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‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ Took Just Eight Days to Outsell Original ‘Red Dead Redemption’

Red Dead Redemption 2” sold-in more than 17 million units worldwide as of Wednesday, outpacing total sales of the eight-year-old original “Red Dead Redemption” in just eight days, Rockstar Games’ parent company Take-Two Interactive announced.

Red Dead Redemption 2” earned more than $725 million in its first three days on sale and became the highest-rated game of 2018 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game was eight years in the making with a staff of nearly 2,000. Thanks to the sales of “Red Dead Redemption 2,” and a strong second quarter performance, Take-Two raised their financial outlook for fiscal 2019, which ends on March 31.

While no date has yet been announced by Rockstar Games, Take-Two Interactive Chairman Strauss Zelnick told Variety that a beta for “Red Dead Redemption Online” is still coming this month.  He added that he is happy that the main game and its online counter-part didn’t release at the same time. He later added that the beta would be coming “towards the end of the month.”

Zelnick also said that he doesn’t believe that the debate over crunch, which surfaced following an interview with Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser, had any negative impact on game sales and that Take-Two supports the company and its culture.

“We are really proud of Rockstar Games,” he said. “More than 2,000 people brought ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ to the audience and delivered this incredible result. It’s a great place to work and home to some of the most talented people in the industry. I stand behind the label and its approach.”

In the weeks leading up to the release of “Red Dead Redemption 2” Rockstar Games told their employees that were allowed to comment about working for the company on social channels, a change to a long-standing policy that prevented it. That change in policy came in response to an interview with co-founder Dan Houser in which he said that “we were working 100-hour weeks.” He later told Variety that he was referring to the overtime worked by himself and three others on the writing team.

Despite that clarification, the statement ignited a discussion about the state of work conditions in the game industry. Specifically, developers from a number of game studios discussed the history and use of crunch, a term used to define the long hours worked by developers in the days, weeks or months leading up to a game’s launch. Other concerns raised recently include the sudden closure of studios and lack of stability in the industry. Some have called for unionization.

You can read more about that and more from our coverage of the game and its release in our “Red Dead Redemption 2” guide.

In the lead-up to the Oct. 26 launch of “Red Dead Redemption 2,” Variety released a trail of stories that start by examining some of the lingering, still-interesting elements of 2010’s “Red Dead Redemption.” Then we dove into the impact prequel “Red Dead Redemption 2” has had on the game industry and spoke with some of the people who made the game. In particular, we examined how a team of four writers with the help of a massive studio in the thousands, managed to flesh out the central character of the game by giving such deep, detailed life to those who surrounded him. We also covered the debate over crunch that was ignited following a statement made by co-founder Dan Houser about working 100-hour weeks. Finally, we ran our own review of “Red Dead Redemption 2,” a title we believe to be Rockstar Game’s best.

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