PS3 to blame for GTA IV delay?
Speculation ahoy, but analyst Michael Pachter claims that Grand Theft Auto IV has been pushed back from its October release date into the fiscal year 2008 (i.e. before the end of April) because of problems Rockstar has experienced getting the game up to scratch on the PlayStation 3.
He says the Xbox 360 version has suffered a delay of possibly up to six months because of contractual obligations between Sony and Take-Two which prevents the publisher from releasing the game first on Microsoft’s console.
Amongst other things, he said:
“We think it is likely that the Rockstar team had difficulty in building an exceptionally complicated game for the PS3, and failed to recognise how far away from completion the game truly was until recently.
“We think it is also likely that Take-Two had a contractual commitment to Sony that it would not favour competitor Microsoft by launching the Xbox 360 version of GTA IV prior to launching the PS3 version, and believe that any delay of the PS3 version necessitated a delay of the Xbox 360 version.
“Take-Two management stumbled badly for the first time during their tenure.
“While the delay of GTA IV was clearly not the fault of new management, we believe that it should have been better understood several months ago, and should have been communicated to investors much earlier than today.
“The company has begun an initiative to improve the green light process for new projects, but given the delays of Manhunt and GTA, its process for monitoring projects under development appears to be a failure.”
However, some sources seem to think it is simply a case of Rockstar North biting off more than they can chew – particularly in building the game on their relatively unproven RAGE (Rockstar Advanced Game Engine) engine, which has previously only been tested on Rockstar Presents Table Tennis, as opposed to a huge and vibrant gameworld expected from a GTA game.
Commenting on the delay last night, Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick refused to lay the blame at anyone’s door citing it would be to no-one’s benefit to discuss such matters. This is bound to be a blow to the continually-troubled publisher, as GTA is far and away their biggest publisher, but I’m no-one would argue that they would rather Rockstar take the time to get the game right.