Aside from making critically acclaimed video games and obscene amounts of cash monies from said critically acclaimed titles, Rockstar Games is the undisputed King of Silence.
Take-Two is the publisher and owner of Rockstar Games but even they dare not peek to closely into the inner secrets of Rockstar lest they go mad. CEO Strauss Zelnick has declared fans will soon learn about "some exciting future projects" from the developer.
That sounds promising, except when you compare such declarations with past events and soon conclude: Zelnick might as well have said nothing. We've been promised reveals and announcements 'soon' before and they rarely occur.
During the Q1 earnings call, CEO Zelnick delcared Rockstar was "hard at work on some exciting future projects that will be revealed soon," but this matches almost exactly what he said earlier back in May.
Rockstar Games is notoriously tight-lipped on its projects with a practical gold-standard in keeping secrets buried deep until the studio is ready to make an official reveal. Some things do manage to break through however, which leads us to the possible suspect list...
What could Rockstar Games 'reveal soon' to the world?
• Red Dead Something-or-other
The open world cowboy action-adventure that is Red Dead Redemption is a major piece of video game history now, promising us a life of frontier living with bandits, corrupt and unscrupulous Federal Marshals and sneaky wildlife. The 'GTA of the Wild West'.
It's widely believed that Rockstar has been working on a new Red Dead although specifics on exactly how this would look remain, typically, in the minds of tin-foil hat wearers. Could it be a direct sequel to Red Dead Redemption or a whole new chapter in the series?
According to a leaked map (below) of the new Red Dead's game world it would seem to be at least set in the same world of RDR's John Marston.
Likely platforms of course would be Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with hopefully a PC version not too far off. Now that Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are effectively dead horses at this stage of the cycle Rockstar should skip over them in favour of greater GPU budgets, which increases the chances for a PC launch.
• Bully: Extra Prank Edition
Another big time piece of Rockstar history is the original PlayStation 2 game Bully. That game that indoctrinated kids to terrorise their schoolyard friends, go on panty raids in girl dormitories and separate into differing cliques and factions leading to an all-out war climaxing in a showdown atop the school's roof.
Despite the media scare of how horrible such a virtual piece of entertainment was, it sold big time, proving just how awful a society we live in, or something. Despite this Rockstar Games in fact re-released Bully for Xbox 360 and even PC with the Scholarship Edition.
It has been described as one of the favourite IP universes with a co-founder of Rockstar teasing they've been mulling over script ideas for ages. Have they been secretly moving forward with a new Bully?
Unfortunately this particular franchise has been plagued with brief glimmers of hope for years before falling into utter silence. Even composer Shawn Lee who scored the game had said he'd been working on something new related to Bully. "Yes. It looks like I will be doing the soundtrack for Bully 2 in the not so distant future," Lee said back in late 2009.
Absolutely nothing hints toward there being a sequel or spin-off anytime soon.
Once a PlayStation 3 exclusive, Agent was Rockstar Games' announced attempt at starting a fresh new IP that would focus on the Cold War era of espionage in the 1970s. It was announced officially back in 2009 at E3 but then slipped back into the shadows.
The project has never been heard from again but Take-Two insisted there were cloak and dagger plots being hatched still, back in May 2011. Interestingly two trademarks were registered in July 2013 and then renewed in January of this year.
Does Agent still have a future or are Take-Two just sitting on the IP paperwork for safe keeping? It obviously wouldn't be a PlayStation 3 exclusive anymore but it could remain in camp PlayStation at least.
• Grand Theft Auto
It's a given Rockstar will be working on new GTA ideas as it's a massive hit success for the developer and Take-Two. It almost literally prints billions of dollars and proves virtual crime pays off. With GTA Online the franchise has achieved new heights of industry success.
"Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online, once again performed significantly better than we'd anticipated, and continue to generate remarkable results as they have in every quarter since their release," said Zelnick during the recent Q1 earnings call.
"In addition, Grand Theft Auto Online continues to grow with the game delivering record bookings in the first quarter. Rockstar Games has driven sustained engagement and increased recurrent consumer spending by exciting audiences with the ongoing release of a rich array of free additional content."
"The incredible staying power of Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online nearly three years after their original release, reflects that these titles remain the standard bearers for excellence in our industry and underscores consumer's tireless passion for this iconic series," added the CEO.
It will be interesting to see what Rockstar Games does when moving forward with Grand Theft Auto. The base game of GTA V sold incredibly well and came with GTA Online as part of the package. Will future releases separate the two or will they remain together?
Rockstar had said they planned additional story-based DLCs for the single-player GTA V game, but that appears to have been scrapped and instead more focus put on GTA Online's growth of new content and activities.
Will a new GTA be on the horizon already?
• L.A Noire: The FaceTime Caper
Since L.A. Noire's original developer Team Bondi has disappeared following numerous reports of problems and other shenanigans, the future of the 1940s-set action-adventure seems rather uncertain. Rockstar Games however control the IP and so would do something with it.
You'd have to get some top Rockstar brass in an interview room first and read their faces and body language, and hope your collection of evidence is enough for a confession. L.A. Noire was most notable for the extensive amount of actor face capture that went into it.
Back in early 2012, Rockstar answered a number of fan questions and remarked that they're "considering what the future may hold for L.A. Noire as a series," but that the studio "don't always rush to make sequels". In March 2013, Take-Two COO Karl Slatoff said L.A. Noire was an important franchise to the company.
If L.A. Noire did get a sequel would it approach detective work the same way? Would face capture performance play so large a role? The original game was a quite linear experience.
• Max Payne: Prescription Renewal
The pain pill popping Max Payne is another major franchise under Rockstar Games' belt and they took the IP in a very different direction with Max Payne 3 as it moved entirely out of the Eastern side of the United States and went vacationing in Brazil instead.
The gruff detective had retired from the police force and was a private security contractor and bodyguard. Soon enough things went south and Max ended up taking on an almost entirely corrupt paramilitary wing of the Brazilian police force, as well as some gangs.
It still had the trademark bullet time with different accented goons cussing you out. We did get to briefly revisit our roots from the original Max Payne games from Remedy Entertainment in some flashback sequences.
Has Max Payne finally hung up his guns for the last time or will some upstart punks call him out of retirement and self-exile again?
Take-Two will be present later this month at Gamescom 2016 in Cologne, Germany. What they'll be announcing, revealing or showcasing is anyone's guess for the time being.
Gamescom 2016 runs August 17-21. If they have any PlayStation exclusives or Sony deals then we might be waiting until later October as Sony are skipping Gamescom for the Paris Games Week, which is held October 27-31.