The way video games are promoted and made must change. Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto developer GTA6 is proof of this. We all know that the game exists. However, its official announcement is made in a press release regarding yet another HTML5 port.
S ports for GTA 5. S, Updates to GTA Online, and More.” That “more,” as it turns out, includes Rockstar’s first official confirmation that GTA 6 is in development.
It reads, “With the incredible longevity of GT5 we know many have been asking about a new entry to the Grand Theft Auto Series,” “With each new project that we undertake, our goal always is to significantly exceed what we have delivered previously — and we are happy to confirm that active development is underway for the next entry to the Grand Theft Auto series. We are eager to share more information as soon as possible, so keep checking the Rockstar Newswire to get official details.
Hence, Rockstar took so long to admit what everyone knew.
IT SHOULDN’T HAVE TAKEN THAT LONG — For years, rumors and alleged leaks concerning GTA6 have swirled. The predecessor, GTA5 was released in September 2013. First credible reports about the sequel’s progress were made by Jason Schreier, a games journalist. He reported to Kotaku that Rockstar was changing its approach to developing the title.
He wrote that the management had a plan for the next Grand Theft Auto game. It would start with a moderately-sized release (which by Rockstar’s standards would still be large) and then expand with frequent updates over time. This may help to mitigate stress and crunch.
He reiterated the following month in an interview to Inverse, “I don’t think it’s any big secret that [they’re] working on another GTA.”
Also, GTA6 work was secretive for nearly two years. Why? Who was it that benefited? What was the reasoning behind this? It would have been better to issue the February 2022 declaration in April 2020, even though the game was still in production.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS Vs. ANNOUNCING EARLY — Strauss Zelnick (CEO of Take-Two Interactive), was famously agitated when asked about GTA 5 announcements.
Take-Two is known for keeping such announcements secret for as long possible. Take a look at Cyberpunk2077. Announced in 2012 and teased in 2013, the game was delayed numerous times. The game finally launched in December 2020, after a lengthy promotional campaign that saw Keanu Reeves appear on-stage at before a crowd of screaming fans. By most accounts, we’d consider Cyberpunk 2077 a total debacle. It was one of the most disappointing and frustrating big-budget launches in recent history. It’s mostly the result of a hype train lasting eight years that created unrealistic expectations.
Final Fantasy VII: Remake was announced at E3 2015. Its long production took almost five years. However, the April 2020 launch provided a refined, engaging, engaging and enjoyable experience for both newcomers as well as Final Fantasy fans.
It doesn’t matter when or how you announce a game if it is good enough without bugs.
Secretiveness is no longer a good way to manage expectations in an age of digital media, where rumors and leaks are spreading like wildfire and fans have so many opinions online. We have total transparency on the other end.
Early access releases and continuous updates are the key to some of the most successful gaming titles in recent history. Fortnite was in “Early Access” for three years. Its evolution with new seasonal content and map changes has greatly contributed to its continued success. The Game Awards 2018 announced that the Roguelike Hades would be released in September 2020. It went on to be the Game of the Year for almost everyone.
Anthem, Warframe, and Outriders were all labeled “Destiny killers” in the industry. Yet, Destiny 2 continues to thrive today because of a holistic approach to development. Anthem? Dead. Outriders? It’s not something that anyone talks about anymore. Bungie’s game development approach is so popular that Sony purchased the company this week. This was not because of the Destiny franchise but for its unbeatable and successful approach to game development.
THE INVERSE ANALYSIS — It is a little absurd that Rockstar Games has waited so long to announce that GTA 6 was in development. Transparency is the best way for managing expectations. It doesn’t matter if there is a lot of hype created by complete secrecy. But if developers deliver a solid gaming experience, it won’t matter. The GTA6 confirmation is the most interesting piece of gaming that will emerge from the action-packed first weeks of 2022.