Just last week, Rockstar Games pinpointed a September 17th release date for its long in the making, open-world opus, Grand Theft Auto 5. By the developer’s own admission, that date is “about four months later than originally planned,” but according to Rockstar, the delay is simply a result of the game needing “a little more polish.” Sounds reasonable enough, right?
Apparently, not everyone agrees. In the wake of Rockstar’s announcement, a rash of opinions about the “real reason” for the game’s delay began to surface, with one theory – that next-gen versions of Grand Theft Auto 5 will launch alongside the new systems this Fall – gaining much more traction than the rest.
It can’t have helped that Sony released the “See the Future” trailer the very same day Rockstar confirmed Grand Theft Auto 5′s release date. Suddenly, a simple confluence of events gained the appearance of a coordinated effort – this despite the fact that Take-Two Interactive‘s stock price dropped nearly 12% on the news of GTA 5′s delay.
Soon enough,Â Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz weighed in, lending some authority to the notion that next-gen versions of GTA 5 might be forthcoming.
“In and of itself, the delay of the game from FQ1 to FQ2 would not normally mean any significant change to expected FY14 financial results.”
“However there is an issue in that we expect the next generation of Xbox and/or PlayStation consoles to launch in the December quarter. We think the closer proximity of GTA V to the next cycle could, at the margin, impact lifetime sales of the title, though we believe that a title of GTA’s stature will still be a major seller regardless.”
“We think there also could be some impact on the legs of likely GTA V downloadable content as the next-gen installed base increases through 2014. However, we suspect Take-Two may have plans to eventually publish GTA V on the next set of consoles in some form to offset this.”
Granted, Grand Theft Auto 5 is an awfully important title to release so close to the purported end of the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 life cycle – by some projections, it’ll be the biggest selling game of the year – and Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has already commented onÂ the DLC that Creutz references. Nevertheless, Rockstar’s Dan Houser has been resolute in insisting that GTA 5 is aÂ current-gen game, and his company is sticking to that assertion. In the comments section of the GTA 5 release dateÂ announcementÂ on the Rockstar Newswire, the company is quick to dismiss any and all “conspiracy theories.”
“To those of you saying or seeing various conspiracy theories about there being some other ulterior motive for this delay, rest assured that theyâ€™re all nonsense â€“ literally the only reason weâ€™ve delayed the release is because we want the game to be as good as it needs to be.”
That would seem to be that. Then again, Houser has stated on the record that “everythingÂ is up for consideration,” suggesting that Grand Theft Auto 5 might yet find a home on Wii U, PC, or the next-gen consoles. And let’s not forget that Rockstar has been hiring for next-gen development.
As always, timing is everything. To state the obvious, we know when GTA 5 is coming out; the same can not be said ofÂ PlayStation 4 or Xbox 720. Still, whenever the new consoles do hit retail, Take-Two Interactive will be prepared. It’ll have to be, if not with Grand Theft Auto 5 then withÂ something – and the company has likely already been briefed on Sony and Microsoft’s tentative next-gen launch plans. Of course, there remains the possibility that neither console will go on sale this year, making the whole argument a moot point, but whatever the case may be, I doubt we’ve heard the last about GTA 5 for next-gen.
What do you think, Ranters? Is Rockstar preparing next-gen versions of Grand Theft Auto 5? Will the new consoles even be released this year? Let us know in the comments below.
Grand Theft Auto 5 releases September 17, 2012, for Xbox 360 and PS3.
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