Rockstar's dev talent key to Take Two move, admits Riccitiello

Rockstar's dev talent key to Take Two move, admits Riccitiello
Michael French

By Michael French

March 14th 2008 at 9:33AM

Chance to add more "great developers" to EA stable has spurred Take 2 takeover attempt says CEO

EA CEO John Riccitiello has made a frank appraisal of his firm's now-hostile attempt to acquire Take Two, saying that it is the publisher's portfolio of development talent which has driven his view on amalgamating the firms.

He told the BBC: "The big headline here is that our primary interest is in Rockstar and the intellectual properties around Rockstar.

"What we are attracted to is what we value in our own studios: great developers and great intellectual property."

Yesterday, EA's formal offer to acquire Take Two turned hostile when the firm started to approach the publisher's shareholders directly after the Take Two board rebuffed the proposal.

Riccitiello added that he didn't think the Rockstar brand or GTA IP would be diluted if key creative leaders the Houser brothers departed after the acquisition if it happened.

He said: "There is no doubt that EA is several times larger than Take Two - everyday somebody walks in and somebody walks out.

"If the wrong guy walks out, we have an issue to deal with. But we don't stop making games."

He added: "In case of Rockstar I would point out that the leaders are young, vibrant, they're talented and committed.

"And what we have got right now is a corporate issue that has nothing to do with the people who build these games."

Take Two's other well known developers include Civilization creator Sid Meier and BioShock writer Ken Levine. Riccitiello talked-up EA's ability to work with such talent, as well: "We worked collectively with Will Wright to create The Sims. When we bought Maxis, Sim City was selling 7 to 800,000 copies.

"The Sims is a level of performance to Sim City that the Empire State Building is to a very nice house."