Take-Two CEO Hints at Red Dead, BioShock Sequels
Guess we should start looking forward to seeing more of the Red Dead and BioShock series.
Gamespot is reporting that Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two spoke at the Cowen and Company analyst conference about the future of the company. In addition to discussing what has and hasn’t worked for Take-Two, he also commented on two important game series with uncertain futures: Red Dead Redemption and BioShock. Based on Zelnick’s comments, we'll be seeing more of both franchises in the future.
When asked about Take-Two’s selective approach to publishing, Zelnick stated that the company has benefited from being picky about their titles, and that releasing a ton of games would work against the interests of Take-Two and its customers.
Zelnick said, "The risk...is that you end up just bulking up your release schedule and that isn't really what consumers want. Consumers want better, not more." He added, “We've launched one new successful franchise every year and I would like to keep doing that particularly because I talk about permanent franchises, but not everything is going to be a permanent franchise.”
On the topic of “permanent franchises,” Zelnick referenced Grand Theft Auto and Borderlands as examples, and added, “it seems quite obvious that Red Dead is a permanent franchise.” This is not the first time we’ve heard Zelnick make statements like this. Last July, the CEO, again speaking with analysts, stated, “it's been our goal not just to preserve and grow the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but also to build other franchises that we think can be permanent, whether that's the Red Dead franchise or the Borderlands franchise or the BioShock franchise or others, Civilization for example."
While there haven’t been any specific rumors about a sequel to the 2010 western hit, statements like these lead us to believe that there is either a Red Dead game in the works, or plans for one in the near future. Red Dead Redemption sold over 13 million copies in 2010.
The conference also gave Zelnick an opportunity to brag about the company’s success rate, with the CEO stating, “We have a really high hit ratio. It's probably not realistic to believe it could be much higher than it is. We've had precious few flops.” Among those few flops, however, was last year’s reboot of the Duke Nukem franchise. Zelnick took full blame for the critically and financially underwhelming title; “And at least, of the few I can think of--and I can think of a few, sadly--at least one of them was just a misguided decision on my part, which was Duke Nukem."
He went on to explain that the risk of failure is the price of innovation; “if you're not making any mistakes at all you're probably not trying hard enough. And the business does have inherent risk. And you do need to push the envelope. And if you're pushing the envelope, now and then you'll get it wrong."
Finally, Zelnick spoke on the BioShock franchise and its future. While stopping short of revealing any specific details about the company’s plans for BioShock, he expressed his belief that the franchise is important, and one that has yet to meet its commercial potential.
"We haven't given any color on how you should think about it yet except we do believe it's beloved; we think it's important [and] certainly something that we're focused on; something 2K Marin will be responsible for shepherding going forward. I don't want to say much else except to agree with you. I think there's a lot of upside in that franchise." He added, "It hasn't necessarily been realized yet. And the question for the future, assuming we decide to answer the question, would be 'How do you stay true to that creatively?'; 'How do you do something exciting?'; and 'How do you do expand the market?”
2K Marin, developers of BioShock 2, took over the BioShock franchise earlier this year when BioShock: Infinite developer Irrational Games folded. BioShock Infinite sold over 6.5 million copies, and the BioShock series has moved approximately 14 million units since 2007.
Zelnick also commented on Take-Two’s use of microtransactions, stating, “when we design our virtual currency packs, we do it in a way that will make consumers happier, not sadder that they are engaged with our games.”