With every other big game publisher trying to pre-empt Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR 2) by releasing their games earlier like Battlefield V and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Rockstar Games' parent company Take Two says its "running scared too". In an interview with Games Industry Take Two CEO Strauss Zelnick stressed that the Wild West-themed open-world adventure would not be as successful as Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V), the last title from Rockstar Games. Recently, it was reported that GTA V made around $6 billion since its release in September 2013. This means GTA V has made more money than any book, film, record or video game ever released, and shows no signs of stopping.
"It's hard to expect anything to perform as well as the most profitable entertainment product of all time," Zelnick observes. "I don't think that's a realistic expectation. Our hope, and also belief, is that Red Dead Redemption 2 will be an extraordinary creative product and that it will do incredibly well. Beyond that I can't say - I don't think anyone can say. We have to release it and see what consumers think."
This isn't the first time Zelnick has had to temper expectations surrounding Red Dead Redemption 2. 2008’s GTA IV shipped 25 million units in five years with GTA V shipping 80 million. The first Red Dead Redemption sold 15 million.
"I don't make assumptions like that," Zelnick said at the time. "What the team is doing is trying to make the best possible game they can, and if they succeed... Look, the reason, in my opinion, why GTA V has sold 80m units, and GTA Online had another record year 3-and-a-half years since its release, is because it stands alone in the generation. In every prior generation, there have been other titles that have clustered around GTA from a quality point-of-view. That's clearly not the case now. If you are over 17 and you have a new generation console, you have GTA. Otherwise we wouldn't have shipped 80m units. Can any other title achieve that? It seems unlikely. Do we have incredibly high hopes for Red Dead? We do. But we are not putting it in the context of GTA."
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