Take-Two Interactive's quarterly investor call took place on the 7th, and just like we suggested, some major Red Dead Redemption 2 news dropped before it - namely, a delay coupled with a concrete release date. We now know that Red Dead Redemption 2 will be released October 26th, 2018.
The delay is Red Dead Redemption 2's second. Initially, the game was slated for a Fall 2017 release, which was first pushed back to Spring 2018, and now to October, meaning the game slipped a whole full year beyond the first announced window. While games usually delayed for the sake of further polish turn out for the better (just look at The Witcher 3) fans and investors would of course still like the game to launch sooner rather than later.
While giving a concrete release date instead of a several-month window looks promising, it hardly acts as a guarantee, and after two delays, the question of whether this date can be believed had to be asked. In response, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick assured investors that he's confident in the game's current release date - though that is something he's said before.
Zelnick explained that the company has always prided itself on the quality of their games, and that the excellence they strive for is more important than the speed with which they release their titles, or financial concerns for that matter. As such, when Rockstar asked for more time to polish the game, Take-Two was happy to give it.
This release date will also put Red Dead Redemption 2 right before, or arguably at the very beginning, of the holiday season, which has many benefits in terms of sales - not that Red Dead Redemption 2 should really need any help in that regard. Zelnick highlighted this boon, and stated that the company doesn't intend to waste this opportunity, so they'll try and stick to the release date.
Zelnick then went on an aside to praise, in general terms, the folks over at Rockstar working on Red Dead Redemption 2. With all the hype surrounding the game, we should hope that it's going to be a masterpiece, and Zelnick seems confident in this (though a businessman pushing their own product isn't anything new). He also reiterated that the development team is committed to the quality of the game above all else, without any financial motivations.
Fan reaction to this investor call hasn't been too peachy though. Many who are eager to play Red Dead Redemption 2 pointed out that this isn't the first time Take-Two's CEO was "confident" in a release date, and mentioning the benefits of a holiday season release made it seem like the delay was manufactured, and the game is actually ready.
On that note, it's absolutely possible for a game to require this much additional work and polish, especially when its one on the scale of Red Dead Redemption 2, and has such high expectations to fulfill. This wouldn't be the first game to have such a long development time and still need extra work.
For all the talk about happily providing more time for polish, releasing Red Dead Redemption 2 as soon as possible is in Take-Two's best interest. The notion that this is some conspiracy and the game is ready to launch right now, with the delay simply being made up, is nonsensical and would be a horrible business misstep that an experienced corporation like Take-Two just wouldn't take.
We're also fairly certain that Red Dead Redemption 2 won't get delayed any further. While other titles rather release sooner and fix things with patches, Rockstar is going the other route with these delays, but that doesn't exclude post-launch fixes. Right now Red Dead Redemption 2 could be in a state that is indeed playable, and possibly even on par with other AAA releases, but this just means there will be less issues to sort out later - and no ridiculous day one patch.