Red Dead Redemption 2 – What we know
It's hard to believe it's been over six years since the launch of Red Dead Redemption, and we've still yet to see a proper sequel to John Marston's ground-breaking western adventure. Sure, we got an undead appetizer in the form of the zombie-infested Undead Nightmare, but a fully-fledged sequel is yet to emerge from Rockstar.
Fortunately, it is now available to play once again through the magic of Xbox One backwards compatibility, which will hopefully keep us entertained until the long-awaited sequel is revealed.
Speculation is rife in 2016, with many expecting a Red Dead Redemption 2 announcement at Sony's PlayStation Meeting later today.
Related: GTA 6 news and rumours
Of course, we assume the next game won't actually be called Red Dead Redemption 2 (considering we've had Red Dead Revolver followed by Red Dead Redemption, it will be some variant on "Red Dead"). Until we have solid confirmation, we’ll stick with RDR2 for now.
Until there’s an official Red Dead Redemption 2 announcement, we’re collating all the news, rumours and speculations in one place – so keep this page bookmarked.
Red Dead Redemption 2 Release Date – When is it coming out?
Although there’s been no official word from Rockstar Games as to when the next installation in the Red Dead series will arrive, at least we know it is a case of "when" and not "if".
In Take-Two's latest earnings report, the company revealed its entire launch lineup for the upcoming financial year, and there wasn't a title from Rockstar in the list. This means it will be 2017 at the earliest before we see GTA 6. Rockstar is, however, "working on exciting future projects that will be revealed soon," Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said during the investors call (via VideoGamer).
Some industry insiders believed a reveal for Red Dead Redemption 2 was set for Gamescom 2016, taking into account many of the statements from recent financial reports. Rockstar has kept quiet for several months now, leading us to believe that an announcement could well be on the way. Unfortunately, no such announcement was forthcoming at the Cologne showcase.
However, we do have one more set piece opportunity for a reveal before the year's end: PlayStation Meeting. Sony is set to unveil the PS4 Neo on September 7 at a bespoke event, showcasing the new hardware with a line-up of first party titles. It wouldn't be entirely out of the question for Rockstar to make a statement by showing Red Dead 2 at this event, and would certainly be a perfect way to show off a new console.
Related: PS4 vs Xbox One
Red Dead Redemption 2 News – What do we know so far?
Red Dead Redemption 2 map
A recent leak seemed to provide the map for the forthcoming Red Dead Redemption 2. The image was posted to NeoGAF before very quickly being taken down, but not before being screengrabbed and shared all over the place.
A closer look at the map reveals Great Plains and multiple Caravan camps as potential locations we'll be visiting. There are also several islands located among the rivers and large expanses of water; let's hope the missions centred on these aren't as tiresome as when John Marsden had to cross ravines to new areas on the map in Redemption.
Sources at Techradar later claimed the leak to be real, citing its own sources.
Take-Two drops some Red Dead Redemption 2 hints
During the Take-Two earnings call, the publisher provided a glimpse of its lineup for the next fiscal year and beyond.
First, the publisher confirmed a brand-new entry into the NBA and WWE 2K series, which won't come as much of a surprise. However, Take-Two also gave us a few hints as to what else is in the pipeline, including new IP and new releases from "proven franchises", which obviously includes Red Dead.
"Users can expect new annual releases from our NBA and WWE 2K series, as well as exciting, yet-to-be-announced titles from other popular franchises."
"Looking further ahead, we have a robust pipeline of titles in development, including ground breaking new intellectual properties, and new releases from our proven franchises. For example, we can confirm that 2K and Gearbox software will develop an all new Borderlands game built specifically for next-gen consoles."
"In addition, we have numerous unannounced titles in development, as well as innovative offerings designed to maximize player engagement and drive recurring consumer spending."
"We have more to announce about our future lineup in the coming months."
Related: Best Games 2015
Rockstar San Diego looking to hire 37 new staff
In September 2014, Rockstar San Diego listed a total of 37 new job openings, adding weight to the idea that the developer is building up to launch an as-yet-unannounced project for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Of course, the job listings didn't indicate which game these new recruits would be working on, but we'd put money on it being the next Red Dead title.
Red Dead Redemption 2 to be announced within the year?
According to Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Baird Equity Research, Red Dead Redemption 2 will be announced by the end of 2014, along with the GTA 5 PC edition.
"Take-Two continues to produce some of the highest-quality console and PC games, which we believe should transition well on next-gen platforms," said Sebastian in the 2014 Video Game Industry Predictions and Q4 Results Preview.
"We expect product announcements over the next year such as extending GTA V to other platforms (for example – PCs, next-gen consoles), the next Red Dead, and so on, to help improve revenue and earnings visibility."
"We also believe the next Red Dead game is in the works potentially for a 2014 launch."
Although this is far from official confirmation, it has ramped up the hype ahead of a potential 2014 announcement.
Related: No Man's Sky review
Red Dead Redemption 2 – Name
We definitely know the next Red Dead title will not be called Red Dead Redemption 2. The original Red Dead, released in 2004 was called Red Dead Revolver. This was then followed in 2010 by Red Dead Redemption.
