At the MKM Partners Investor Day in New York City, GameSpot reports that Take-Two Interactive’s CEO Strauss Zelnick shed some light on why they don’t have an annual hit series.
Among this year’s high-profile releases, a number of them are from franchises we see every year, like Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty. But Take-Two Interactive has limited its yearly releases to sports games and Zelnick says it’s to keep the brands fresh.
“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,” he said in his talk. “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.”
Take-Two publishes a handful of popular franchises, from Borderlands to Grand Theft Auto. With all these disparate titles, Zelnick says they can equal the revenue and attention that annual titles get. And perhaps do it without sacrificing brand integrity.
“We’ll have a handful of really great franchises and new intellectual properties that together really have the economic impact of an annualized business without the detriments of an annualized business.”
When it comes to games from Rockstar Games, the developer of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, Zelnick says we’ll never see regular releases. These massive open-world games have long, irregular development cycles, and they pay off by becoming “massive consumer events” upon release.
A benefit of this is that the game can stay within the same studio, unlike a series like Assassin’s Creed which shifts from Ubisoft Montreal to Ubisoft Toronto on a yearly basis. Moving forward, Zelnick teased more regular installments of the Borderlands series and, surprisingly, Bioshock. 2K Marin is now handling development of the Bioshock series, which seemed poised to end after the shuttering of Ken Levine’s Irrational Games in 2014.
According to Zelnick, Bioshock and Borderlands are both “permanent” franchises.