GTA, Red Dead Company Responds To Battle Royale Phenomenon

The success of games like PUBG and Fortnite is "really interesting," but Take-Two wants to avoid being "derivative."

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Now Playing: GTA Online Introduces PUBG Style Battle Royale Mode Gameplay

One major trend in game currently is the Battle Royale experience. PUBG really put this on the map, while Epic's Fortnite: Battle Royale is another example. Other games will surely follow, or add Battle Royale modes to their existing formula, and now the publisher Take-Two Interactive has responded to the Battle Royale phenomenon. Speaking on an earnings call today, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick it has been "really interesting" to see the explosion in popularity around the Battle Royale genre. However, Zelnick pointed out that Take-Two, comprising its labels Rockstar Games and 2K Games, generally speaking wants to blaze its own trail instead of being "derivative" by following in the footsteps of something that came before it.

"I would just observe that someone else's success is really interesting and we are obviously informed by what our competitors do. But our goal is to be as innovative as possible," Zelnick said. "And titles, even really good titles that are derivative, never seem to do as well as innovations that are unexpected."

As an example, Zelnick pointed to Red Dead Redemption. He said many might have bet against this game, which was released in 2010, because at the time the thinking was that Westerns couldn't be successful. That game ended up being a smash hit, critically and commercially, leading to a huge amount of hype around this year's sequel.

"When we came out with the first Red Dead Redemption, the conventional wisdom was was that Westerns don't work," Zelnick said. "It had been an awfully long time since a Western-themed video game had come out. Rockstar took a massive creative risk and the result was extraordinary."

Zelnick went on to say that he doesn't anticipate that Rockstar and 2K would be all that enthusiastic about being "derivative" with what they make. However, Zelnick acknowledged that if gamers are calling for a PUBG-like game, Take-Two might bring it to them. "Of course we play in the world and we're informed by what's going on. It is our job to bring consumers what they want," Zelnick said.

For what it's worth, GTA Online, the multiplayer mode for GTA V, has a PUBG-style mode called Motor Wars. In this mode (watch our extended gameplay video embedded above), players parachute in to a map and fight to do the death. It's called Motor Wars because the focus is more on vehicular combat that boots-on-the-ground fighting.

For more on today's Take-Two news, check out the stories linked below.

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Avatar image for dpl9598

At least they still have a single player story....fallout 76... cough..cough..

Avatar image for eggabooha

Tell me, wasn't there a battle royal mode in gta online and it apparently sucked?

Avatar image for Keaze_

Can somebody take a minute to fill me in on what a Battle Royale game is? I mean there have been multiplayer shooters since the dawn of time. I can't imagine a game being so groundbreaking and having invented some kind of new gameplay that has never been seen before. So what is it? A last man standing type of thing? Many players fight with just one life and there ends up being just one left and he's the winner? If that's the case, how is that innovative it's just a free for all?

I think I heard that the map gradually becomes smaller? Is that all? Please explain how it is such a brand new phenomenal concept.

Avatar image for solidsolo

@Keaze_: basically last player standing in a shrinking battlefield. The challenge is to survive the longest while starting out with nothing.

Avatar image for Keaze_

@7tizz: you can write whole paragraphs praising xbox's glory yet you can't explain me in a few sentences what this game is about, which iirc is your #1 game right now?

There's a difference between reading a description of a game and being explained by people playing said game why it is such a phenomenon and what sets it apart from other mp shooters.

Avatar image for gotmerked

@Keaze_: You ever been in a heart pounding tense situation , walls are closing in on you and you have to make a move but one wrong move could mean your death. That's the game.

Avatar image for esqueejy

How to Avoid Being Derivative 101: Don't put microtransactions in your game.

Avatar image for tiringpillow

@esqueejy: Followed quickly by "How to Not Make Millions of Extra Dollars 101: Don't put microtransactions in your game."

Avatar image for esqueejy

@tiringpillow: Yeah, missing sales targets by about 30% sure is a revenue builder.

That being said, R* may (this time at least) have the consumer good will to survive it better than EA did. Everyone was already primed to hate on EA for anything done wrong, particularly anything that looked and smelled like an attempt to rape your bank account.

Avatar image for thelostscribe

@esqueejy: Unfortunately, as much I personally don't care for microtransactions, the reason that developers are putting them into games, despite recent massive backlash against EA, is that they work. They don't just provide a tiny revenue boost, they provide massive boosts in revenue.

If every game with microtransactions saw massive losses in sales and social media backlash, then something would change, but as of now, companies are simply finding ways to work around the backlash via 'cosmetic changes' 'extra weapons' 'brief power ups'. I believe Rockstar reported that they made millions on their Shark card revenue last year. GTA V sales are still in the top ten as well.

Avatar image for esqueejy

@thelostscribe: Not all microtransactions are bad. I wouldn't call aesthetic changes a work-around, but rather an acceptable way of implementing them. Even some "quality of life" things like extra bag space can be ok. It's when they create pay-to-win situations or lock large portions of the game you paid for behind another pay wall that it's a problem. BF2 was a prime example of the latter.

Avatar image for thelostscribe

@esqueejy: Right, I have no problem with GTA Shark Cards(Because Rockstar charges nothing for all the updates they do to GTA Online) or costumes or weapons that you can pay a small amount for. However, it is certainly a way for them to skirt around the controversy. When everyone was lighting up EA about Battlefront 2, everyone sighted Overwatch as an acceptable use of microtranstactions, I believe Bethesda even made statement about it. EA now says the next Battlefield game will most likely only have cosmetic microtransactions.

