GTA, Max Payne won’t be annualized, says Take-Two

The chief executive officer of Take-Two has insisted Rockstar juggernauts Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne and Red Dead Redemption won’t be annualized.

Chatting at the Credit Suisse Technology Conference this week (via GameSpot), Strauss Zelnick insisted that releasing yearly instalments of the company’s non-sports franchises would make them ‘less special’ in the long run.

“I would argue that saying to people ‘make a perfect-rated title that’s the standard bearer in the business and do it on this every-other-year schedule’ not only isn’t realistic, but it also runs the risk of taking a very special franchise and making it less special."

"This isn’t a one title company, it’s a multi-title company. While we definitely would like to iron some of the slippage out of our business and we definitely would like to tighten some of our production schedules, the answer is not to put out any given title more frequently at the same level of quality. The answer to diversify to a greater number of titles, increase the quality level of all those and deliver more hits."

The executive then doffed his cap to Activision and its Call of Duty series, which is released annually between two developers. However, Zelnick insisted that bar sports titles, annualizing a series runs the risk of running into a brick wall with the IP.

"[Activision] has done a terrific job fielding two teams and still putting out a very high quality product," he said. "It’s our view that if you want intellectual property to be permanent, then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise. [Activision] obviously view the world differently. I have enormous respect for [Activision CEO Bobby Kotick] and the team. It’s a different approach than ours."

"Our view is it’s hard to make permanent intellectual properties if you annualise it, with the exception of sports titles. So far that’s proven to be the case. IP that is annualised eventually seems to hit the wall and we don’t want our IP to hit the wall."

Grand Theft Auto V is the first major console entry in the series since GTA IV, which was released nearly five years ago. The open-world crime romp is the most ambitious title in Rockstar history, boasting a massive game world and three protagonists.

GTA V is scheduled to ship in spring 2013 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.