Rumour has it that the next game will be called Red Dead Rebellion, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Red Dead Redemption 2 – What we’d like to see
Until Rockstar or Take-Two eventually provide us with some official details surrounding the next entry in the Red Dead series, here are a few thoughts on what we’d like to see:
1. Increased protagonist depth
The Red Dead Redemption storyline was one of the best and came complete with a cast of amazing characters and a rather poignant end. However, sometimes we weren’t convinced by the protagonist John Marston.
For someone who is supposed to be the most fearsome gunslinger of the Wild West, Marston isn’t exactly all he’s cracked up to be. He never seemed to quite portray the right emotions during cut-scenes, and despite committing various crimes and atrocities, he managed to constantly dwell on his supposed strong moral fibres.
The Red Dead Redemption 2 protagonist needs to be a fear-inducing, gun-slinging cowboy of the bad-ass kind. Make him stand out against the various other cowboys in the Wild West; make him count.
Either that or introduce conversation options similar to that of Mass Effect to let you choose your character’s moral compass. Of course, we don’t want to miss out on the cinematic quality that Rockstar is so good at, but it could make for a very interesting Wild West adventure if you had a little more control.
Related: PS4 vs PS3
2. Similarly beautiful environments
No-one can deny the sheer beauty of the Red Dead Redemption environments. We rarely found ourselves resorting to the Quick Travel feature, instead opting to traverse the sprawling desert landscapes, taking in the scenery, the wildlife and the stunning sunsets, even if the destination was the other side of the vast map.
Any sequel (or prequel) game has a lot to live up to if it aims to have the same effect on gamers, but that’s not to say there aren’t some improvements to be made.
We thought the cities in Red Dead Redemption, and Blackwater in particular, were a little disappointing. Beyond the cinema screens, brothels and stores, there wasn’t much to entertain, forcing you to spend the majority of your time in the desert on horseback.
Through the most part of Red Dead Redemption you're building up an image of Blackwater as a bustling city that claims to be on the fringe of modernisation, but the reality hardly lived up to our expectations.
Red Dead Rebellion could be set further on in time than Redemption, which is in around 1911. The next game could well focus on a time period where an industrial revolution is threatening to wipe out the Wild West way of life.
Either that or Rebellion could focus on a time where the cowboys really were entirely relevant, giving Rockstar the opportunity to explore the Wild West in its heydays rather than as it draws to a close.
3. Create a prequel
Rockstar Games may well opt to do a Red Dead Redemption prequel with the next game. Marston and the other characters in the game continually refer to Marston’s past, where he ran in Bill Williamson and Dutch van der Lind’s bandit gang.
It could be extremely fun to play as a younger Marston, who is a notorious criminal in the Red Dead world. Imagine the over the top, GTA-esque missions that could feature in such a game.
John Marston has been one of the more celebrated videogame protagonists, so it would make sense for Rockstar Games to hold on to him for just a little while longer.
4. Improve the control system
Similar to the improvements made between GTA 4 and the latest GTA 5, the next Red Dead game could do with some mechanic improvements.
Cover mechanics were a little sluggish at best, although they did allow you to take a breather in between shooting, but was greatly improved over the original.
The horse animations were fantastic, and possibly the best in any game, but could also use some tweaking. The controls were too loose, which often made guiding your faithful four-legged friend a little clumsy.
We particularly hated the fact you had to repeatedly tap A or X to run fast when riding or on foot, and the fact making our way across the map caused us all to get hand cramps.
With GTA 5 showing great improvements in mechanics, Rockstar Games has no excuse not to transfer them to the next game in the Red Dead series.
Related: Xbox One vs Xbox 360
5. More varied missions
Like the GTA games, the mission routine of travelling to a location with some conversation, action and then go home again, does become a little tedious at times. Rockstar could introduce a little diversity with the way missions work and the objectives presented within them.
The vast Red Dead environment lends itself to all kinds of side missions. Apparently, there were around 200 random missions to encounter in Red Dead Redemption, but they were all too similar to stand out.
What about train heists? Or sneak attacks on unaware Pinkerton agents? Or the ability to break free posse members from the Sheriff’s office?
Red Dead Redemption was so close to perfection, but if the missions were a little more eventful and the side mission's characters more developed and unique, the next game may well be totally mind-blowing.
6. Introduce single-player posses
Building on the previous point, single-player would be greatly enhanced by the ability to enlist in-game characters to form a posse.
The online portion of Red Dead Redemption allowed you to join with your friends in a posse to attack competitors, and was often recreated within single-player missions.
However, the mechanic could be made more of in future single-player campaigns, especially with a type of posse list that includes anyone you’ve met along your travels.
Say if your relationship with any specific character is high enough, you could enlist them to fight with you whenever you needed them. The more you use each, the stronger they become, even perhaps levelling up different abilities according to your relationship with them.
Again, this is taking a few hints from the Mass Effect series, but could lend itself to interesting side missions, including breaking any captured allies out of the jail or the Sheriff’s office as mentioned previously.
What would you like to see in the next Red Dead game? Let us know in the comments below.