'Red Dead 2' has been delayed again
Rockstar Games announced last week that its long-awaited "Red Dead Redemption 2" would be delayed until October the second such delay since the game was announced nearly two years ago. But there's a good chance we won't get our hands on our digital six shooters of the Old West until even later, if Rockstar maintains its reputation especially in an age when video games can take as much as five or six years to develop.
Rockstar was once one of the most prolific developers in the industry. During the last generation it developed six games, including two "Grand Theft Auto" titles, and assisted with the development of another, "L.A. Noire." During the previous generation, it released three "Grand Theft Auto" games in four years, along with numerous other titles. Yet, this generation, Rockstar has yet to release a new game. The studio's only game to come out this generation was a remastered port of "Grand Theft Auto V." So what happened to the studio that could turn out quality software on a regular basis?
As more powerful consoles are released and consumers demand higher-quality assets, better visual fidelity and more and more in-depth experiences, development takes more time. "Grand Theft Auto III" was completed in about two years. Its two spin-off sequels, "Vice City" and "San Andreas" were completed in even less time. But compare the visuals and gameplay of any of the PlayStation 2 releases to "GTA V" and see the remarkable difference. That extra detail requires a lot of extra work and time.
To help alleviate the issue somewhat, Rockstar consolidated the efforts of its individual studios. Rockstar San Diego originally worked on the "Red Dead" series and "Midnight Club" series. Rockstar Vancouver and Rockstar Toronto worked on the "Bully" games. Following the release of "Grand Theft Auto IV," Rockstar North the main development team stepped in to help finish "Max Payne 3" and get it out the door. The game had undergone a tumultuous development, which required efforts from several other teams to help alleviate. This synergy among the teams, which are scattered across England, Canada and the United States, was again utilized on the development of "GTA V," which also ran into its share of delays. Games had become too massive to be developed by even a single studio. At one point, more than 1,000 people were working on completing "GTA V." The days of the Rockstar Games subsidiary studios working on their own projects has come to an end.
So when development of "Red Dead Redemption 2" began, Rockstar San Diego wasn't the only group working on it. Main development duties were moved to Rockstar North while the other development teams work on various aspects of the game. It's the only way to ensure open world titles as vast and as detailed as those we've come to expect from Rockstar can be developed.
But there's still the case of that other little title that was released five years ago, "GTA V." Since its 2013 release, it has sold 90 million copies. Yes, that number is correct. It sits behind only "Tetris" and "Minecraft" as the third-best-selling game of all time. Even more impressive, one in every three PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners own a copy of "GTA V" after the remaster was released a year later.