Take-Two CEO: Red Dead Redemption 2 selling as well as GTA 5 isn't a "realistic expectation"

Red Dead Redemption 2 might engender feverish excitement and it might be the most anticipated game of the year, at least on the platforms where it’s got a release date, but Take-Two isn’t heading towards the game’s launch with expectations of Grand Theft Auto 5 levels of success. 

With sales rising to almost 100 million, Grand Theft Auto 5 is safely one of the best-selling games of all time, only outdone by the likes of Tetris and Minecraft. Despite releasing in 2015 on PC, it’s consistently on the Steam top-sellers list. It’s perhaps not surprising, then, that Take-Two aren’t predicting that Rockstar’s latest will beat it. 

"It's hard to expect anything to perform as well as the most profitable entertainment product of all time," Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told GamesIndustry.biz. "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."

Zelnick is obviously still confident about the cowboy misadventure, no doubt realising that he could probably sell a few million dirty, sweat-smeared stetsons if there was some Red Dead Redemption 2 branding on them. Folk are hungry for a return to the dying Wild West. The original Red Dead Redemption was no slouch in the sales department, either, shifting around 15 million copies, and that was without the benefit of a PC release. 

While a Rockstar release is reason enough for even big publishers to be a bit nervous about launching their games at the same time, Zelnick still sees them as competitors that need to be defeated. They might be scared of Red Dead Redemption 2, but Zelnick believes that “arrogance is the enemy of continued success.”

"We don't believe in our success until we deliver it. We never claim victory until it's occurred. We have very powerful, smart, capable competitors bringing great products to market and we need to win - that means we have to work harder than the next guy."

Red Dead Redemption 2 is due out on consoles on October 26, while a PC version has yet to be announced. A LinkedIn profile recently listed the PC version, but there's still not official word from Rockstar or Take-Two.

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.