Following a period across the 2000s were they innovated and expanded the open-world genre in every possible direction, experimenting with movie license tie-ins (The Warriors), gory boundary-pushers (Manhunt), coming-of-age tales (Bully) and all-things crime-focused (GTA 1 through 4), the 2010s had them take a step back, only releasing Max Payne 3, GTA 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 in eight years.
It was a strange shift, but Take Two’s Strauss Zelnick noted that where other studios “burn out their franchises” through yearly releases, GTA’s greatest strength – and now Rockstar’s as a totemic force of creativity – is in restraint.
Speaking of creativity though, GTA 5’s meteoric success still caught Rockstar and Take Two by surprise. So much so that they canned GTA 5’s single player DLC and moved entirely into supporting GTA Online.
Now with the same happening to Red Dead Online (with far less traction, looking at the player numbers), you have to wonder what the future of the company and their games is.
The gaming industry is in one hell of a place right now; hanging billions of dollars on specific game mechanics, characters and genres every day. GTA NEEDS to remain lightning in a bottle, and Rockstar have to remember why we all fell in love with their games in the first place.
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