Wed, May 23, 2012 | 14:42 BST
Infinity and beyond: Take-Two bets on 2K for FY13
Take-Two Interactive is one of the most close-mouthed of the big publishers, but it also has one of the most comfortable catalogues. We look over its 2012-2013 line-up and predict nothing but sunshine and daisies.
2K Games has a prolific line-up, but its more elusive sister company Rockstar Games is far less definite. Current smart money has GTA V down for a 2013 release – probably in the late first to second quarter for an approximate 18 month marketing cycle – following its absence from Take-Two’s end of year financials. Rockstar San Diego, on the other hand, has been suspiciously quiet; officially, we have no idea what it’s up to. Unofficially, we’re expecting a sequel to the massively successfully Red Dead Redemption.
Although we may see Rockstar go into marketing mode – more on that later – now that Max Payne 3 is out of the way, FY 2013 is all about 2K Games for Take-Two.
The publisher kicks things off with a third-party title, Yager’s Spec Ops: The Line, which is due on HD platforms in late June. The serious shooter hasn’t generated much hype, but we’ll see its impact closer to launch, as previews suggest it takes an unusually adult approach to war stories.
Also in June, Firaxis will launch the latest Civilization V expansion, Gods & Kings, which adds a number of much-requested features including greater emphasis on religion. Expect the hardcore multiplayer community to respond well.
The publisher observes the traditional break over the late summer months before firing back up – with something of a vengeance – in the autumn. Gearbox’s highly anticipated Borderlands 2 will make a tremendous splash as one of the first major releases of the silly season. 2K Sports’ regular annuals will make an appearance in October as MLB 2K12 and NBA 2K13.
Also in October we find the increasingly tasty XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which is beginning to look less like a niche reboot and more like something with serious legs. Then, having weathered the peak release season, 2K will fire a late sally with the heavy dignity of BioShock Infinite in February.
Further out, Take-Two announced today that 2K Marin’s XCOM shooter had been pushed back to FY 2014 – in calendar terms, that’s the twelve month period beginning in the second quarter of 2013.
The same period is also likely to host whatever 2K Czech is up to; we’ve heard the studio is contributing to Grand Theft Auto V and working with Rockstar teams on Mafia III.
2K Games has a prolific line-up, but its more elusive sister company Rockstar Games is far less definite. If you look at the publisher’s significant stable of studios, you’d be forgiven for wondering why all that talent is sitting on its hands; presumably, most teams are busy providing support for ongoing engine development, shared tech, and ports. Toronto, Vancouver, and London are Rockstar’s main jobbing studios; having wrapped Max Payne 3, it’s likely all three are working on Grand Theft Auto V and possibly even the vapourous Agent.
Both titles are in the works at flagship studio Rockstar North; whenever GTA V appears, it’s unlikely Agent will turn up for at least another 12 months – if it makes this console generation at all. Current smart money has GTA V down for a 2013 release – probably in the late first to second quarter for an approximate 18 month marketing cycle – following its absence from Take-Two’s end of year financials.
Rockstar San Diego, on the other hand, has been suspiciously quiet; officially, we have no idea what it’s up to. Unofficially, we’re expecting a sequel to the massively successfully Red Dead Redemption. Like Max Payne 3, any follow-up to the open world western epic is likely to be a team effort between several studios, an increasingly common strategy designed to prevent the kind of troubled development rumoured to have plagued Redemption.
The developer could conceivably also be working on a new Midnight Club game, perhaps as a launch title for new hardware when racers do particularly well, but otherwise, expect a Red Dead Whatever announce during 2013 with a lead time of at least nine months; probably closer to a full year, although the long silence from San Diego suggests we may see a shorter marketing cycle.
Trying to pin down Rockstar’s schedule is an act of crystal ball gazing at the moment, and 2K’s known line-up comes to an abrupt end at the beginning of next year. Part of the problem is Take-Two’s increasing importance as one of the big franchise publishers; platform holders are no doubt eager to secure its services, so we can expect a spill of reveals as new hardware is detailed. We’ll likely se a number of Wii U announces in the wake of E3 2012, and more tenuous promises as 2013 kicks into gear and Sony and Microsoft unveil next generation tech.
Despite this uncertainty, Take-Two is clearly well-positioned to weather the generational transition, with a number of big, very safe bets and an unwavering reputation for quality control. If publishers campaigned for election, the posters would assure us that we can rely on Take-Two in 2012-2013 and beyond.