Take 2 has announced that Rockstar--developer of Grand Theft Auto among many great gaming series--is working on a new-gen title that’s due out by March 2015, as reported by CVG News. Yes, you could argue that’s about as surprising as Apple announcing it's working on a new iPhone, but it is majorly exciting all the same. Primarily because A: everything Rockstar touches seems to be turning to gold at the moment, and B: it isn’t just an ‘unannounced’ title. It’s an unannounced title that falls exactly in the wrong place to be predictable. And that means we might be getting… anything.
We’ve ‘just’ had GTA 5, at least in terms of that series’ traditional development cycle. Sure, the new game could be a Liberty City Stories-style side-story set in the same universe, which would be plausible, but more likely these days to come as DLC. It could also be the rumoured new-gen/PC port of GTA 5, although the announcement doesn't sound like a port of an existing title. Feels like it's something new.
It could also be the strongly-rumoured Red Dead Redemption sequel. The PS3/360 game sold a heck of a lot of copies and filled a gap that opened up between GTA releases. It might also fit the gap if Rockstar chooses to test the new-gen waters with a franchise other than the mighty GTA. Everyone (except me, it would seem) loves Red Dead Redemption, but nobody seems to be demanding a sequel right now. But that would work and it's plausible.
But then there’s Bully. And that’s personally what I would put money on this title being, even though it's a comparatively dormant franchise, last appearing on Xbox 360 in the shape of Bully: Scholarship Edition. Bully is an awesome game and stands up surprisingly well today given that it was designed for the now two-generations-old PlayStation 2. It's got character. And while it's clearly pressed from the GTA mould, there's also nothing quite like it.
I've covered the possibilities before, but it's worth reiterating the thoughts conjured up at the thought of Bully 2. Bullworth Academy might have the next generation (eh? Eh?) of terrors to whip into shape, or perhaps we could see Jimmy Hopkins enjoying college life instead? The former would probably suit the game better. Children don’t tend to glass each other, shoot each other or do anything that the young adults of GTA games tend to do. If you're a Rockstar game character, as soon as you hit that 18-year-old watershed, you tend to get nasty. Let’s just say a grown-up Jimmy is unlikely to still be using catapults. But catapults are a large part of Bully’s charm.
L.A. Noire 2 is unlikely. Rockstar’s Table Tennis 2 is unlikely too, mainly due to the fact that Take 2 is expecting Rockstar's contribution to deliver 45% of its income for the quarter and Table Tennis probably won't excite people quite that much, although I suppose only as unlikely as the announcement of the original back in 2006. Of course, it might just be another new series altogether. Or maybe even the fabled ‘Agent’ from Rockstar North, now about to celebrate the 7th anniversary of its announcement. Yeah, and Piggsy might fly.
Speaking of which, it could be Manhunt 3. Although how a new-gen Manhunt would ever get past any censorship board is something I can’t personally imagine. Can you imagine how graphic it would be? How massive the outcry? Especially as the game would undoubtedly push the envelope of what is acceptable imagery in an entertainment product. It isn’t Rockstar’s style to play it safe. I'm not sure it's the right product to start the new generation with from Rockstar's point of view.
Despite what I think or would love to see, fact is it could be anything. Could be Rockstar Games Presents Crufts Challenge. Or maybe Rockstar Games Presents OAP Bridge Tournament Night. With next-gen wrinkle physics, secret meds-switching espionage and DLC designs for the backs of the playing cards. Oh, and cheats so you can spawn an Ace... or whatever it is you need to win in a game of Bridge. I don't know. I'm not my elderly neighbor. Maybe she's starring in it. Perhaps I should ask her.
So tell me-- what do you think it will be? Go on, get creative. Let’s have a laugh, eh?