Take-Two Interactive had a good year despite the lack of a new Grand Theft Auto . But of course, GTA remains the publisher's bread and butter.
And provided the company keeps its priorities straight, GTAV could become the biggest video game in history. So says analyst Michael Pachter , who first spoke about the estimated release window for the new GTA installment, which he pegs at "no later than early 2012."
The reason for that is because the three key players in the game's development (Les Benzies, Sam and Dan Houser) see their contracts expire in January 2012. And unsurprisingly, Pachter and Co. believe it would be very beneficial for the trio to deliver the new GTA before their contract comes up for renegotiation… As for a status update:
""We are highly confident that a next version is well into its development, especially given that the prior version was ready on the Xbox 360 in August 2007, and its release was delayed until April 2008 only because of technical problems with the PS3 version (and a contractual obligation not to release on one platform before the other). We estimate that over 200 people work full-time on the game, and estimate that fewer than 30 were required to continue working on the prior version past August 2007. To their credit, Mr. Benzies and both Mr. Housers have a reputation for being workaholics, and for expecting the same from their employees. We find it unfathomable that work on the next Grand Theft Auto began any later than September 2007, so the game will have been under development for four years by the middle of Take-Two’s FY:12. We understand that the team is using the same game engine (the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine, or RAGE), and although we expect the next game to be the biggest and deepest ever, we don’t think it is likely that the team will take more than four years to deliver it."
But there is one small caveat: as the publisher attempts to branch out and focus on other potentially big projects, Pachter says those new titles "distract the key members of the Grand Theft AutoM team." And though they expect both L.A. Noire and Max Payne 3 to be big, they don't expect either to sell more than 5 million units, while the next GTA might be capable of 20 million+.
The number of people who own consoles in early 2012 will be very high, and GTAV will be available to many, many millions around the world. But we're certainly interested in those other projects, too…