In June 2007, director of third party relations at Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) Michael Shorrock revealed on the Official PlayStation Blog that Sony and Rockstar had come to an agreement on developing a new PS3 exclusive.
"As part of our long standing relationship with Rockstar, and the incredible success for both companies with the cultural icon that is Grand Theft Auto, we've agreed to the PlayStation exclusive rights of the next great franchise from the Rockstar studios," Shorrock wrote.
"Rockstar really wanted to make a game that you can truly only do on PS3, harnessing the power of CELL and Blu-ray disc and this deal lets them do just that...This is really a win-win situation for both companies."
President and CEO of SCEA Jack Tretton further discussed the new agreement with Rockstar on Spike TV's Game Head show with Geoff Keighley, confirming that the unnamed project was not L.A. Noire and that Sony was able to release Take-Two from GTA IV exclusivity in exchange for acquiring the rights to the publisher’s next franchise.
"What we're really excited about is the next great franchise from Take-Two and in exchange for letting them out of that exclusive (Grand Theft Auto IV), we've got the rights to the next great franchise from Take-Two."
So, what could the Rockstar PS3 exclusive be? Let's take a look.
Boasting a “perfectly re-created Los Angeles” from the 1940s, L.A. Noire was first revealed back in 2005 as one of two signed exclusives with Sony for the PS3. In late 2006, Rockstar became the official publisher of L.A. Noire and in 2007 the game was listed down for release on PS3 only in Take-Two’s financial report.
However, Team Bondi's official website lists L.A. Noire for "next generation consoles" and recent job postings hint that the game will be released for multiple platforms. As a result, it’s unlikely that L.A. Noire is the PS3 exclusive Sony and Rockstar have up their sleeves.
Chance of being the PS3 exclusive: 9%
Max Payne 3
Although the original Max Payne was an exclusive for PlayStation 2, the sequel, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, made the transition over to multiple platforms, hitting Microsoft’s Xbox in addition to Sony’s PlayStation 2. Given that Rockstar Vancouver recently confirmed that the third installment in the series would be hitting PS3, Xbox 360 and PC later this year, we can safely rule out Payne’s latest outing as a possible candidate.
Chance of being the PS3 exclusive: 0%
Red Dead Redemption
As with Max Payne 3, Red Dead Redemption will be released on multiple formats this fall, rendering this an impossible option. The sequel is being headed by Rockstar San Diego, which is currently busy churning out fresh content for Midnight Club: Los Angeles.
Chance of being the PS3 exclusive: 0%
Grand Theft Auto V
While it’s no secret Rockstar’s multi-million selling crime series has remained virtually synonymous with the PlayStation brand over the past decade or so, we’ll be the first to admit that the prospect of GTA V jumping ship to the PS3 exclusivity camp is a very, very far stretch of the imagination.
According to ex-SCE Worldwide Studios President Phil Harrison, the reason the previous entry went multiplatform was due to the fact that the PS3 didn't have the install base to support Rockstar's investment in GTA IV on its own. Furthermore, given that GTA IV has sold over 10 million on Xbox 360 and PS3, we'd argue that Rockstar would want to continue multiplatform development to keep revenue as high as possible.
Nonetheless, GTA V as a game (disregarding platform) is all but confirmed. With Rockstar Vancouver working on Max Payne 3 and Rockstar San Diego developing Midnight Club DLC and Red Dead Redemption, this leaves Rockstar North open to the possibility of developing the sequel. Other than the second Grand Theft Auto IV DLC pack, the prestigious developer has a huge studio at its command for another project. Still, we're almost absolutely certain that GTA V -- when it's inevitably announced -- will be a multiplatform game.
Chance of being the PS3 exclusive: 1%
Rockstar has shown that it has no problem thinking outside of the box, developing new franchises completely disparate from that of Grand Theft Auto. Some popular ones that come to mind include Manhunt, Bully, and The Warriors. Thus, our most likely candidate is the possibility of an entirely new, currently unrevealed video game franchise. We’re stumped as to what it might be, but we’d definitely put our money on a brand new IP as opposed to an established brand. After all, Tretton mentioned 'the next’ franchise when discussing the elusive title.
Chance of being the PS3 exclusive: 60%
We're slowly creeping up to the two year mark since the initial announcement of the 'next great PlayStation-exclusive franchise' from Rockstar, and literally no information has slipped out since that initial reveal. Thus, our final option is that the Rockstar PS3 exclusive is no longer in development.
Hopefully we’ll be privy to some new developments at this year’s E3 convention. If neither Rockstar nor Sony reveals something soon, however, you might as well sign this off as another vaporware title and look forward to other exciting PS3 exclusives, including Uncharted 2, God of War III, and Final Fantasy Versus XIII.
Chance that the Rockstar PS3 exclusive is no more: 30%