As the console launch approaches, more Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay, setting, and characters information are starting to surface. Saddle up, pardner: here's everything we know about Red Dead Redemption 2.
Red Dead Redemption 2 release date
The Red Dead Redemption 2 release date is October 26, 2018.... well, at least on console that is. This is a delay from the original 2017 release date. “Some extra time is necessary to ensure that we can deliver the best experience possible for our fans,” said Rockstar regarding the delay. “We are very sorry for any disappointment this delay causes, but we are firm believers in delivering a game only when it is ready.”
Hopefully, if there is to be a PC version, it is simultaneous to the console launch, rather than the classic Rockstar delay period of a year and a half. If not, the Red Dead Redemption 2 PC release date could be as late as April 2020, which is only slightly better than never.
Red Dead Redemption 2 trailers
The third trailer for Rockstar's highly anticipated western game has dropped, and it gives us hints at story and gameplay details without giving much away - besides the first glimpse of John Marston, that is.
We get the impression that the days of the outlaws are numbered: we see a gang of men discussing their leader, Dutch Van der Linde, the antagonist from the previous game. We also see a little more of our new protagonist, Arthur Morgan, a train robbery, and a horse-and-cart hijacking.
You can also watch a relatively meaty Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer below:
While there is not a huge amount of detail in the second trailer, it does confirm a few gameplay mechanics, as well as hint at some new features, like heists and a new setting. The biggest reveals concern characters and story - it looks like we’ll be closely following the crimes of Dutch’s Gang, which you might remember from John Marston’s back story in the first game. Check out our in-depth analysis of the latest Red Dead 2 trailer for some gameplay and story suggestions.
If you missed the first teaser trailer for Red Dead 2, we've taken the liberty of embedding it below:
Not exactly the most in-depth look at the world, but it looks mad-gorgeous. There's clearly been serious engine upgrades since GTA V, with the opening shots of that looking more like a cinematic than in-game footage.
Red Dead Redemption 2 characters
Our first ideas of who Red Dead Redemption 2’s characters are have been confirmed by the second official trailer for the game: Dutch’s Gang take centre stage. Instead of John Marston - who we appear to see fleetingly in the third trailer - we’ll be playing as Arthur Morgan, another member of Dutch van der Linde's notorious gang. While a number of other characters appear in the trailer, no names are given, but a couple of the featured characters bear a resemblance to characters from the first game, such as Bill Williamson and Abigail Marston.
Red Dead Redemption's protagonist isn’t a particularly nice chap. A member of Dutch’s Gang on the run from multiple state police, Morgan appears to have a particularly close to bond with Dutch van der Linde based on their interactions in the story trailer. He’s certainly a seasoned brute and you can see him bully, beat, and threaten just about everyone he speaks to in the trailer. It’s not like Rockstar haven’t let us play as the bad guy before - refer to GTA V’s Trevor if you want to play as a bona fide psychopath - but Morgan is probably the most sinister protagonist we’ve seen yet. Of course we don’t expect Morgan to stay evil, there’s something of a clue in the title about whether or not he will redeem himself.
Dutch van der Linde
Spoilers if you haven’t played the first Red Dead Redemption, but Dutch is the final boss that John Marston faces in the game, and yes, Dutch plays the part of the antagonist and dies. Like Morgan, Dutch is also a very nasty man, but he has a very clear world view: he detests government as they steal from the poor. Instead, Dutch clings to the ways of the Old West, a world where it is every man for himself and only the strong survive. By the time we meet Dutch at the end of the first game, he is sliding into a Colonel Kurtz-esque form of insanity and he has replaced most of his gang with disillusioned Native Americans who, like Dutch, loathe the government.
We know very little about the role John Marston plays in Red Dead Redemption 2, but one of the best characters in games to not grace our home platform was finally revealed in the third official trailer. Ol' John certainly is not in the sunniest of situations when you see him: with a face beaten, bloodied, and a mess of stitches, he appears to be captured by Dutch's gang. Since Marston was a member of the gang, perhaps he was not always so committed to the cause.
