Giddyup! All over the world, console videogamers are busy reacquainting themselves with John Marston and the Wild West setting of Blackwater in Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2, the long-awaited, much-anticipated sequel to 2010’s beloved Red Dead Redemption and the third instalment of the series which began with Red Dead Revolver in 2004. Meanwhile, the stock price of Rockstar’s parent company, Take-Two Interactive (TTWO.NASDAQ), is going on its own wild ride at the moment.
Sales of Red Dead Redemption 2 are said to be off to a flying start. Gamers crammed retail stores in the past four days to get their hands on the next chapter of Rockstar’s epic property. U.S. preorder numbers as of Sept. 15 showed more than 400,000 units for the PS4 and Xbox One platforms, outranked at the time only by Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. In the UK, initial sales of RDR2 were said to be double that of RDR, with FIFA 19 being the only other game to outgun it.
Industry pundits estimate 20 million physical copies of RDR2 will be sold by the end of 2018, which would make it one of the most popular games to be unveiled this year. Despite that, TTWO’s stock price is diving a bit after a spike last Thursday, the day before RDR2 hit the market.
The Thursday-to-Monday chart shows how volatile the price has been since the Western-themed first-person shooter was released. The price spiked in the wake of glowing advance reviews from sites across the Web.
“(RDR2) is both an exhilarating glimpse into the future of entertainment and a stubborn torch-bearer for an old-fashioned kind of video game design. It is a remarkable work of game development and, possibly, a turning point in how we remark upon the work of game development. It is amazing; it is overwhelming.” – Kirk Hamilton, Kotaku
The hoopla was tempered somewhat by an outcry over Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser basically admitting that the company was grinding its employees with “100-hour weeks” in the runup to the RDR2 release.
It was a gigantic undertaking: 300,000 animations; 500,000 lines of dialogue; hundreds of edits for every trailer and cutscene; a 2,000-page main story script; 1,200 SAG-AFTRA actors employed; 2,200 days of motion-capture work; and 192 separate interactive musical scores.
The stock has a ways to go before approaching the USD$138 level it achieved in September, but if RDR2 sales are able to match its lofty expectations, no one should be surprised if TTWO surpasses that mark.
***UPDATED ON TUESDAY, OCT. 30, 2018***
Take-Two’s stock has skyrocketed after the company revealed Red Dead Redemption 2 earned USD$725 million in its first three days.
This makes RDR2 the second-best release in the company’s history: Grand Theft Auto V brought in USD$1 billion in its first 72 hours after being released in September 2013.