In the world of video games, some AAA franchises pump out titles like clockwork. Every year a new Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, or NBA 2K installment hits shelves, that keeps these series at the forefront of gamer’s minds. However, not every major game developer operates in such a manner.
According to Gamespot, Take-Two has a specific business model predicated on long development cycles in between games. This approach has the effect of not only giving developers more time to create the best possible product, but making it so that the market does not become overly saturated with GTA or Red Dead titles. Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick elaborated on the tendency towards this strategy:
“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 to rest the title and on the other hand to have the highest quality in the market, which takes time. You can’t do that annually.”
Boiled down to a basic idiom: it’s all quality over quantity. Spacing out installments of beloved franchises creates a sense of fan anticipation, turning release dates for GTA or Red Dead games into major industry events. The decision also gives developers more time to fine tune these games under the hood, which prevents the possibility these titles being plagued by glitches or technical issues — something that the Assassin’s Creed franchise has become particularly notorious for.
Their results seemingly speak for themselves. Rockstar Games has consistently produced some of the strongest games in the industry during recent years, with very few missteps. This track record even extends beyond the GTA and Red Dead franchises; games such as The Warriors, Manhunt, and the Max Payne franchise have all gone on to achieve cult status among gamers.
That being said, Take-Two still engages in annual production of sports titles. The aforementioned NBA 2K series remains a high seller for them, proving that — in some form or another — annualized games are here to stay.