly I find it refreshing to see a publisher showing some restraint whilst still knowing, and giving, what people want.

I have the same sentiment. Taking the time for a proper new iteration gives a developer the breathing space to actually find out what the audience would like and building something that fits those qualities.

When looking at yearly releases, I wouldn't compare it with the cases of games like Call of Duty and Rock Band, which were just built on developers/publishers milking a profitable franchise (not laudable, but at the very least understandable). But even a celebrated franchise like Assassin's Creed hasn't been able to maintain the same level of quality over all its games with its yearly releases. No, I applaud Take Two for this.

Yeah I'm with everyone else on this.

Videogames are not movies or TV shows, you don't just pump out another "blockbuster" to sell, you craft videogames carefully.

Cause even with long amounts of development time, videogames can end up bad.

Can't wait for the corporate apologists to show up with their "economically viable" arguments.

Good lord, someone steal Assassin's Creed and deliver it to this man's door step in a moses basket.

Lovely Mixture:
Cause even with long amounts of development time, videogames can end up bad.

This is not actually the core of the issue. A game can objectively be good even if the development time is short. The problem is being fed up with the game. I love Assassin's Creed. But I find myself unable to enjoy it for a very long time. I just finish the story and I'm done with the game because I know the next one will be out soon. On consoles this leads to people selling their games and then publishers and developers are whining about used sales. On PC it leads to waiting for discount sales. Perhaps if they let us crave for the next installment like Rockstar, Bethesda and Valve, we would treasure these games and play them for years after they've been released.

And of course there is the quality factor that you mentioned.

Adam Jensen:

This is not actually the core of the issue. A game can objectively be good even if the development time is short.

Oh course, but it's the issue I focus on when frequent releases come into the picture.

Adam Jensen:

The problem is being fed up with the game. I love Assassin's Creed. But I find myself unable to enjoy it for a very long time. I just finish the story and I'm done with the game because I know the next one will be out soon.

On consoles this leads to people selling their games and then publishers and developers are whining about used sales. On PC it leads to waiting for discount sales. Perhaps if they let us crave for the next installment like Rockstar, Bethesda and Valve, we would treasure these games and play them for years after they've been released.

I don't think this is the core of the issue either though (but still a one of them).
People I know will play a game if it looks fun, and continue to play it after finishing if it still remains fun to them. I think some people wait for used sales and discounts regardless of the game series being involved.

Im very glad this is one of the few companies that still realize that it is better to release less but high quality than a ot of the same, even if there are enough idiots that keep buying the same stuff over and over and over and over again, like all those sports games.

Frankly I'm not complaining about the long space between releases. My friends and I still get a lot of fun out of GTA IV. They're good games, well polished with a long life. If it takes a long time between releases to maintain that then we can't really complain.

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