We are approaching the final days before the launch of easily one of the most anticipated games of the year in Red Dead Redemption 2. As a sequel to one of the most well-regarded games ever, it has a lot to live up to. But it seems like developer Rockstar is up for the challenge, and in the process may just raise the quality bar for the entire game industry.
There had been almost no talk about the game before two months ago. Then, suddenly a tidal wave of info flooded the internet, hoping to fill in some (but not all) of the blanks regarding the next entry. We’ve rounded up some of the need-to-know items to help get you prepared for it.
Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place in the Old West in 1899, over a decade before the first game. The actual location seems to be as nebulous an interpretation of the western United States as the original Red Dead Redemption.
Conceptually, this is confirmed by the location of the sole overlapping area between them, The Great Plains. Where The Great Plains was in the northeast of the first game’s map, it’s in the south west of the sequel’s. Being further east of the original area doesn’t guarantee that RDR2 will look like Louisiana and Mississippi — it’s not the real US after all. But context clues from some of the revealed names and screens of the new locales seems to suggest influences from anywhere between those states, all the way to the east coast.
Take the city of Saint Denis, in the bayou state of Lemoyne. Rockstar’s website describes it as “A key gateway into North America with a trade route that runs the length of the country…” and “a melting pot of cultures and people where businessmen, socialites, sailors, laborers, beggars and thieves all live side by side.” Sounds like a similar romanticism used with another popular bayou city known for its beads and catfish.
Or the snowy peaks of Mount Hagan, in a state called Ambarino. It would seem strange to go further west of the Texas-like area and see snow, but the Appalachian Mountains stretch all the way down to Georgia and Alabama, which would put it right in the suspected area here. It’s a good call, moving the game further east, because of how diverse the landscape of the southern midwest can be. The more variety of looks you can give players, the more easily they stay engaged, no?
Story & Characters
Dutch’s Gang, lead by infamous and legendary gangster Dutch Van Der Linde, is where John Marston earned his grit from the first game. It stained a bit of his soul, and his quest to tie up those loose ends and put the past to rest for good lead him to more betrayal, and his eventual doom.
You’ll be embedded in Dutch’s Gang during their prime. Not as Dutch or Marston, but as Arthur Morgan. Morgan is Dutch’s number two guy, and has been a ward of Van Der Linde’s since childhood. He’s helped cultivate the gang with his loyalty, cunning, and heavy hand, but we catch him at a crossroads in his life. A sort of existential crisis hits him, making him question a lot of what he understood about life up until this point.
How this plays into the plot, no one knows but Rockstar. The story details have been kept deep under wraps.
There has been a rush of new chatter about what you’ll be able to do in this version of the wild west. Old activities like hunting and gambling are back in some fashion, altered and adjusted for a fresh take on the experience. A version of the Dead Eye system, where the world slows down and you can mark targets for a bullet barrage, is also back.
But there are a bunch of new ways to interact with the world around you. As you and the Van Der Linde Gang get bounced around from area to area thanks to pressure from the law, you set up a base camp. This serves as a sort of headquarters for you and your gang, and is a hub for all of your activities. In it are each of the members of the gang, who you can form deep bonds with over time by chatting them up or doing favors for/with them.
Gunplay and fisticuffs have been enhanced, with the option to upgrade and customize weapons, as well as the need to clean and maintain weapons to ensure maximum effectiveness. That said, Rockstar has put incredible care in developing a world where your gun isn’t the only way to affect the world around you. Talking to people is largely emphasized in RDR2. You can strike up friendships with many of the denizens your stumble across just by simply saying "hi" to them. This could lead to missions or other opportunities, but your mouth could also get you into danger. It’s up to you to start trouble or talk your way out of it, if you so choose.
Some of those missions could include robbing banks or trains in big heists, which are new to the series. Bounty hunting and loansharking could be hobbies you could get into, as well. Point being, there is plenty to get into RDR2.
Like Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar hopes to make a huge splash in the online world with Red Dead Online. It won’t be available at launch, but a public beta will open up in November.
It’s hard to really know what this will feature specifically. Rockstar described it as mix of “narrative with competitive and cooperative gameplay,” which really doesn’t say much. I think it’s not too far fetched to assume this will be similar to GTA Online in as many ways as makes sense for a game set before the turn of last century.
On October 26th, dust off the saddle and get ready to ride again in Red Dead Redemption 2. Until then, check out our Red Dead Redemption 2 Wiki.
Jarrett shares his love of video games and geek culture through feature articles on Gamepedia. He prides himself on his deep attraction to Japanese beat-em ups and his god-like Bushido Blade talents.