“Our competitors burn off their franchises” with annual releases says Take-Two boss

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This year, there’s no real Assassin’s Creed game. Instead, for fans, there’s a collection of remasters centered around the series’ most enigmatic and interesting protagonist, Ezio. I’m pretty happy that Ubisoft’s taken that decision, because though Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is actually a fine, fine game, consumers had probably hit franchise fatigue by then.

It’s probably what’s happening to Call of Duty right now. Though it features the freshest and most genuinely fun to play single player campaign it’s had in years, its multiplayer is staler than the discount doughnuts at your local Checkers. There are very real risks of fatigue when things are annualised. Risking consumer fatigue isn’t something Take Two wants to do.

While a new GTA or Red Dead Redemption may sound like a decent idea in your head, it’d dilute the franchises, and create less of that delicious hype whenever a new one’s announced.

“I suppose, conceptually, if we took all [of our franchises] and we just turned it into an annualized schedule–leaving everything else to the side–the math says you would be in a better place,”  Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told a crowd of investors at an MKM Partners event (via Gamespot). “But what would it imply? 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. 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.”

Take Two’s goal here then, isn’t to create new IP all the time. Rather they want get to the point where they have enough established ones that they’re able to release different games each year, with decent breaks between core franchises.

“We can have a really powerful release schedule without burning off the IP and that’s our goal,” he said.

Of course, Take Two isn’t wholly against annualisation – and they do it quite well with their sports games like NBA 2K and WWE 2K. I do, however, largely agree with Zelnick. Too much of a good thing, and it becomes mundane. That said, we do need new IPs more than recycled ones.

Last Updated: November 18, 2016

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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