Take-Two Explains Why ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Red Dead Redemption’ And ‘Max Payne’ Are Not Released Every Year

Take-Two's Grand Theft Auto and other games

As much as we’d like to see a new Grand Theft Auto game every year, it probably won’t be worth it, quality-wise.

To make megahit games like Grand Theft Auto, Max Payneand Red Dead Redemption, lengthy development periods are required to assure a high-quality product.

“The market asks us, why don’t you annualize your titles? We think with the non-sports titles, we are better served to create anticipation and demand on the one hand, and on the other hand to have the highest quality titles on the market, and you can’t do that annually,” said Take-Two Interactive’s CEO Strauss Zelnick at an investor meeting.

Take-Two is a unique kind of video game publisher. Unlike Activision, which releases a new Call of Duty annually or Ubisoft with its yearly Assassin’s Creed, Take-Two’s non-sports franchises such as GTA, Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne have no set release dates every year or even every two years.

We can still continue to expect to see an NBA 2K or WWE 2K every year on the dot, but the publisher’s other titles are also due for a comeback. Grand Theft Auto V, for example, was first released in 2013 on last-generation consoles. The subsequent releases of the game have simply been ports for the PS4, Xbox One and PCs. Two years later when the industry is getting in a good swing with the latest-generation systems, it sure does seem like Rockstar Games’ (the developer of the GTA franchise) release of Grand Theft Auto VI is long overdue.

Unfortunately, Zelnick didn’t confirm anything in the investor meeting interview. However, if titles like GTA are on his mind, then hopefully there is something in the works he’s not revealing just yet. Moreover, Zelnick did go on further to say that Take-Two wants releases for such high-profile games to be “massive consumer events.”

Despite the big bucks Take-Two could be raking in every year if it did release its top ranking titles annually, the publisher also believes doing so could lead to a loss of quality and franchise fatigue. Those are the risks the company isn’t willing to take, holding firm to its three-year (on average) development cycle.