Rockstar have finally confirmed Red Dead Redemption 2 for release fall 2017.
After six long years, an incredibly ambiguous tweet delivered the first official clue that we may finally be treated to another open-world western adventure. In true Rockstar fashion, the single tweet was released with just an image of their logo in what looked like the iconic Red Dead art style. Predictably, it sent fans into an immediate frenzy with hundreds of thousands of interactions in less than 24 hours.
Though we’ve seen occasional unconfirmed leaks in recent years, this lone image officially broke Rockstar’s cold silence and was followed by a much more obvious teaser depicting several Wild West characters against a red sun set, and finally by an official confirmation including the fall 2017 release date.
Just three tweets over two days has prompted a craze of excitement and numerous memes – and we expect more dastardly teasers from Rockstar in the coming days including a trailer promised for Thursday 20th October.
To deal with the unbearable two day wait, we decided to put together a wish list for the game’s sequel. Or prequel. Or spin off. Whatever it is, here are seven things it should deliver;
One of the most popular theories about the next Red Dead release pins it as a prequel that follows John Marston’s early bandit days with Bill Williamson and the gang. After the gripping storyline of the 2010 release, Rockstar have a lot to live up to, so it will be interesting to see what will replace the powerful driving force of John Marston’s desire to be reunited with his family.
What we’d love to see is an inclusion of the GTA V style heist mechanics, with missions that feed into a big job. This is well suited to Marston’s gang-days, and would see you plan the next bank robbery, choosing your best men and having some say in how you execute the mission that will ultimately affect your share of the profits. It might just be a pipe dream, but that’s what our money is on.
- Quicker animations
Okay, this is a cheap shot, but one of the very few common criticisms of the last generation’s Red Dead is the lengthy and repetitive resource animations. As much as we enjoy realism in games, we’d rather quickly loot bodies than watch Marston take his time skinning the beasts every single time. Take inspiration from the latest Tomb Raider iterations for instance, where Lara quickly but brutally skins her kills and then swiftly returns to a playable state.
In a game where collecting and crafting can be so important, shorter resource animations would speed up gameplay somewhat without making it less immersive. Saying that, we’d still like Marston or any new protagonist to quietly mutter to themselves and their prey throughout the animation..
- Strong protagonist(s)
With the game entitled “Red Dead Redemption 2” despite being the third instalment in the franchise, it seems the game will be linked to its 2010 predecessor. That suggests we may see the return of fan favourite John Marston – which is something I for one am absolutely rooting for.
Morally he might have a grey past, but you can sincerely empathise with his motivations, and the ending is truly devastating. Understanding him really ads a layer to the story and makes the entire game more powerful. The only thing that can beat one well developed protagonist.. is, well, more of them.
One of GTA Vs strengths was a choice of three interesting, playable characters, each one with distinctly different personalities and unique gameplay strengths. So for Rockstar’s next big release, we hope they take inspiration from both games with a lead character, or characters, as deep and diverse as Marston and the Los Santos three.
- A living, breathing Wild West
Part of Red Dead Redemption’s charm was the feeling of isolation as you travelled across western landscapes. Whilst we don’t want the next game to lose that quirk, we would like a more living, breathing world to play around in. If Red Dead Redemption 2 takes inspiration from both GTA V and the plethora of AAA open world games we’ve had in the last few years, we expect a little more depth this time round.
If you’ve played Fallout 4 for example you may know the feeling of traversing a barren landscape only to stumble across two Deathclaws fighting one another, or a bunch of super mutants battling a Brotherhood of Steel aircraft. Imagine John Marston sticking around in a local bar long enough to see surrounding NPCs get themselves into a brawl or a shootout – one that you can even choose, or decline, to involve yourself in.
2010’s Red Dead was a huge, expansive and immersive world with plenty of random NPC encounters and towns full of side missions. It included many random events such as the honeypot stranded travellers who, should you help them, inevitably had friends ready to jump you for your kindness.
But rather than a haven from the isolation and emptiness of traveling, Red Dead’s settlements could at times feel a little static and bare. The sequel/prequel is a perfect opportunity to build on the strengths of its predecessor and add a little depth.
- Branching story
John Marston’s fate was sealed from the beginning, but it would be nice if the next game trusted the player with key decisions that could significantly change the ending – and which characters survived to see it.
The cinematic style of Rockstar’s games may not suit dialogue choices throughout the game, but allowing the player to choose at certain points can be a powerful tool. The branching-path of many modern releases adds a non-linear layer to storytelling that only video games can really achieve.
Whether it’s as simple as which factions or gangs you ally yourself to or as difficult as choosing which character lives or dies, it would be great to see this included in the new release.
You know you’re playing an epic open world adventure when you’re in danger of forgetting which mission is the main quest. How often through Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 were you presented with so many side quests that searching for your long lost daughter or son took a back seat. In the first Red Dead Redemption there were distractions, but quite honestly we’d like so many that the first 10 hours of gameplay are overwhelming.
Imagine Gwent-like developments for Liar’s Dice, arm wrestling or Five Finger Fillet – and perhaps even new additions like Poker. Building tournaments around these side games makes them more engaging and fun, so adding lines of side quests that relate to any of these would have us well and truly hooked.
Treasure maps, however, can stay exactly the same as far as we’re concerned because those were amazing.
- Weird DLC
I know we don’t even really know what the main game is yet, but we still expect crazy, ground-breaking DLC. Undead nightmare was so unique and thoughtful that it did feel like a totally new game. They used all of the assets from the original game and added both zombies and resource limitations to completely change the atmosphere.
The GTA V DLC has focused on online elements, and while they’ve all added hours of multiplayer gameplay, fans have missed out on the promise of story DLC. Whatever Rockstar choose to add to their latest release, we want at least one crazy single player add on.
We’d also like the return of the stunning landscapes, incredible scores and wonderful dialogue, but that’s just some of our hopes and dreams for improvements and new features in the upcoming release.
Of course, even if Rockstar ignore all of these nothing will stop us wanting to dive back into that world. All we have to do now is wait one more year..