17:52, 20 Oct 2016
Rockstar has a handful of amazing franchises which it seems to like rotating around every half decade, and with GTA V having been out for three years now people have been getting itchy about what’s to come next. Apart from the GTA series, the next biggest brand when it comes to consumer enthusiasm is probably the Red Dead series; essentially to the cowboy setting what GTA is to modern crime.
Earlier in the week Rockstar issued a teaser image on its official social media accounts which was just the firm’s logo on a plain red background. In response, Twitter and Facebook went nuts.
Of course it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what this means, but sure enough Rockstar has followed up a few days later with another teaser than’s far more concrete evidence.
If that picture of silhouetted shapes on the horizon wearing obvious cowboy hats doesn’t scream “Western” then I don’t know what else does. Following this Rockstar decided to put everyone out of their collective misery and it’s the best possible news – Red Dead Redemption 2 is on the way. The official confirmation came on October 18 via Rockstar’s Twitter account with a teaser saying “Rockstar Games presents Red Dead Redemption 2”, confirming it would arrive “Fall 2017”, and that an official trailer will be published on October 20.
The new trailer has landed on October 20, as promised. Although the graphics and atmosphere look amazing, and we get to see what some of the environments look like, there’s not a lot to go on in terms of gameplay, content, themes, story, or characters. But then Rockstar does have a habit of drip-feeding teasers over time, so we’re sure more info will come to light shortly. In the meantime, marvel at RDR2 moving on the screen before you!
The developer also published the following statement:
“Rockstar Games, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc, is proud to announce that the highly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2 will release worldwide in Fall 2017 for PlayStation 4 computer entertainment systems and for the Xbox One games and entertainment system.”
“Developed by the creators of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2 is an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland.”
Note that this confirms the title for both the Xbox One and PS4. There has been no mention of a launch for PC yet, and many have already begun petitioning Rockstar for a PC launch. Previous Red Dead games have not launched on PC and garnered some criticism for it, so it was expected by some that for a third title in the series it would be released for PCs too. However, the announcement doesn’t necessarily mean a PC release is a no-go, when Rockstar announced GTA V it was for last-gen Xbox and Playstation only, then a year later it was announced for Xbox One and PS4 next-gen consoles AND the PC.
So what do we know about the game so far? Well, virtually nothing other than the release date. It’s hoped that the trailer may reveal more, but at time of writing we can only assume we’re looking at the seven figures shown on the teaser being significant in some way. Perhaps this is a homage to the Magnificent Seven films?
Speculation is also rife about the specifics of the setting – which time period and who the main characters will be. Although the original game was called Red Dead Revolver, the series didn’t gain its big status until the previous iteration, Red Dead Redemption, which took place towards the end of the 1800s when the Wild West was becoming more modern and industrialised and…well…less wild (allegedly). This also meant that as well as traditional six shooters you also got to play with early machine guns and other fun toys.
Red Dead Redemption focused on the antics of reformed outlaw John Marston, being dragged back into the dangerous life by shady government officials who wanted him to track down his old gang-mates. Later in the game players also controlled John’s son, Jack Marston. There’s currently a lot of discussion online about whether players will be playing as Jack, an earlier version of John during his bad old days, or someone else entirely. Perhaps even an earlier ancestor of John, such as his father, or perhaps an uncle?
Although playing as Jack remains plausible, in our view it seems somewhat unlikely as moving forward in time will take players further and further out of the “Old West” setting. John Marston being such an iconic and popular character we can also easily imagine Rockstar wanting to give players more time in his role – but that said the central figure on the teaser image doesn’t look a lot like John. Our only other thought is that maybe none of the seven characters are the player at all, instead perhaps targets of his?
In terms of the game world, Rockstar is in the habit of enlarging its open-world land-masses with every iteration. TechRadar managed to source an early image of what’s alleged to be RDR2’s game world map back in April this year, way before the official confirmation.
“A source close to the development of the new Red Dead game has now confirmed to us that the map is indeed the real deal, revealing that this is a “very recent” art direction map for the upcoming title,” TechRadar reports.
“They also confirmed that the game will be set before the events of Redemption, and that the new map is just east of the one that featured in Red Dead Redemption.”
The publication also put together some comparisons of the new map with RDR’s existing map.
“If you look at the bottom left… you’ll see the Great Plains, home to the Blackwater settlement that sits at the top right of the Red Dead Redemption map – so you can see how the two come together. The lack of a railroad in the Great Plains, which featured in RDR, also points to this being earlier in the timeline.”
“The new map also reveals that there will be caravan camps scattered around, again suggesting this will be a less occupied West. The overarching theme of Red Dead Redemption was the “death of the West”, so a prequel, rather than a sequel, makes sense.”
The report also noted the new map includes a city called New Bordeaux in the bottom right, interestingly, this is the name of the fictional parody on New Orleans present in recently released Mafia 3, also published by RDR publisher Take-Two Interactive. Lastly, TechRadar notes the inclusion of islands on the new map, which may indicate RDR2 includes a swimming or boat travel mechanic for the first time in the series.
In a separate report, TechRadar also notes the game’s themes and what we see in Rockstar’s teaser image as possible indications of a prequel for RDR2.
“Adding to the theory that the game will be a prequel is the fact that the plot and themes of Red Dead Redemption alluded to the end of the Wild West.”
“Redemption’s protagonist, John Marston, represented the last of the Lone Rider-types that would become phased out by modern politics, industry, and transportation, making a sequel possible but thematically unlikely.”
“The fact that the official picture revealed by Rockstar shows what looks like Marston flanked by what could very well be the gang of outlaws he references in the first game makes it all the more likely we’re seeing a prequel rather than a sequel.”
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