It’s hard to avoid the topic of massive competitive online modes in gaming, with an increasing number of franchises exploring online pursuits for their newer games, but Take-Two Interactive appears to not be taking the battle royale bait. While Fortnite continues to dominate gamer hours, the parent company for Rockstar Games, famous for both their GTA and Red Dead properties, spoke to the topic at a web-streamed conference.
The long-awaited follow-up to Rockstar’s 2010 hit sequel, Red Dead Redemption 2 has been a special target in the discussion of AAA development gearing to increasingly expansive multiplayer modes. The original release had its own frequented online mode that allowed gamers to form “posses” or instanced groups to fight others in a duplication of the game map, which featured a max cap of 16 concurrent players. A far cry from the 100-player caps of Fortnite and Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, and much less structured, but it set the basis for GTA V’s extremely successful GTA Online deployment, itself capping at 30.
As reported by GameSpot, Take-Two’s president Karl Slatoff commented on the trend of games like Fortnite, praising them for spreading gaming to more players. Responding to whether Take-Two themselves are looking to enter the battle royale market in specific, Slatoff had this to say: “I think there is something to be said about being a fast follower in certain situations...But you can’t be a copy cat. You have to innovate.”
Slatoff continued to describe the growing number of copy-cat MOBAs that arose in the wake of the League of Legends phenomenon (itself a game patterned after Defense of the Ancients), but stressed the push for innovation within Take-Two’s game studios. Rather than be late-comers to established trends, the emphasis seems to be on new bellwethers like what Grand Theft Auto did to the world of gaming, especially with GTA 3.
Rockstar Games is a long-standing influence on open-world sandbox game design, so it would make sense that they wouldn’t rush into a mode or new IP focused on battle royale, although that hasn’t stopped Treyarch’s upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Slatoff’s remarks notwithstanding, GTA Online itself has indeed experimented with a competitive mode that is quite similar to games like PUBG - but on a smaller scale - with their Adversary mode "Motor Wars," added to the game in August of last year as part of the "Smuggler’s Run" update. Another Adversary mode called "Trap Door" released last week, but this one had its own wrinkle to the formula, with teams fighting against each other on a floating platform that shrinks throughout the match, forcing combatants to constantly engage one another with a variation on the “blue wall of death.”
Overall, it doesn’t sound like there will be a 100-player match on the streets of Los Santos or the old west prairie just yet.