Addressing investors today at an MKM partners event, Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two spoke about why his company doesn’t release new entries in its franchises annually as many competitors do, claiming that those annualising their franchises run the risk of "burning out".
Gamespot reported on the speech given by the CEO. Take-Two are responsible for franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Civilisation, X-Com and Bioshock, and Zelnick insisted that a yearly release schedule does more harm than good to blockbuster franchises, suggesting that many well received games properties would see quality slip if a new outing had to release each year.
"It would imply doubling our development teams. It would imply calling into question our quality. And it would imply the risk that consumers tire of these franchises." Said Zelnick "One of the things that’s best about Take-Two is our franchises seem to be permanent. They’re beloved and permanent. Whereas our competitors burn off their franchises, which means they have to create new ones, which is incredibly difficult to do."
Zelnick keeps his word. Red Dead Redemption 2 was announced last month and will arrive in 2017, 7 years after the original. GTA V released originally in 2013, 6 years after the release of GTA IV.
He could be preaching to the converted however, many yearly franchises that were mainstays of the industry are now starting to move away from the spotlight: Ubisoft released a sequel to hacking game Watch Dogs this year instead of an Assassin’s Creed title, the first year without an entry in the series since 2008. Activision on the other hand have moved Call of Duty from a two year release cycle, with two teams working to maintain a yearly release, into a three year cycle, with a third development studio stepping in to give everyone involved while maintaining a yearly release. Whether this will work to keep the franchises healthy remains to be seen.