Grand Theft Auto V developer Rockstar Games’ next project, Red Dead Redemption 2, is expected to be one of the biggest and best-selling games of 2018. But it’s not going to sell as well as Rockstar’s last game, GTA V, according to Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick. Speaking to GI.biz, Zelnick said it would be unrealistic to think Red Dead Redemption 2–or any other game–would sell as well as GTA V. That game has shifted an astonishing 95 million units to become one of the most successful entertainment products of any kind in human history. Red Dead Redemption 2 will still do “incredibly well,” Zelnick said, even if it doesn’t match GTA V’s sales mark.
“It’s hard to expect anything to perform as well as the most profitable entertainment product of all time,” Zelnick said. “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.”
Red Dead Redemption 1, which launched in 2010, was a massive success. It sold 13 million copies as of 2013, and that figure has no doubt risen higher since. Take-Two does not release sales projections, but one analyst believes Red Dead Redemption 2 will sell at least 15 million units.
In April this year, one analyst said Rockstar may never have a bigger hit than Grand Theft Auto V when it comes to sales. “Michael Jackson had a lot of hit albums but he only had one ‘Thriller,'” analyst Doug Creutz said.
Red Dead Redemption 2 launches at the end of October amid a busy release calendar for big-name games. Other huge games coming out in October and November include Battlefield V, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and Fallout 76, among others. Zelnick told GI.biz that while he is confident Red Dead Redemption 2 will sell well, he’s not going to claim success before it’s occured.
“We’re running scared too,” he said. “I think a healthy degree of paranoia and insecurity about releases is probably a good thing. I’m fond of saying 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.”
For lots more on Red Dead Redemption 2, check out all of GameSpot’s previous written and video coverage here.