It took longer than usual for some of Take-Two Interactive's most recent successes--Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2--to hit the market. While the publisher is likely pleased with the results of such ambitious games, CEO Strauss Zelnick is convinced the development gap between releases will shorten thanks in part to post-launch content.
In a GamesIndustry.Biz interview during E3 2019, Zelnick envisions the trend of extensive time between game releases coming to an end. "I don't see it expanding further. In fact, I would expect in many instances it may compress," Zelnick said. "We find that intersection between the time it takes our creators to do the best work in the industry on the one hand, and what the consumer wants, recognizing that building anticipation is a good thing." Zelnick cements his argument by saying "eight years is probably too long," likely referring to the development time between Red Dead Redemption and its direct sequel.
Post-launch content might be the force that causes the pendulum to swing, according to Zelnick. "It's possible that the ability to deliver content on an ongoing basis for a long time after an initial release," he said. "Would mean that perhaps that initial release wouldn't be as long in terms of [the] number of hours of gameplay as previously had been demanded in a world where that was all you were getting."
He suggests the development could shorten because teams would be primarily focused on finishing a product first and delivering further content once the game is released. While Zelnick doesn't predict a change in the way AAA publishers shoot for less ambitious titles, he does find the idea of post-launch content shortening development to be "a fewer, bigger, better strategy."
Take-Two is the parent company of developers like 2K--and its properties 2K Play, 2K Games, and 2K Sports--and Rockstar Games. The big-name publisher has some games launching throughout the rest of the year. Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is set to launch on August 27 for PC and sometime in December for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Borderlands 3 will launch on September 13 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and November 14 for Google Stadia. The Outer Worlds is scheduled to release on October 25 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.