Last night (7 February), Take Two Interactive held an earnings call for its third-quarter results, at which CEO Strauss Zelnick answered questions about Rockstar Games' upcoming release Red Dead Redemption 2.
While avoiding most questions, Zelnick did discuss (via GameSpot) the sales figures for 2010's Red Dead Redemption, the game's marketing and how he believes there will not be a "competitive dynamic" between the upcoming sequel and Grand Theft Auto Online.
"Obviously, we're incredibly excited about the title," said Zelnick. "Not just Red Dead Redemption , but also the online offering to come. Rockstar will talk more about the title, but obviously, there is great anticipation both on the part of ourselves and consumers."
Zelnick was asked by an investor whether the online component of Red Dead Redemption 2 will compete with GTA Online for players. The huge success of the multiplayer side of Rockstar's crime game is the main reason online play in RDR 2 is expected to be such a huge feature.
"I'm fond of saying entertainment is an unusual animal, in that entertainment properties don't really compete with other entertainment properties," the CEO said. "You never need entertainment. Entertainment is something that you want to have, but it's not a need to have. If nothing in the market appeals to you at some time, there is no reason to go and get it, and if multiple things appeal to you, avid consumers will consume all of those things.
"So I don't think there is any competitive dynamic with any of our upcoming releases, apart from the fact that our success is driven by quality. So I think the success of [Red Dead Redemption 2], which is highly anticipated, will be driven by its quality, and I think that the ongoing success of Grand Theft Auto Online is driven by its extraordinary quality."
Zelnick revealed sales data for the 2010 predecessor, saying it shipped 8.5 million copies in its first year and 15 million copies overall. He did not share sales forecasts for Redemption 2, most likely because it is unlikely to sell as well as Grand Theft Auto 5, which, aided by Online, has to date shipped 75 million copies, making it one of the biggest selling games ever.
That Red Dead Redemption 2 is unlikely to sell as well isn't a slight on game, it's just unlikely anything except GTA 6 will be able to meet those kinds of numbers.
In regard to marketing, Zelnick said: "We support all of our releases very significantly. We're incredibly proud of our marketing teams throughout the company and our support is quite significant for all of our releases.
"I think you should expect to see, with regard to all of our releases, very significant marketing support."
Red Dead Redemption 2 was revealed in October 2016 with a short, atmospheric trailer. The game will be released later this year.