According to the first game, Dutch's Gang were most active during the early 1900s, where they were wanted across three states for over 40 robberies, as well as a string of murders - in their defence, they gave a lot of the money to the poor. It all went wrong in 1906, when a botched robbery ended in a shootout. John Marston was wounded and left for dead while the rest of Dutch’s Gang fled before splitting up in the subsequent five years.
Bill Williamson and Abigail Marston
About halfway through the second Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer we see a woman stab a bearded man in the hand. She also gets a short line in a separate scene. The bearded man appears to be one of the characters from The Magnificent Seven-inspired poster art for Red Dead Redemption, and both look similar to Bill Williamson, who crops in the first game with a new gang of his own. As Red Dead 2 appears to be a prequel, it is entirely possible that this Bill Williamson before leaving Dutch’s Gang to form his own crew.
As for the woman doing the stabbing? This is a longshot, but her facial features are fairly similar to those of Abigail Marston, who rode with Dutch’s Gang before the botched heist. Her hair is a great deal lighter in colour in the trailer than it is in the first game though, so it is just as likely that this is an entirely new character.
Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay
In the first Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay details produced by IGN, this western world will react to you as outlaw Arthur Morgan. That means, in a similar way to Skyrim, NPCs will either scarper or fight you if you refuse to holster your firearm in a peaceful place. How Morgan is treated will also be affected by your in-game interaction system. The Telegraph's coverage of the game has shown that the Honor system will also return and will develop Morgan's reputation as an outlaw, or as a more respectable guy.
Rockstar’s upcoming western will also feature survival elements. You will look after a camp that needs to stay fed, for which you will need to hunt. What appears to resemble Ark: Survival Evolved’s spoilage system, the animals you hunt will decay over time. You’ll have to consume them quickly or sell it on to get the most benefit.
The excellent Dead Eye system returns for Red Dead Redemption 2, allowing you to turn varmints into red mush in super slo-mo. Heists, bank and train robberies are certain to feature, too, and you’ll be making more pivotal choices during them.
Red Dead Redemption 2 setting
When and where are the two big questions regarding Red Dead Redemption 2. A map leaked from Rockstar HQ reveal a new landscape that could potentially be the next game’s world. This map includes a section from the last game, but massively expands to the east. If you take a look at the bottom left of this new map, you can see the Blackwater settlement that featured in Red Dead Redemption.
This huge new area, which is apparently confirmed as legitimate by TechRadar’s sources, contains massive plains and mountainous areas that could be Rockstar’s version of the Rockies. There’s also a bayou swamp region to the south east. Hopefully Red Dead 2's main character will be able to swim this time.
The second official trailer for RDR2 appears to confirm a lot of the details of this leaked map, including a bayou area, a mountain range, snowy areas, and some areas of the Great Plains. Some Creole and Antebellum architecture can be spotted throughout the trailer, which suggests that condensed versions of Louisiana or the southern states will feature throughout Red Dead Redemption 2. A mountain range that resembles the Rocky Mountains also features in the trailer, while shots of grizzly bears and lush forests all but confirm a shift eastwards towards states like Wyoming and Montana.
Red Dead Redemption 2 story
What about Red Dead Redemption 2's story? The Blackwater settlement on the leaked map is lacking the train tracks seen in Red Dead Redemption, set in 1911, suggesting that it could be a prequel. Based on the second official Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer, it looks like the story of RDR2 will indeed be a prequel. However, unlike the suggestions of many rumours, we won’t be playing as John Marston, or any relation of his.
Arthur Morgan is the roguish outlaw we’ll be controlling in Red Dead 2’s story. He’s a member of Dutch’s Gang, so it’s safe to say he’s done his fair share of robbing and killing. We know from the first game that the gang breaks up after a botched robbery in 1906, so perhaps the story in RDR2 will follow the aftermath of that event, or even the years leading up to it where Dutch’s Gang were most active. Based on the trailer, which features a lot of turn-of-the-century tech like common horses and carts, plus an older looking steam train, this would seem to be the case.
