In its call with investors following its Q1 results, Take-Two execs confirmed that BioShock producer was still involved in the 2K Marin sequel, that 2009 would bring another sequel to a triple-A Rockstar game, and hinted at the possibility of a new Max Payne title as film production ramps up.
Asked why the BioShock IP had moved to 2K Marin, and whether Levine was still attached to the project, company CEO Ben Feder said that Levine was a "terrific asset to the company," and that he was working on both BioShock 2 and a different IP.
2K Boston and Australia were both working on a new title, he said, but that was "not to say Ken is not involved" in the continuation of the BioShock franchise.
Asked where Rockstar might be headed now that production of Grand Theft Auto IV was winding down, company execs said that in addition to the Xbox 360 downloadable content expected in both Q4 of this year and in 2009, the company would be releasing "at least one major sequel in 2009," though no further details were given beyond saying the game would be a "triple A sequel."
The company was also questioned about the prospects for a new volume in the Max Payne franchise, given more recent news on the forthcoming movie version has been surfacing.
Chairman Strauss Zelnick cryptically alluded to an Orson Welles commercial, saying "we will sell no wine before its time" -- in other words, would release no details before they were ready -- but added that there were "a lot of interesting things going on."
The EA Factor
Throughout the call, all executives stressed that the forthcoming quarter, fiscal year, and into 2009 were well positioned to "reap the benefits" of both the company's turnaround plan, and its stable of owned IP and industry talent.
The call opened with Zelnick's reiteration of prior company releases saying that EA's "unsolicited" offer of $26 a share drastically undervalued the company, and failed to compensate Take-Two shareholders for the synergies EA would receive should the acquisition go through.
Zelnick went through its IP sales numbers: GTA selling 66 million units to date, Midnight Club 11.5 million, Civilization 8 million, Max Payne 7 million, Mafia 2 million, BioShock 2 million, Red Dead Revolver, Manhunt, and Bully all 1.5 million, and Carnival Games approaching 1 million sold thus far.
Feder reiterated as well that the board and ownership was continuing to work to transform the company, increasing its strength and its value for shareholders, and make it "the most creative, innovative, and efficient" company in the industry.