Red Dead Redemption 2 is arguably one of 2018’s most highly-anticipated titles. Fans have been salivating for another chance to roam the untamed frontier since the original game’s Undead Nightmare expansion pack was released in October 2010. However, while hopes are high for the upcoming sequel, Take-Two Interactive is tempering their expectations, especially in comparison to their other gem, Grand Theft Auto V; one of the best-selling games of all-time.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said that the studio isn’t exactly expecting Red Dead Redemption 2 to compete with the staggering success of Grand Theft Auto V.
"It's hard to expect anything to perform as well as the most profitable entertainment product of all time," Zelnick stated. "I don't think that's a realistic expectation. Our hope, and also belief, is that Red Dead Redemption 2 will be an extraordinary creative product and that it will do incredibly well. Beyond that I can't say - I don't think anyone can say. We have to release it and see what consumers think."
For context, only Tetris and Minecraft have outsold Grand Theft Auto V, which has sold more than 90 million units since its September 2013 release on the PlayStation 3, amounting to over $6 billion in revenue.
It is wise for Take-Two to maintain a realistic perspective regarding the success of Red Dead Redemption 2. The game will no doubt find immediate success with fans of the original game, as well as excited newcomers to the series, but it is hard to imagine that the game will come anywhere close to the sales numbers that Grand Theft Auto V has, and continues to churn out.
One of Grand Theft Auto V’s most lucrative money makers has been its online content fueled by the existence of microtransactions. It has already been confirmed that Red Dead Redemption 2 will have an online mode in addition to its single-player campaign. This surely means that the game will have its own online microtransaction economy.
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How this will play out in a year-1899 setting – in which technology is essentially capped at the marvel of the steam engine – remains to be seen. Nevertheless, if anyone can suspend disbelief with its in-game content while still keeping the game grounded in its setting, it’s Take-Two. Flying horses are certainly not an unreasonable expectation.