Red Dead Online
Red Dead Redemption had the genesis of GTA V's hyper-popular online mode, allowing players to generally mess around in an open world, completing missions and giving each other exceptionally bad days. A multiplayer of some sort coming back for a sequel is almost inevitable, but the domain reddead.online has now popped up. A quick whois check will tell you it's owned by 2K and Rockstar, prompting thoughts of another, seperate online game similar to GTA Online. It's also mentioned in the official press release, which states:
"The game's vast and atmospheric world will also provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience."
Whether "brand new" means GTA Online's systems ported to a new locale or something different remains to be seen, but our bet's on the former.
Red Dead Redemption Remaster / Remake
The last piece of the puzzle is whether we may one day see the original Red Dead Redemption make it to PC. Rumours have swirled for years about the game getting to our mouse and keyboard shores, but at this stage it seems likely that even if development was started on a PC port, it was eventually cancelled. The last hope is that RDR2 is planned for a simultaneous PC release and as part of that a Remaster is developed for consoles and PC as part of a planned bundle.
Since we know so little at the moment, here's what we're still hoping to see in Red Dead Redemption 2:
Red Dead Redemption 2 - what we’d like to see
After Grand Theft Auto V this one is a bit of a given, but we’d like to see Rockstar take the concept to the next level. GTA saw all three protagonists fight for the same side. Sure, they had their own individual stories, but they never really clashed. It would be amazing to see Red Dead tackle player-controlled characters from different sides. That could be from opposing sides of the law, perhaps an outlaw and a sheriff, or bandits from rival gangs.
Also, let’s get some diversity in there. How about a hard-as-nails woman sheriff, kicking ass against both criminals and the sexist attitudes of the time period? The second official Red Dead 2 trailer has a few outlaws to pick from, including a stabby woman, a Native American, and a being-stabbed bearded fellow.
Towards the end of GTA V we got to see Rockstar play a little with a branching story. As the finale came together, it was up to players to decide which character they’d have Trevor ally with. We’d love to see Rockstar deliver a higher level of this in the next Red Dead, with choices to be made in missions that can affect the whole story, not just the finale.
This would work brilliantly if combined with our idea for multiple protagonists from opposing sides. As these characters came to blows, who would you side with? Would you make ‘slip-ups’ as the law to ensure your bandit character succeeded? Or would you betray your gang members to help progress the sheriff's story?
More varied environments
As wonderful and atmospheric as Red Dead Redemption’s world was, it was all a little… dusty. Huge open plains, small sandy towns, and beige Mexico; there wasn’t a huge amount of variation. We get that to be true to the period you have to have some of that - the Old West wasn’t exactly a pretty place - but we do need some variety. So expand the terrain; offer us more wooded regions, more water, perhaps some mountains to climb.
Unless they scrap every scene in the second official trailer for Red Dead 2, it looks like we can already tick this off as there are swamps, mountains, and snowy passes for miles.
Before Ubisoft did their own crazy re-inventions of Far Cry with 80s action heroes and dinosaurs, Rockstar turned Red Dead Redemption into one of the best zombie survival games of all time with the Undead Nightmare DLC. We need this kind of crazy again. How about aliens this time, with a War of the Worlds-like story in the Wild West instead of Victorian London?
Grand Theft Auto Online has been a huge success for Rockstar, and there’s no question that they’ll be looking to repeat that with Red Dead. Expect to see the open world of the story become a playground for multiple players, with regular updates and events.
The obvious thing we’d love to see again is heists, this time with a late-1800s feel. We’re talking gold heists, train robberies, and assaults on hideouts. Imagine the fun of a multi-stage attack on a freight train, diverting the route before unloading the goods onto your horses and tearing off into the sunset.
But we’d also like to see Rockstar innovate. Again, let's think about the idea of law and lawless in the Old West. How about being able to choose a role: bandit or sheriff deputy? Each one comes with a variety of unique activities to do, such as arresting high-profile targets or assassinating them, or engaging in bar brawls or breaking them up. Perhaps if there are lawful players in the area, they can interrupt a heist and arrest the bandit players?
And how about a territory system, with the law trying to drive out bandits taking over towns, leading to some epic standoffs? That’d have us queuing to get onto servers on launch day.
We're tapped for ideas, but what do you think? What Red Dead Redemption 2 innovations would you like to see?