August 9, 2018 – Rockstar Games has released a phenomenal reveal video, captured entirely in-game, of their upcoming sequel to the rootin’-tootin’-shootin’ western wonderland game Red Dead Redemption, released in 2010. Red Dead Redemption 2, according to the gameplay video, appears to boast a much more detailed experience in the world of the wild American west.
Players fill the cowboy boots of Arthur Morgan, a high-ranking member of the Van der Linde gang. Players of the original game may note the nod toward the gang as the thread that bound our previous protagonist, John Marston, to the villainous Dutch Van der Linde.
Arthur’s journey is up to the player to dictate; his actions can be selfish or compassionate, cruel or kind. The leeway to define the ethics of the protagonist may mirror the moral dilemmas faced by Marston in the original title, considering Arthur’s involvement in the gang Marston ultimately decided to leave. Moral agency will be one of many opportunities for the player to carve their very own story in the game.
The Van der Linde gang sets up bases where the outlaws will “eat, sleep, perform chores, play games, and share stories.” The player can provide supplies for the camps to keep the residents happy, and we can presume there will be more housekeeping mechanics to organize and customize bases, as well as allocate resources and manage personnel.
Furthermore, the base camps serve as a sort of social hub for the player. Each gang member has an individual story and background, and players will get the chance to bond with them. Plot and side quests are often tied to the player’s relationships with NPCs, so spending time with the rich, detailed characters in the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is a win-win.
Arthur’s social life won’t just be confined to the gang’s bases. Red Dead Redemption 2 will offer an entirely-new system of micro-interactions—players can greet passersby, rile up bullies, or even talk down a potentially violent opponent. Diplomacy and intimidation play a significant role in the way Arthur will walk through the world, and the choice between them is left to the player.
Rockstar Games set out to make Red Dead Redemption 2‘s world “not simply open, but deeper—more interactive and detailed than ever.” The gameplay video shows impeccable attention to detail; the player is swarmed with choices thanks to the the intricate systems of bases, conflict resolution (or escalation), gunslinging, exploration, and story. However, the open world itself is nothing to scoff at. The video shows a breathtakingly gorgeous depiction of the American West. There are snow-crested peaks, arid deserts, dense forests, swamps, and more.
“The game is an attempt to capture this pivotal moment when the age of outlaws was ending, and the modern world was born,” says the video’s narrator. The Van der Linde gang is one of the last symbols of the disorder that once characterized the Wild West. Through Arthur, the player will grapple with the competing forces of lawlessness and civilization in America in 1899.
Combat and gunslinging received special attention in the development of Red Dead Redemption 2, it seems. Not only are there unique animations for reloading and handling of different guns, but the fighting system seems more detailed and varied than traditional one-note melee combat.
The painstaking attention to detail doesn’t stop there, however! The video also reveals that even the horse system has become more realistic and intricate. There are different horse breeds in the world that are each suited to different functions—some are speedsters, others workhorses, others pack animals. Better yet, the relationship Arthur has with his horse will influence how smooth the ride will be! Bonding with one’s horse might actually save a player from being thrown and abandoned at an inopportune time. Say, seconds before the train comes around. Treat that girl right!
The hunting system has also been expanded since the last game. Hunt for cash or to support your base. (Or both!) The world appears to be teeming with wildlife, thanks to a self-sustaining ecosystem full of diverse animals. The video shows wolves, bears, eagles, and more… even alligators! Hunting now has a specific tracking mechanic when Arthur wounds an animal but fails to kill it. We can safely assume the different environments each have different animal kingdoms to discover, from desert geckos to mountain billy-goats.
These six minutes of in-game footage reveal so much to look forward to about Red Dead Redemption 2, but more is yet to come! Rockstar Games will be releasing more gameplay videos. According to the narrator, the next video will look at missions, activities, enemy gangs, robberies, and more—including how the legendary Dead Eye Targeting mechanic has been modernized for the brand-new Red Dead Redemption title.
Red Dead Redemption 2 will be released October 26, 2018 for the PS4 and Xbox One.
For more information on Rockstar Games, visit their website at https://www.rockstargames.com/.
For more information on Red Dead Redemption 2, including pre-order information, trailers, artwork, and more, check out the game’s homepage at https://www.rockstargames.com/reddeadredemption2/.