Michael Pachter thinks it's a distinct possibility, suggesting that a "bidding war" could erupt over the visionary duo when their contract with Take-Two ends in February of next year. In a note to investors yesterday, the industry analyst said the following:
"The brothers are the driving force behind the Grand Theft Auto series, and are intimately involved in game decisions. While neither writes game code, we believe that they are analogous to the director of a Hollywood film, instrumental in determining the final shape of the ultimate games released. We expect a bidding war for the Housers' services in February 2009, and remain convinced that Take-Two faces two equally unpalatable options: either lose the Housers to another bidder, or pay more to retain them."
While Take-Two would still retain ownership of Rockstar and the Grand Theft Auto IP, that doesn't necessarily mean continued success for the franchise. Pachter goes on to note that sales of the Medal of Honor games dropped a staggering 40% after Infinity Ward was poached by Activision and began developing Call of Duty.
This is not the first time that Pachter has beat this particular drum but, in the wake of EA backing off from its offer to buy out Take-Two, it's certainly something worth thinking about. Granted, these are only two guys we're talking about here, not an entire team of writers and programmers. Is it possible that their influence on GTA is significant enough that losing them could severly hurt the series? Come February, we may get the chance to find out.