Midnight Club to Return? Take-Two Flags “Beloved” Series in $13bn Zynga Buyout

More than 13 years have passed since the last full release in the Midnight Club series, but a surprise name-check of the franchise could hint at its return.

Midnight Club, developed by Take-Two studio Rockstar Games, debuted in 2000. Inspired by the underground Japanese street racers of the same name, the game series centered on the player moving up in the world of illegal street racing.

Across four major releases and a PSP port, the Midnight Club series racked up some 18.5 million sales during its lifetime, becoming Rockstar’s second-biggest franchise at one point — behind only none other than Grand Theft Auto. As well as being a critical success, it’s become something of a cult classic series.

However following 2008’s Midnight Club: Los Angeles, the series has been on the shelf. The San Diego studio which developed the series was embroiled in allegations from ex-staff (and their spouses), and much of the team which worked on the Midnight Club series left as the studio pivoted to work on Red Dead Redemption. RDR, Grand Theft Auto V, and the online version of both titles have been Rockstar’s core products ever since.

Nonetheless, after more than a decade of silence, Midnight Club was recently brought up again in, of all places, a financial statement from Take-Two and Zynga, in which the two were announcing Zynga’s $12.7 billion acquisition by Take-Two.

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In the statement, Take-Two flagged the series as one of its “most beloved”, referring to “Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, Midnight Club, NBA 2K, BioShock, Borderlands, Civilization, Mafia, and Kerbal Space Program”. The company’s CEO, Strauss Zelnick, reiterated the same list in an investor call, this time stating they were “iconic brands”.

Midnight Club’s position in that list is particularly curious, as every other title has had a far more recent release and — other than KSP — sold more copies. In fact it’s a surprise it was even mentioned at all.

That could hint at a possible return for the series, and it might even be linked to the acquisition of Zynga. The mobile specialist is the developer behind the phenomenally successful CSR Racing series, which reportedly brings in some $120m a year through in-app purchases in the free-to-play series. A new Midnight Club game on mobile platforms would be a pretty good fit.

Take-Two also notably revealed in 2020 that it was planning to launch 93 titles by the end of the 2024 financial year, including 47 from its existing portfolio of intellectual property. With that in mind, a Midnight Club revival seems like it might be on the table.

It’s far too early to say whether anything will come from this quite casual namedrop, but we’ll be watching very closely just in case.