Why we won't see Grand Theft Auto V in 2012
If Rockstar and its community were in a relationship, lets just say that the developer would be the "non-expressive" type who doesn't share their feelings. When we were all excited for the reveal trailer of Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar failed to express just "who" the upcoming title star will be. Instead of gangs, drugs, and fast cars, we were given crop dusters, wind farms, and a normal, everyday city with normal everyday people. On second thought, Rockstar may be smarter than we can imagine, and they're confusing us just to reveal a massive, one-of-a-kind game that will hopefully be a land-mark in the open-world genre. Either way, everyone is excited for GTA V, and though the company says we will see the game in 2012, all signs point to 2013.
By now, you're probably wanting to smack me in the face for my prediction, but sit back for a second and analyze who Rockstar is. Yes, they are massive. Yes, they are a predominant force in the gaming world, and yes, everyone will buy GTA V, but this doesn't mean that they like to share, especially with their most coveted franchise. Look back for a second at Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption. Both titles had the ability to be massive fall releases, and sell the amount of copies they did when they released, but Rockstar took a different route.
See, Rockstar doesn't have to worry about the amount of copies they will sell, because they are iconic with gamers, and their games sell incredibly well (okay, they still have to be concerned about units sold, but not to the extreme of most developers). Instead, Rockstar wants their games to be talked about — a lot. They put their triple-A titles out in the spring because it's gaming's "dead months" where there aren't that many quality titles. By doing this, their game is the talk of the industry, and it plays right into their marketing scheme. Think back to this last fall; a conversation between two gamers looked like this: "Oh man, Skyrim is an awesome game." "Yeah, dude, I know, but I am also enjoying MW3, BF3, Saints Row: The Third, and Assassin's Creed: Revelations." Just imagine if Skyrim was released in the spring. All you would've heard for four or five months was Skyrim, Skyrim, and more Skyrim. It still sold millions, but its popularity was shared with several other fantastic games.
If that doesn't help you comprehend my prediction, then lets look at the reveal trailer. The game looks pretty and features a vast amount of landscapes, but the lack of "Grand Theft Auto-ness" shows that Rockstar is still in its core production stages. The trailer revealed little story, aside from America's struggling economy and a character who's running from his past. However, the trailer did show that the game is going to be massive in every sense of the word. This massive world, though, was not filled with gang bangers and high speed chases like we've come to know and love. Instead, it was filled with normalcy and life in the west. This could be telling us that Rockstar is still working to utilize the game's landscape to its full potential in a way that we saw in GTA IV.
Lastly, Rockstar knows we are all going to buy GTA V day one, no questions asked, so why not let us get more anxious by delaying it to early 2013? By delaying the game, it automatically generates a buzz that will have people talking from the end of this year to 2013. Mix that excitement with some stunning gameplay and marketing, and gamers will practically be lining up to play another Grand Theft Auto. If gamers are still chatting about GTA V's delay when games like Halo 4 and BioShock Infinite hit stores, then we're playing right into the hands of Rockstar and all their brilliance.
I know you're all saying that we have to see GTA V in 2012, especially with the world ending (thanks Mayans), but there's a substantial amount of teasers from the developer's past, and the most recent trailer, showing that we'll see it in the spring of 2013. This fall is packed with triple-A, must-have games that will take up all your gaming time and more, so why be upset at a GTA V delay? I'd rather be living the American dream several hours a night, shooting cars with a RPG, than sharing it with Master Chief anyway.
You can follow Tate Steinlage on Twitter - @SteinlageT