In that way, EA is using the less controversial microtransactions. Some are 100% against them, most people find the small stuff acceptable. EA pushed the boundaries, DICE and Battlefront 2 paid the price, to see how far they could go with it. It's great that gamer's lashed out, but just like a decade ago when DLC and the Season Pass's started coming out, we'll be eased into accepting microtransactions as a part of gaming, especially the younger generation of gamer's. Because believe it or not, planned DLC and Season Pass's used to be met with uproar, then developers pulled back and slowly eased the industry into it being just a normal part of gaming.

Avatar image for tiringpillow

@esqueejy: I'm talking specifically RDR Online, not Battlefront. They will treat RDR Online exactly like GTA Online and have buffalo cards or something along those lines. And those microtransactions will rake in millions just as they do in GTA Online. They would be idiotic to not do things similarly.

Avatar image for thelostscribe

@tiringpillow: I personally don't have anything against it because they update the Online mode for free consistently. If they keep at that practice, I think Rockstar will enjoy the fruits of their labor for a long time.

Also you are right, it would be very idiotic to not implement something like that with all the success they've had with it.

Avatar image for uninspiredcup

Oh look, dignity.

Avatar image for se7en1989

Why would anybody want that crap in RDR2? It's not needed...

Avatar image for solidsolo

@se7en1989: i would love it. Battle Royale set in the wild west sounds hella fun!!

Avatar image for Barighm

@se7en1989: It would be easy to implement though and works in a western setting. Not saying they should, just that this is one case where it would be easy to do.

Avatar image for hardcoregamer1

No just no, what publishers need to understand is gamers want diversity, if a developer comes out with a successful gaming formula it does not mean everybody should copy it and give us the same style of gaming, we want creativity and different styles of games.

Avatar image for decadentdescent

@hardcoregamer1: I disagree. Gamers want concepts they like implemented into the games they like. For example, I love the concept of PUBG and Fortnite but hate the shooting mechanics and would love to see them implement Battle Royale into The Last of Us because I love the mechanics of that game. I can see it being great in RDR2 as well for the same reasons.

Avatar image for solidsolo

@hardcoregamer1: it's about the bottom line.. gaming is a business. whatever is popular the others will cash in as well. just how it works :)

Avatar image for hardcoregamer1

@7tizz: Casual gamers are zombies they just buy whatever is marketed to them, that is why these days I am spending more money with smaller studios and ps4 exclusives, they are more in tuned with the hardcore gamer.

Avatar image for Barighm

@hardcoregamer1: I'm sorry, but that's not correct. Based on what I'm seeing gamers seem to like a specific sub-set of games laden with MT's and other modern conveniences. Generally most people are happy to find one game they like and just replay it (that's why Chess and Checkers are thousands of years old). Only we hardcore gamers have to play something new all the time.

Avatar image for OrgeLambart

the whole idea was taken from the movie Battle Royale.. come on man, give credit when it's due.. PUBG is a big game but the idea was taken from the movie.. with that said, it's a stupid idea, in 3 or 4 years the Battle Royale crap will be all but forgotten and some new fade will take it's place.

Avatar image for ltjohnnyrico

Red Dead BattleRoyale confirmed!

Avatar image for linkbuscus01

“In this game mode players parachute in to a map and fight to do the death” I laughed at this harder than I should..

Avatar image for videogameninja

"-Even really good titles that are derivative, never seem to do as well as innovations that are unexpected."- Strauss Zelnick

Gotta give him credit. This is exactly what the industry needs and this is probably one of the many reasons as to why Rockstar has found themselves in the position they are now in.

Don't get me wrong, following in the footsteps of a path that has already been outlined with some degree of success is a smart business move as it is "safe" but being the trend setter or the first to bring new and innovative ideas, concepts, and gameplay to the landscape of gaming (while still a gamble.) can yield far greater returns on one's investment in the longrun.


Avatar image for redhedjack

I feel like Rockstar is beginning to become Valve.

Let's hope Naughty Dog doesn't take that road as well.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800

@redhedjack: The reason they haven't been releasing games every other year is cause instead of each studio working on their own independent games like they use to, now they all collaborate on one game at a time. So instead of the Scotland guys being the only ones that make GTA and San Diego being the only ones that do Red Dead now they work together on each project.

Avatar image for newbpwnr

@redhedjack: a solid publisher?

Avatar image for chiefwiggum16

Translation: Our Battle Royale mode will have many MANY more micro transactions because GTA Online wasn't enough, and PUBG and Fortnite dont rail customers like we will.

Avatar image for dudebropartyyo

@chiefwiggum16: I wont even touch RDR2 online mode, i just dont care haha. I just hope the story is better and deeper than GTAV as well as longer with many more side quests and activities

Avatar image for Pyrosa

@dudebropartyyo: There was 80hrs of main quest, side quest, and map activity in GTAV. I'd call that sufficient.

As for depth of the SP content, I'd say they hit the nail on the head. It was one of the funniest crime-comedy-dramas I've ever seen, and definitely skewered the plastic environment and region incredibly well. Most of the characters were better developed than the 2-dimensional gargabe delivered on TV.

Avatar image for dudebropartyyo

@Pyrosa: I didnt say story was bad and i am not comparing it to TV shows and movies but to other games. For me story was good but not in my top 5 for sure, thats just me tho.

Avatar image for twztid13

@dudebropartyyo: as do I, but online development probably takes priority now, and ensures that wont be the case. I wonder If theyll stick to their claim that every openworld game will have to have multiple protagonists from now on? I hope not.

Avatar image for dudebropartyyo

@twztid13: But it would be good to allow players to play that online content offline as well. Like there are so many GTA V online missions that you could play offline as side missions.

Game developers sometimes forget that many people dont care about online or are unable to play online for whatever reason.

Avatar image for shadowpandora

@twztid13: From teasers it looks like you play as a whole gang. How many of them you’ll be able to control is unknown.