We Need to Talk About Rockstar
Owned by Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar Games has put out some seriously impactful titles over the years. Most notably entries from the Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption franchises.
Grand Theft Auto V released back in 2013 and has so far sold 175 million copies worldwide. This is not only because of its vast single-player story, but also and perhaps more heavily due to the developer’s continued support of the multiplayer mode GTA Online. As of the end of 2022 Rockstar has released 47 major content updates/DLC for GTA Online since it was released. There is no denying that this backing from the developer is why the game is still selling as well as it is all these years later. For contrast, Red Dead Redemption 2, which was released in 2018 has sold 50 million copies worldwide. Like GTA V, Red Dead Redemption 2 features an online mode (Red Dead Online), however, in the five years that Red Dead Online has been available only eight major updates were rolled out. Rockstar has also announced (back in July 2022) that they will no longer provide major updates to Red Dead Online, effectively killing that playerbase. Think about that for a minute, eight updates in its five-year lifespan, and 47 updates in GTA Online's 10 years.
Listen, I know money is what keeps companies in business, but to me it almost feels like Rockstar has been setting up its other IP’s to fall short due to their own practices. I mean how was RDR2 ever going to keep up with GTA V under these conditions? Given that Rockstar rarely provides DLC for a game's single-player mode these days (R.I.P unplayably broken Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare), it is entirely on its online community to provide continued revenue and sales well after the game has launched. But, if you don’t provide a reason (such as a steady flow of new content) for people to stay interested, then those sales will start to dry up as the game ages.
The year of 2022 gave us even more evidence towards this point, a planned next-gen update for Red Dead Redemption 2, that would have included native 4k resolution, FPS boosts, and made it so players could take advantage of that sweet PlayStation 5 DuelSense controller was cancelled. Again it is worth noting the difference in treatment here, as Grand Theft Auto V was given an upgrade for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. And if that did not hurt enough, talks about remastering or remaking the original Red Dead Redemption were shelved. This is pretty gut-wrenching as it most likely would have brought Red Dead Redemption to PC for the first time. Honestly, at this point, what reason is Rockstar giving its fans to buy or play anything other than GTA V and its online mode?
It is not as though the developer has been sitting around doing nothing though, as mentioned in this article they have teams that support GTA Online and at least keep the lights on over at Red Dead Online, and a small outside developer called Groove Street Games was contracted by Rockstar to develop the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition which was released in 2021 (and was a disaster). It is also unsurprising that resources for Grand Theft Auto VI have slowly been ramping up since 2018 as development on that game increases.
As a big fan of Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire I really hope that going forward Rockstar decides to give its other titles more of a chance, rather than rigging the cards and then betting on the newest GTA every time. If not, then the least Rockstar can do is release official modding tools/support for their games, allowing the PC community to do what Rockstar won’t. Do you agree? Let us know how you feel down in the comments section.
Dorothy Pope - 02:23pm, 28th February 2023
I rather play RDR2 than GTA I feel that rock star would rather give GTA updates than give updates to RDR2 is a cool game!
JaseTay - 07:01pm, 28th February 2023 Author
Sadly, you are correct. Based on the evidence, GTA is where they perfer to spend their time and resources. The argument of GTA just making more money goes out the window once you account for the difference in long-term support between the two franchises. Essententially, Rockstar chose which franhise was going to be thier money-maker all on their own. The gaming community had little to nothing to do with it.
2Pistol_Annie - 01:10am, 26th May 2023
I agree with you on that, it is sad they have just let RDR2 settle in the dust.
JaseTay - 08:45pm, 26th May 2023 Author
Yep, in my opinion Red Dead Redemption 2 is superior to GTA 5 in terms of story, graphics, characters, and being cinematic. But RockStar choose to milk GTA 5 for all it was worth, so GTA 5 ended up living longer and making more money.
Ejdenselmanaj - 06:23pm, 1st March 2023
itsallsticky - 08:37pm, 26th May 2023
i cant lie GTA 5 was always my fo to game until it all became about micro transactions so you could always have the upper hand against your online opponents so i moved to red dead redemption which was the game that made me stick with microsoft and i absolutely love the game still but then we were hit with rdr2 i pre purchased it having faith i would love it well i didnt they completely changed the game but it took a while and ive settled in to loving it but where as gta5 1 car has a million color options why couldnt the tdr2 team figure something out as letting me change my horses color love the game sad its dying out to gta which isnt as great i mean you can even get apts in gta NO HOUSING IN RDR2
JaseTay - 09:04pm, 26th May 2023 Author
There is nothing wrong with GTA 5, it is a good game, I just feel RockStar did not give Red Dead Redemption 2 anywhere near the same chance at post-release growth that GTA 5 recieved. And that their decision to support GTA 5 over Red Dead Redemption 2 was made without anything to do regarding the gamers and fans.