Take-Two, the parent company of GTA and Red Dead developer Rockstar Games, has responded yet again to the Fortnite phenomenon. During an event today, Take-Two president Karl Slatoff started off by saying any game that is massively successful like Fortnite has been is good for gaming because it brings new players to the market.
But will Take-Two release its own battle royale game? While Slatoff said “fast followers” can have success by chasing a trend, games that are direct copies tend to struggle.
“I think there is something to be said about being a fast follower in certain situations,” he said. “But you can’t be a copy cat. You have to innovate.”
Slatoff pointed out that while Fortnite and PUBG exist in the same battle royale genre, they are “very different games.” As anyone who’s played them knows, Fortnite is a stylised, more casual battle royale experience, while PUBG has a more series look and feel to it. The way Fortnite differentiated itself–and the fact that it is free–no doubt contributed to its success. Slatoff added that Fortnite’s base-building element might have appealed to the millions of young people who play Minecraft and are already familiar with building in games.
“You can’t just get out there and do the same thing and hope to be successful,” Slatoff said.
The executive observed that after League of Legends burst onto the scene, many other copy-cat MOBAs popped up–and they struggled. “You’ve got to do something different,” Slatoff explained.
Don’t expect Take-Two to make its own battle royale game. Earlier this month, CEO Strauss Zelnick said he would rather see Take-Two’s labels–including Rockstar and 2K–innovate and create new experiences than follow in the footsteps of other games.
“I think if one changed one’s business to follow other people’s big hits, you’d be constantly playing catch up,” he said. “And to say you wouldn’t be in second place is an understatement. You might remain in last place. So it’s our job to innovate, and more often than not that has driven our success.”
Rockstar is dipping its toes in the battle royale space with GTA Online, which added a battle royale mode called Motor Wars in 2017. And just this week, Rockstar added another battle royale-inspired mode called Trap Door.