The Resurfacing of Red Dead Redemption 2

Many among the gaming audience have anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2 for a good while, though this was to be expected for a Rockstar title. It’s the company that kept everyone waiting for Grand Theft Auto V, which arrived a little more than five years after the fourth game — not including the DLC. But the wait has been even longer for this one, given that it’s already been over seven years since the original Red Dead Redemption released on last-generation consoles. Both GTA games were made during the same long console generation, which made development a little easier. But the second RDR game needed more development time due to this being Rockstar’s first open-world title made for current-gen consoles.

RDR2 was unveiled through a trailer in October last year, and was confirmed for a holiday 2017 release. To little surprise, it was one of the first among the list of titles delayed until spring 2018 — to sometime within the second quarter of next year, specifically. Rockstar likes to intensely polish their open world games, a boon that’s more important these days thanks to the abundance of them on current-gen consoles. This also explains why it went dark for nearly a year.

After teasing it for a week, Rockstar finally provided a new trailer. It was remarkably similar to the last one in how it previewed the story by showing snippets of its cutscenes, but left most of them without context. But it was enough to confirm that this will be a prequel to RDR, as previously suspected. After all, this had to be the case unless they wanted to drift into an alternate timeline. RDR’s story ended at the conclusion of the Wild West and the start of World War I early in the 20th century.

More importantly, the game will cover the story that worked as the catalyst for RDR’s series of events. RDR2 will tell the tale of outlaw Arthur Morgan and the van der Linde gang, who spend their time fighting and pillaging to survive in the heart of the American frontier. It’s the gang RDR protagonist John Marston was once part of, one whose methods went horribly awry before the game started. Through this installment, we’ll see precisely how the group falls apart. There’s no confirmation about if only Arthur will be playable, or if they can switch between multiple viewpoints. Considering GTAV had three protagonists, it would be no surprise if this game utilized the same feature.

Despite the level of excitement from the trailer and how Rockstar teased it well in advance, it was briefer than expected. The previews of the environments and cutscenes showed how great the presentation will be. Both the backdrops and the character models (especially the faces) look especially good, and it’s clear Rockstar is taking advantage of the technology in current-gen consoles. The textures in some parts are clearly unfinished, to the point where it was surprising some of them were shown, but they still have time to polish them.

After the sizable gap between previews, it would have been nice to see more than a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sneak peek at gameplay. The trailer was only a minute and 29 seconds, so they could have afforded to make it a longer preview to provide a tease at some gameplay changes they’ll be making. They’re saving this for another trailer, and hopefully that will arrive soon — like, before Thanksgiving.

The brevity of the trailer raised doubts about whether it actually make spring next year, but keep in mind there’s plenty of time until the end of the release timeframe. Some tend to forget that spring goes until late-June (probably the same who think summer ends on August 31st), so Rockstar will have several opportunities to release the same sort of trailers they provided for the first RDR and the GTA games.

We’ll see soon if this latest trailer signified the start of the main advertising campaign, something they can afford to do at any time of the year. Rockstar abides by their own schedule, as their games are big enough that they don’t need to show new trailers and gameplay videos at big events like E3 or PlayStation Experience.

In the meantime, it would be nice if they remastered RDR for release on current-gen consoles, and released it for the first time on PC. The release of GTAV for PS4 and XB1 shows that Rockstar isn’t against the concept of remasters, and how they’ve changed from the time where they stubbornly resisted remastering the PS2 GTA titles for a last-gen console release. Unless you own an Xbox One, there’s no legal way to play the game on a current system, so an updated rerelease to ensure that people catch up on or replay the previous game would benefit everyone involved.

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