The time is almost here when Rockstar Games pulls back the curtain on Red Dead Redemption 2. It is expected that during this year’s E3 we will get some in-depth details and some hands-on time with the much-anticipated sequel. Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of, if not the most highly talked about upcoming games and for a good reason. Based on Rockstar’s track record, no one can hold a candle to them with creating open-world games along with endless online play modes. With Red Dead on the horizon, we want to take a look at what we are expecting, and what we are hoping for once we can finally saddle up our horses and return to the American Old West.
A Fistful of Dollars
Rockstar has been the gold standard for the games as a service business model due to the massive success of Grand Theft Auto V. GTA V has, at the time of this article sold over 90 million copies and generated over $6 billion in revenue since its 2013 release according to MarketWatch. The game is the best-selling entertainment product ever, not just video games, any entertainment product! Aside from being a thoroughly engaging main story, the online multiplayer has given the game a long shelf life. Rockstar is consistently releasing new online game modes and challenges, while the community has embraced the sandbox by creating an endless amount of races, challenges, and various other ways to enjoy the game long after the main story is over.
The model that GTA V has perfected should be a blueprint for what Red Dead Redemption 2 can be. Gamers loved the first Red Dead for the story and gameplay, however, aside from DLC, the game did not provide much reason to stay in the shoes of John Marston outside of a very limited multiplayer mode which handcuffed the game into set scenarios which kept it from a true sandbox feel.
Once Upon a Time in the West
Although the details on what we know are in the next Red Dead installment are scarce, there are a few things we do have confirmation on. One area we do have confirmation, based on the trailers, is that the first game’s protagonist, John Marston will make an appearance. Based on the scene he is included in, it looks to show how he came to get his trademark scars on his face; however, the sequel does not follow a young Marston, but instead Dutch Van der Linde’s associate, Arthur Morgan.
A Rockstar press release additionally detailed the story:
“After a robbery goes badly wrong in the western town of Blackwater, Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang are forced to flee. With federal agents and the best bounty hunters in the nation massing on their heels, the gang must rob, steal and fight their way across the rugged heartland of America in order to survive. As deepening internal divisions threaten to tear the gang apart, Arthur must make a choice between his own ideals and loyalty to the gang who raised him.”
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Now that we have gone over the details that we do know, we can jump into the wild speculation and unleashed hype that fans are clamoring for. While we have the utmost faith in Rockstar to create a captivating story, the most fun to speculate over is the gameplay details that could be included in the sequel. I think as we have alluded to, the most exciting thing would be for Red Dead Redemption 2 to use the GTA V model for open world sandbox including online play.
Based on reports the game’s online feature will be split into three modes: ‘Revive and Survive’ ‘Money Grab’ and ‘Battle Royale’. Revive and Survive will put two teams into a battle as they fight to stay alive while allowing them to revive teammates. Money Grab is essentially a bank robbing mode that pits two teams against each other to rob a location and return it safely to their hideout. Battle Royale mode should be self-explanatory at this point and you can safely assume almost every game talked about this E3 will drop some hint of a BR mode.
The report is also similar to GTA V online mode, players will be allowed to explore the game’s open world with rewards and the ability to create camps/tents similar to apartments in GTA V.
Red Dead Redemption 2 will also have a rich in-game market system. Certain locations will be dedicated to purchasing new items and gambling, as well as a sort of black market to get items at a discounted rate. The stores will operate in a day-night cycle of the game which will add some complexity to when to purchase items.
Traveling around the map will also get an upgrade allowing the player to use not only a horse but also minecarts, horse-drawn carriages and as a rumor hinted at, a train to traverse the map, which would be absolutely fantastic.
The Wild Bunch
At the end of the day it is almost a given that Rockstar Games will have another smash on their hands, the question remains if Red Dead Redemption 2 can eclipse the cultural juggernaut that is GTA V, or if it even needs to. If the game just manages to be in the same vein as GTA V the shelf life will be just as long, and the profits coming from the game could be just as big. Rockstar has a history of not being content just to dump out a carbon copy though, and we can expect things similar to GTA V along with some new improvements on the formula.
Red Dead Redemption 2 cannot arrive soon enough for those of us who are both fans of the series and fans of the style of game that Rockstar has perfected. Time will tell if the magic is still there, however with E3 2018 around the corner, high noon is here and we couldn’t be more hyped!
UPDATE: Pre-orders are now available with the release slated for October 26th!