Media Ownership• Who is Rockstar?Rockstar Games was founded in 1998 in New York Cityby the British producers Sam Houser (President), DanHouser, Terry Donovan, Jamie King and Gary Foreman.Today the company is the subsiduary of Take-TwoInteractive and is well established as a video gamedeveloper and a publisher. The brand is most knownfor being the publishers behind Grand Theft Auto, MaxPayne, Midnight Club and the Red Dead series – all ofwhich are open world games.
• What do they own?The label has studios established all over the world – NewYork, Los Angeles, Vienna, Leeds, Toronto, just to mention afew. Most of these began their buisness life as independentcompanies, but were later acquired by Take-Two, renamedand ‘converted’ into a subsidiary of the Rockstar group. Oneexample is ‘Barking Dog Studios’ which was converted into‘Rockstar Vancouver ‘. The reasons why Take-Two chose totake over already established offices, instead of setting themup from scratch, are:1. They get a team of employees who are used to working together2. They get the building3. They get the studio’s contacts4. They get all the hardware5. They get related to all kudos given to the studio before it was coverted.
• Who in all this is the Publisher, the Developer and the Distributor?Publisher: Rockstar Games Inc.Game developer: Rockstar San DiegoDistributor: Ditan DistributionsThis is a clear example of vertical integration as Take-Twoowns and controls all these companies.An example of horizontal integration is the fact that theSoftware developer is ‘Natural Motion’, a company notowned or controlled by Take-Two. Rockstar San Diego haddeveloped the RAGE engine for the game, but needed theengines Euphoria (developed by Natural Motion, proprietarysoftware) and Bullet (open source) for the characteranimation and the physics of the game. This cross-mediaconvergence is important as the companies benefit fromeachother.
Making the gameMaking a game is a long and complex process.1. Preproduction: Deciding on the storyline, often ideas come from gamedesigners, pitched from outsiders, based on movies, or. spin-offs from other games. When the storyline is set, writers, designers and artists make a storyboard, just like in films, only with a game every ‘new world’ and level needs to be sketched out.2. Creating the Characters: Firstly, they are sketched by hand, then made into 3D characters.3. Putting it all in motion: The game programmers bring the characters to life, by using techniques depending on the type of game and motion desired.4. Creating the game world: Game programmers create the environment down to every detail.5. Making the code: The computer language instructions that control every aspect of the game, making it all work together.6. Postproduction: This phase includes extensive testing, review, marketing and finally, distribution. Usually during this testing phase, a copy of the game is sent to the Entertainment Software Rating Board to be given a rating. These ratings are intended to give consumers an idea of the content of the game and its appropriateness for different age groups.7. Marketing: Demos and trailers are released to hype the attention around the game.
Gaming Platforms•What gaming platform is the game avaliable on? Ps3 (Sony) and Xbox360 (Microsoft)These consoles are targeted at adult, hardcoregamers, and most games certificated at 18+ (nudity,violence and strong language in games) areavaliable on these platforms.The other gaming platforms on the market at themoment, are Wii and Nintendo 3DS – both of whichare targeted a family, younger audience. Games onthese consoles are mostly casual games, and theowners of these consoles are unlikely to go out andbuy RDR. Therefor RDR will make more money onbeing avaliable on Ps3 and Xbox360.
Technical Convergence•Which technologies?Internet, optical reader, music library, image display, online store, downloadcontent.•How does this impact players?The players can download ‘Download Content’ as it becomes avaliable on theonline market. Currently there are four Red Dead DLC’s: Undead Nightmare Liars and Cheats Legends and Killers Outlaws to the End (co-op mission pack)These packs mean that the players get more revenue, more characters, newmaps, achievements and trophies. This gives the game greater depth, createsmore competition and encourages winning.This gives the game a lot of interesting features, and more people want to buy it– more money to the producers!
Intertextuality•Is there any intertextuality in RDR?Red Dead Redemption is of the same genre as western films, and builds onthe same stories. Many images from the game, for example the front cover,are very similar to famous stills from older western movies. Also thecharacters look similar to the actors in these movies, for example ClintEastwood known from many western films.Since the storylines within the game is similar to the storylines of westernmovies, the task within the game is already know to the player because ofthe movies. This could be task such as taming horses, ambushes, strangerencounters and animal attacks, just to mention a few.The game also offers you to decide whether to be the villain or the bad guy –which is always central in the western movies.•Why have they used intertextuality?1. There were already two western genre games on the market before RDR – Gun and Red Dead Revolver. These games had done well, and the producers therefore new they would profit from making a game in this genre.2. The producers know that the audience will recognize the environment, the characters, the tasks and the music, which is an appeal.