'Red Dead Redemption 2' - 3 ways it could fail
Saddle up, pardners. We’re going back to the wild, wild west.
Rockstar Games, the minds behind the juggernaut Grand Theft Auto series, set the Internet ablaze this week by announcing Red Dead Redemption 2, an upcoming sequel to 2010’s Old West action-adventure epic, Red Dead Redemption.
For those who’ve never slung guns in Rockstar’s vision of American frontier, Red Dead Redemption had players taking on the role of tough-talking, fast-shooting anti-hero John Marston in a sprawling recreation of the Old West. The game’s sharp writing, amazing action and beautiful scenery cemented it as one of the best open-world games ever, and for years fans have been hoping – nay, praying – for a sequel.
Their wishes are coming true. On Thursday, Rockstar Games released the first teaser trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2, giving a one-minute glimpse of the game’s stunningly gorgeous wilderness and its intricately detailed frontier settlements. It’s scheduled to be released in the fall of 2017 on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
MAKING IT A DIRECT SEQUEL TO RED DEAD REDEMPTION
Red Dead Redemption had a great ending, one I don’t want to spoil for those who’ve yet to experience it. And while it would be fascinating to revisit the lives of some of those characters, the game ended on the sunset of the Wild West as we knew it, with America just three years away from entering the First World War.
No matter what the title might suggest, it would be a mistake to have Red Dead Redemption 2 be a direct sequel. A prequel following the early years of gunslinger John Marston could be fantastic, or maybe a separate story taking place in parallel with Red Dead Redemption, in a different part of the American Southwest. The teaser doesn’t do anything to explicitly suggest the game is set in the late 1910s or early 1920s, and that’s reassuring. Anachronistic submachine guns in Battlefield 1 are one thing, but we don’t want them in a gritty, authentic Western.
NOT RELEASING IT ON PC
So far, Rockstar Games has only announced Red Dead Redemption 2 for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and this has got Windows PC gamers in a bit of a tizzy – with good reason.
In 2017, (or, let’s be real, 2018 when the game actually comes out after the inevitable delay announcement) the current-gen Xbox One and PS4 will be quite long in the tooth, while a mid-to-high-ranged PC will offer not only significantly better visuals, but will be the place where savvy gamers create cool, funny or outrageous game-altering modifications.
While Red Dead Redemption 2 could conceivably take advantage of the added power of the PlayStation 4 Pro (out this November) and Xbox’s next-gen Project Scorpio (out at the end of next year), it would be a huge snub to Rockstar’s vast legion of PC gaming fans if they didn’t eventually release it for Windows machines. It better happen, dang it!
FOCUSING TOO MUCH ON THE ONLINE EXPERIENCE
Once upon a time, Rockstar Games made extraordinary story-based add-on content for the Grand Theft Auto series, with Grand Theft Auto IV giving us meaty bonus chapters about outlaw biker gangs and flamboyant crime kingpins. Then Grand Theft Auto V came out with its insanely popular Grand Theft Auto: Online multiplayer component, and everything came to a crashing halt.
Grand Theft Auto: Online is such a monstrous success for Rockstar that there’s simply been no incentive for the studio to develop new single-player content for GTA V. Instead, they crank out new vehicles, outfits, hideouts and such for GTA: Online, which can be purchased for real-world money by players too impatient to earn in-game virtual currency. (GTA: Online players have reportedly spent more than US$500 million on these digital dollars. Thunderation!)
Rockstar has already said that Red Dead Redemption 2’s “vast and atmospheric world will also provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience,” but they would be wise to keep their crass microtransactional madness confined to the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Anything else would be justification for a spell in the hoosegow… or maybe a permanent residence on boot hill.