Single-Player Games "Not Even Close" To Dead, Red Dead Redemption 2 Parent Company Says

"[People say] it won't work if it's not a free-to-play battle royale. I don't buy that."

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Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick is skeptical of the rush to capitalize on the multiplayer flavor of the day. The publisher of the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2 said in an interview that single-player isn't dead, and scoffed at the battle royale gold rush.

"[T]here are also people saying that it won’t work if it's not a free-to-play battle royale. People really are saying that, and not even tongue-in-cheek. I don't buy that," Zelnick told VentureBeat. "Single-player, in my opinion, is not dead, not even close. Companies that feel like they'll just avoid the hard work of building a story and characters and go right to where the money is in multiplayer, I don't think that's going to work. I'd be surprised."

He pointed out that Take-Two's approach is to give teams a lot of time and resources and then reap the benefits. Grand Theft Auto 5 is still paying dividends thanks to GTA Online, but plenty of players are still engaging with the story too. He said he understands that approach sometimes means their schedule can be hard to pin down.

"That's why we don't annualize titles," he said. "That's why we sometimes have slippage. That's why we're so focused on making sure that every title is better than the last title. We don't always succeed, but that's the goal."

Asked if his personal involvement means he's the one to call up one of their partners and ask for a battle royale, he was dismissive. "The fact that I'm very involved doesn't mean I say stupid things. I'm involved by saying hopefully intelligent things that are going to advance our strategy. So no, I don't do that."

Finally, Zelnick said the publisher doesn't intend to share technology across their separate labels. Asked what he would say to Hanger 13 (Mafia 3) requesting the GTA 5 engine, he balked. "Our studios are trying to create their own phenomenally competitive products. It seems unlikely that they would take another studio's properties in any form and try to replicate them or jump off from them to a creative solution. It's not what we're trying to do."

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