Ignore the fact that Michael Pachter is involved, and Grand Theft Auto V being released in October this year isn’t as crazy as it sounds. I don’t care what the internet says, it could definitely happen.
First of all, Pachts isn’t as horribly wrong "all the time" as the reputation installed upon him. He had a few bad calls early on, but has played it safe of late. All of his claims are worded to be understood by cashed-up businessmen who can’t distinguish between the X-Station and PlayBox. While they may come across as moronic to gamers, most of the time they are blatantly obvious.
It's been a long time since he has something as speculative as "GTA V will replace BioShock in October," with such little substance.
Pachter and a risky statement would normally be enough to suggest it definitely won’t happen, but I did say we would ignore the old codger.
Rockstar releasing Max Payne 3 is more or less the only substantial reason we have to assume GTA V won’t be out this year. In 2011 it only published L.A. Noire. In 2010, Red Dead Redemption was its only credit. Recent history suggests Max will get 2012 all to himself.
However, 2008 doesn’t want to be forgotten. It saw the release of GTA IV -- Rockstar’s biggest franchise -- along with Midnight Club: Los Angeles. A late-April and an October release in the same year. Rockstar has done it before.
I’m not pretending that Midnight Club is of the same pedigree as Max Payne. It’s a popular series, but from a strictly business perspective, the two franchises are incomparable.
These are interesting times. Rockstar will release GTA V when it's good and ready, but parent company Take-Two will be more than happy to make it happen sooner rather than later if Rockstar is compliant. Following the delay of BioShock Infinite -- another game published by a Take-Two entity in 2K -- from October to February, 2013, all of a sudden it has a massive void to fill.
The holiday period of October to December must be of stark concern to Take-Two, unless Pachter is actually right. Maybe there is something afoot and Rockstar were always a chance to have GTA V ready this year.
We were never explicitly told that it couldn’t happen. We just kind of assumed that March, 2013, seemed far more likely. It was the logical fit and everyone in the know seemed happy to vaguely go along with it, confident that it would be released sometime during the next 12 months.
The possibility of a Wii U timed exclusive is crazy. That won’t happen, but even as a release around the console’s launch, it will be massive for both Rockstar and Nintendo. If there’s little to be gained between an October release and an early 2013 release, Rockstar, Take-Two and Nintendo will want GTA V as close to the Wii U’s launch as possible.
The launch of new hardware won’t have any bearing on the game’s actual release, but it must be in the back of a lot of minds right about now.
To cap it all off, it’s probably been in development for years already. An announcement several years before release is becoming rarer and rarer. It’s no longer uncommon for a game to only first be made public less than 12 months before its release.
We should still be skeptical. Besides the BioShock delay, there’s little so suggest 2012 will be a GTA year. Yet, it’s not a completely crazy notion.
By Ben Salter - Bio