In some of its first public comments since the announcement that Grand Theft Auto 5 would be delayed, the game’s publisher, Take-Two Interactive, has came out in defense of its long development cycle. Take-Two also defended the general length of time that elapses between each instalment of the series, saying it was by design and not about to change any time soon.
“Often times people ask us ‘Why don’t you come out with Grand Theft Auto every two years?’”, Take-Two COO Karl Slatoff said at a recent technology conference. “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 possible do that in two years. And if we did that, our product would fatigue and the franchise would degrade from a value perspective.”
Now, for fans this can be seen as a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it’s understandable and even noble that Rockstar and Take-Two aren’t going down the road of selling out their series by churning out sequel after sequel, and releasing successive games that do little more than splash a new coat of paint on an old formula. It is arguable this has happened with many big series of late and I’m sure everyone recalls all the Call of Duty debate/hoopla that occurs every single time a new COD game is released. Indeed, Take-Two and Rockstar could surely pump out a GTA game every year or two and see continued strong sales
That said, TTWO themselves admit that by having such a long period of time in between releases is also self-serving in that preventing franchise fatigue keeps the demand for the next game higher, and ensures they’re getting a maximum return in sales on each investment.
However, for fans who burn through the upcoming GTA V in record time, there’s little comfort to be taken in knowing they have a five year wait for the next game in the series to be released! By anyone’s standards that has to be seen as a little excessive. After all, is the jump in progress of each game of the series not arbitrary then when there’s such a lengthy period of time between them? It can’t be that difficult to make a game far more advanced than its predecessor when it took five years for it to be baked in the development slow cooker.
Ideally there would be more of a middle ground, with GTA games being released slightly more frequently and without the overall quality of future titles being affected. If the quality of a game five years down the line is not drastically altered by the development of another game in the intermediary (and it should not be, for the technology itself would change so much during that time, that the game likely needs reworking and recoding over the years as it is), there really should be no reason not to release one more title in the middle to tide fans over.
More releases will give the impression that each title is making less of a jump, and while this will be true, we think it is also perfectly fine. If we end up with the same quality GTA V in a few months that we would’ve had if it was actually GTA VI, and we had a ‘lesser’ GTA V in between, would that really be such a bad thing for Rockstar, Take-Two and also the fans who can’t get enough of the series?