Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games take a different approach to AAA releases than other major studios. That's precisely why GTA VI is not out yet and why they haven't announced it, according to the CEO of Take-Two Interactive.
Gamespot picked up comments from CEO Strauss Zelnick at the MKM Partners Investor Day that took place in New York City. Zelnick explained to them...
The market asks us, 'Why don't you annualize your titles?' We think with the non-sports titles, we are better served to create anticipation and demand, […] On the one hand to rest the title and on the other hand to have the highest quality in the market, which takes time. You can't do that annually.
It's true. If you want a quality title you can't annualize it. Some people can point and say “What about Assassin's Creed?” and I can point and say “Did you play Assassin's Creed Unity at launch?”
Quality is oftentimes lost when a title is oversaturated and that oftentimes happens with annual titles. They eventually lose that quality if they have a biannual development cycle, which is what Ubisoft and Activision use for Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty. In the case of Ubisoft, the short turnaround finally caught up with them and Assassin's Creed Syndicate has had the worst first week sales opening since Assassin's Creed Rogue, as reported by Crave Online.
Activision was spared the fate that Ubisoft suffered by recently changing up the formula after Call of Duty: Ghosts nearly sunk the franchise. They gave Treyarch a three year development cycle, which resulted in the controversial but much talked about and strong selling Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. While some people like it and some people hate it, no one can deny that the three year cycle showed that the game at least received a lot of polish from top to bottom and was packed with a lot of content for the $60 price point.
In a way, Activision's development cycle switch fits into what Zelnick mentions.
According to Zelnick, Take-Two is all about alternating on their franchises, giving each IP room to “breathe” so that they turn into marquee events when it is time for them to release. He states...
What we would like to do is be able to have enough hit intellectual properties in any given year, whether we have Title A or Title B, is not the issue, [...] We'll have a handful of really great franchises and new intellectual properties that together really have the economic impact of an annualized business without the detriments of an annualized business.
While what Zelnick says makes a lot of sense, part of it is also kind of crappy on the consumer end because what the heck happened to Red Dead Redemption? That game has been gone for five years. There is no PC port. There has been no news about a sequel or add-on content or anything. It's just gone. There's a fine line between something being gone so long it builds hype and something being gone so long disinterest sets in.
Even still, Zelnick believes that games like GTA, Max Payne and Red Dead are tent pole events that don't have set schedules for release. Other games like BioShock and Borderlands are a bit more frequent to help pad out Take-Two's line-up in between those tent poles.
According to the Gamespot article, though, 2K does have plans for BioShock and Ken Levine's mysterious new project. And given that Rockstar is also busy with GTA Online, don't expect any news about GTA VI anytime soon.