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The idea of using AI in video games has drawn lots of criticism. However, it has not stopped big players in the industry from giving it a try. Earlier this week, Xbox announced a multi-year partnership with Inworld for the creation of new AI tools for games. Now, Take-Two Interactive Boss, Strauss Zelnick has said that scripted NPCs “are not generally interesting”.

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick

The Take-Two boss recently granted an interview at the Paley International Council Summit on November 7 attended by Inverse. At the discussion, Zelnick spoke about the potential of using generative AI to make non-playable characters.

“Everyone’s working on that,” said the Take-Two boss. “You’re a playable character, you’re interacting with the non-playable character. That interaction is currently scripted. The non-playable characters are generally not very interesting. You could imagine all the NPCs becoming really interesting and fun.”

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One thing the Take-Two boss did not expressly say was whether the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 6, which will get its first trailer next month, will include generative AI. Perhaps, he already knows saying that may attract criticism and possibly trim down the size of the game’s fan base.

“I can confirm that Rockstar is working on the next iteration of the Grand Theft Auto franchise. More than that comes from Rockstar.”

Strauss Zelnick

Take-Two is selective about movie adaptations of its IPs


Video game makers are increasingly licensing their IPs for movie production. Earlier this week Nintendo announced a live-action Zelda movie in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment. During Take-Two’s earnings call on Wednesday, the publisher was asked if they were willing to extend Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption IPs beyond video games.

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In response, the Take-Two boss said the company is “very, very selective, and very careful” when it comes to adapting video games to movies or TV series. Although the adaptation of BioShock and Borderlands is already in production, the company is careful because of the potential damage a misstep can cost the brand.

“If we were willing to use the company’s balance sheet to make a movie or a television show, then in the event of great success we would benefit from it. But we’re not prepared to use the company’s balance sheet that way because the risk/reward profile is unappealing to us.”

Strauss Zelnick

Why Take-Two is skeptical about adapting their games to movies


Without a doubt, Zelnick understands the risks that come with making movies because he spent four years as president and chief operating officer of 20th Century Fox. He also served as vice president of international television for Columbia Pictures. Movie audiences tend to be harder to please than video game audiences.

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Zelnick highlighted this point by saying, “The hit rations in the motion picture business are vastly lower than they are in the interactive entertainment business”. According to him, console properties have an 80 to 90% hit ratio while that of a “well-run movie studio” is just around 30%. In other words, a movie licensed by Take-Two has a 70% chance of failure.

“The only way we can be in that business is through a license arrangement with a third party—and let’s put it in context. Mattel said that their expected profits from licensing the Barbie IP for a movie would be about $125 million. Now, Barbie is a massive, massive hit, it’s an extraordinary hit, so you don’t want to posit a massive hit and look at the numbers that way.”

Strauss Zelnick

The Take-Two boss hinted that licensing their IPs will only fetch them a fraction of the amount Mattel made from licensing Barbie which, according to him, is “not really enough to be meaningful”.

“So, in success, the number in terms of the benefits to our bottom line is, it’s not de minimis, it’s not zero, but it’s not really material to what we do around here. In failure, we run the risk of compromising the underlying intellectual property, so it’s a high bar.”

Strauss Zelnick

Take-Two IPs coming to the cinema


It was announced in February 2022 that Take-Two had entered into a partnership with Netflix to produce a live-action film adaptation of Bioshock. The person chosen to direct the movie is none other than Francis Lawrence, the director of The Hunger Games and I Am Legend.

Also, a movie adaptation of Borderlands is scheduled to hit the cinemas on August 9, 2024. Kevin Hart will play the role of Roland, Cate Blanchett as Lilith while Jack Black will step into the shoes of Claptrap. The scripting of the movie is being handled by Eli Roth.

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“We have licensed two properties: Borderlands to Lionsgate and BioShock. We’re looking forward to that as well,” the Take-Two boss said on Wednesday. “We have other titles in discussion, not anything ready to announce. But we’re going to be very, very selective, and very careful.”

According to reports, Rockstar once rejected a deal to turn GTA into a movie that will feature Eminem. The movie would have been directed by Tony Scott, the director of Top Gun.

Are you excited to see Take-Two IPs turned into movies? Do you think they will do well in cinemas? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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