No game developer markets their product better than Rockstar Games. They simply don't make bad titles, and since everyone knows it they are able to do little more than say "hey, we're making ____" and the Internet goes nuts. They're smart enough to know that what fans are hungry for is a taste, just a morsel of information that they can chew on with fellow fans on social media and message boards. This worked for Grand Theft Auto IV & V and a certain cowboy adventure released in 2010, and they've pulled it off again this week by showing us just enough of the long-anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2 to get us drooling all over our keyboards.
On October 16th Rockstar's Twitter account posted an image that was nothing more than their logo in black set against a roughly-painted red background, the telltale color scheme and art style of one of their biggest hits, Red Dead Redemption. Fans went nuts. Were we finally getting a sequel to one of the greatest games of last-generation? Was it just a remastered version of that game with prettier graphics and maybe a first-person mode, similar to what they did with GTA V?
One of the few Old West cliches missing from the last game was train robberies, maybe this time!
Two days later their Twitter confirmed that it was indeed going to be a new game rather than a update to the old one, and while I'd be happy to play a remastered version of RDR this is the news I was hoping for. Fresh stories, characters, towns, and likely a new protagonist. Hell, what if they do multiple protagonists like they did in Grand Theft Auto V? There's been speculation that it could be a prequel to the events of the previous game rather than a straight-up sequel, which would really change what Rockstar could do with the story.
They delivered the first trailer this morning, and it didn't disappoint. While no obviously game play footage was included, they were able to showcase some beautiful Western vistas in the sixty-eight second trailer. There was a locomotive steaming its way past a herd of buffalo, some cowboys enjoying the warmth of a fire under a star-filled sky, and even some shots of a Deadwood-like town. Fall of 2017 is the release date listed at the tail-end of the trailer, but video game release dates have become very unreliable over the last few years so I wouldn't be surprised if the game gets pushed to the spring of 2018. No matter what year Red Dead Redemption 2 arrives in, it will instantly be a favorite to win a lot of Game of the Year awards.
What a shot...can't wait to see how it fits into Red Dead Redemption 2's storyline.
As far as further information, I'm not expecting to hear anything else from Rockstar on Red Dead Redemption 2 until next June, at the 2017 e3 Conference. This trailer is enough to whet everyone's appetite and speculation on what kind of story the game will deliver will make for great water cooler talk until we finally get our hands on RDR 2, whenever that ends up happening. But I like being kept in the dark, I always end up being surprised by the characters and stories because they're never spoiled for me ahead of time. You might know who you'll be playing as, but Rockstar keeps their character arc a well-guarded secret.
In the meantime, if you somehow didn't get to play Red Dead Redemption the first time around then this is a great time to do so. It's a genre-defining video game, it breathed new life into western-themed games at a time when they were all but forgotten. And with Halloween coming up it's worth checking out the zombie-themed DLC Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. The two experiences combined offer over a hundred hours of entertainment, and if you've ever played a Grand Theft Auto game the mechanics will instantly feel familiar. RDR is coming soon to PlayStation 4 via their PlayStation Now streaming service, and the Xbox 360 version is backwards-compatible on the Xbox One.
Rockstar always packs their games full of memorable characters, I'm looking forward to learning this guy's story.
The trailer has me pumped and it's going to be hard to wait (at least) a year to play Red Dead Redemption 2. But in the hands of a developer like Rockstar Games I'm confident that the game will equal and potentially surprise its brilliant predecessor. And who knows, maybe they'll end up remastering RDR in what little spare time that they'll have?