Grand Theft Auto creator Rockstar Games‘ next game will be Red Dead Redemption 2, a follow-up to its critically-acclaimed Wild West epic. According to Rockstar, Red Dead Redemption 2 will be ‘an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland’ and the game will ‘provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience’.
“With Red Dead Redemption 2, the team is working hard to push forward our vision for interactive entertainment in a truly living world,” said Rockstar founder Sam Houser. ” We hope to deliver players an epic experience that builds upon everything we’ve learned making games.”
Red Dead Redemption 2’s first trailer appeared on Thursday 20 October 2016, back when the game was scheduled for Autumn 2017. It was a 68 second glimpse at the game that showed gorgeous Western vistas and a gang of seven charging across the plains on horseback. But beyond that, there was little official info. Oh Rockstar, you big tease! Thankfully, we’ve got a whole lot information since then. Including a story trailer, the protagonist and a slew of rumours.
Most recently we have seen the release of a stunning third trailer that shows off the game’s sky-high production values and the dynamic of the action and narrative that will unfold. And The Telegraph has seen the game in action, so check out our exclusive first-look preview and our interview with Rockstar about building the studio’s biggest ever game.
When is Red Dead Redemption 2 released and what platforms is it on?
Red Dead Redemption is scheduled for release on PS4 and Xbox One on 26 October 2018. The game was originally supposed to ride into town last autumn, but Rockstar delayed the game until Spring, saying “extra time is necessary to ensure that we can deliver the best experience possible for our fans.” A further delay has pushed the game back to its now, apparently more solid, Autumn release. “We are excited to announce that Red Dead Redemption 2 will be released on October 26 2018,” Rockstar said in an official blog. “We apologize to everyone disappointed by this delay. While we had hoped to have the game out sooner, we require a little extra time for polish.”
It will be called Red Dead Redemption 2… but is a prequel
We thought we were using Red Dead Redemption 2 as a short-hand for the follow-up, as strictly speaking this will be the third game in the Red Dead series. The first game, Red Dead Revolver (re-released on PS4), is one of Rockstar’s underappreciated gems, a more linear cowboy shooter that follows Red Harlow on his own revenge mission. It wasn’t until the extraordinary breadth of Red Dead Redemption’s open-world Wild West that the series found widespread acclaim. Most people were expecting a new title, with Red Dead Retribution the favourite, but Rockstar is seemingly keen to keep the legacy going with, simply, Red Dead Redemption 2. Though just to add to the naming convention confusion, Red Dead Redemption 2 is set in 1899, twelve years before the events of Red Dead Redemption.
What’s the story?
You are playing as Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang, AKA “Dutch’s Gang”. The gang appeared in the first Red Dead Redemption as the target of former member John Marston’s quest.
The event in 1906 that lead to the gang breaking up was a robbery that went wrong, resulting in John Marston being wounded and left for dead. Little is known about the event, so it could well be that the robbery will be a focal point for Red Dead Redemption 2’s story. However, what we do know is that the game will be set at least in part in 1899. As revealed in the latest trailer, the Van Der Linde gang is in its pomp but are plying their trade in the dying embers of the Wild West.
As Rockstar said in a press release: “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.”
For more on what Red Dead Redemption did right in its historical accuracy, journalist and historian Holly Nielsen analysed what the game did right – taking tropes and inspirations from the period and adapting them to create something that feels more like its own world than a flat replica of the Wild West.
It look like John Marston will be making an appearance
As you would hope and expect from a prequel to Red Dead Redemption, it seems the latest trailer confirmed that we will be seeing the first game’s rugged protagonist John Marston. Albeit a little more fresh-faced. Not too much, mind you, as a man matching Marston’s description, complete with newly stitched scars, appears in a scene near the end of the trailer. He’s being held at knife-point by an assailant unknown, so how John fits into this story will be one of Red Dead Redemption 2’s most intriguing questions.
Dead eye returns
The gunplay in Red Dead Redemption 2 brings back some familiar elements, while at the same time widening the depth on slinging lead. First off, the Dead Eye Mechanic is back; players can slow the action down and paint targets with crosses in a short window of time, before loosing a volley of shots with pinpoint accuracy.
Second, players can also ‘fan’ their six-shooter’s firing pin, quickly emptying the gun’s revolving cylinder in a rapid-fire move that causes a ton of damage. The action is third-person pop-and-cover, although it’s worth picking one’s cover carefully – rock stops more bullets than some wooden structures, for example.
Finally, in a new twist, players have the option of drawing their gun without aiming it. In the previous game, unholstering a weapon immediately brought up a set of crosshairs. This isn’t the case now; players can even aim and cock their gun without firing it, in order to threaten an NPC without any fatal consequences. Naturally, wandering around with a gun in hand brings attention; the mood of the NPCs in the player’s environment changes if their weapon is drawn – even when it isn’t aimed.
Best keep it holstered unless you’re lookin’ for trouble pard’ner.
The horses in Red Dead Redemption 2 have had significant tweaks and tucks made to them, making them appear more realistic than they did in the first game.
Players can walk, trot and gallop on horseback as they did before, but they can also pull dressage maneuvers, such as moving sideways at a canter, or steering their mount into a sharp turn, in which the animal’s back hoof digs and kicks off the ground at speed.
Furthermore, the longer a mount stays with Morgan, the more battle-hardened they become – they aren’t as easily spooked by gunfire or flames, for example. You can also store extra weapons and equipment Arthur can’t physically carry himself in its saddlebags, as well as carry large animals he’s killed and smaller ones too, by attaching them to the saddle.
Takin’ care of the gang
Morgan’s contribution to the camp help with morale. The gang needs food, money and supplies and when these are in good stock, players will see drinking, singing and dancing in the camp at the end of each day. When they’re in short supply, the general mood will be far more sedate.
And as Morgan encounters each gang member, his mood changes from one to the next naturally, greeting those who contribute, ignoring those who don’t and admonishing bad behavior. The gang is an organic community and it grows and shrinks depending on who leaves and who stays.
As with the first game, Red Dead Redemption 2 will feature an ‘honour’ system, which will swing from hero to outlaw depending on your actions in game. The level of influence is a lot greater this time, however, with players able to differ their approach in the finer details. You might raid someone’s camp, but if they return you can then choose to further hold them up at gunpoint, chase them off by firing a bullet in the air, or let them carry on.
Player choice extends to more prosaic matters too. In a first for a Rockstar game, the HUD is completely customisable, allowing you to have as much or as little information on screen as you choose. Keep an eye on your mini-map, ammo and money as you go about your business… or clear the screen for a gorgeous midnight ride.
Expect a far deeper multiplayer experience
Following Rockstar’s massive (and continuing) success with GTA Online, the persistent multiplayer component of Grand Theft Auto V, we expect online cowboy action to form a significant part of any Red Dead sequel. The original game has a good multiplayer presence, including the emergent and thoroughly enjoyable free-roam mode. It would not be a surprise to see Rockstar expand on this in a similar way to GTA Online and maintain a regularly updated online Wild West.
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