I wrote this article back in October 2016 for The Galleon newspaper. Since we are getting closer to E3 and the recent news that RDR2 is being delayed until 2018, I thought it was about time to repost my article. Enjoy!
Red Dead Redemption 2‘s trailer was launched yesterday, already racking up 4 million views on Rockstar’s official YouTube page. Despite not giving us any gameplay footage, mechanics or even story points, the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. So let’s break down what’s actually in the trailer.
- Varied Locations.
From the vast landscape shots, we seem to be getting a much more diverse map to ride horses through. RDR was mainly desert, followed by more desert, with only the top right corner giving us a break from the sandy landscape; forests, snow-capped mountains and encroaching civilisation squashed into one small area. RDR2 shows off desert but also river basins (reminiscent of The Revenant), dense forests and even some oil fields. Let’s hope the landscape has a gradual change from one to the other, instead of the awkward transitions between “outlaws country” to small towns in the previous game. Another shot shows two people using a canoe in a lake. This is obviously an update to RDR‘s approach to water (step into anything bigger than a puddle and it was automatic death), so we might be using craft other than our horses to get around the beautiful countryside.
- Characters. Lots of ’em.
The final shot of the trailer gives us seven riders, with one of them almost certainly going to be our player character. Further breakdown gives indications of a possible female rider of the far right. Rockstar obviously want to reuse GTAV‘s multiple characters, so could we be in for more than one tough-talking rustler, and possibly a cowgirl? Rockstar got several complaints after GTAV‘s lack of a female playable character, and after the greatly received Assassins Creed Syndicate had a male and female character, Rockstar could be planning a bold new step for them. Hopefully taking the strong female characters from the first game as a template, it would be a breath of fresh air for a developer that has neglected playable female characters.
- The name and its implications.
Red Dead Redemption 2 makes it clear that we are returning to the world and characters given to us back in 2010. RDR was set in the dying days of the Old West leading many to speculate that we are in fact getting a prequel. This makes sense, with RDR protagonist John Marston once being part of a gang, filled with a colourful cast of rogues and thieves. Marston also meets his future wife, Abigail in the gang, so we could be in for a mature, blossoming relationship as well as several gunfights and horse chases. RDR was a place full of history, from the wrecked steamboat Serendipity to Native Americans trading for their homeland and burial places back after fighting for many years. Maybe RDR2 will answer how some of these events came to be, as we the player go through an interesting part of American history.
- The story.
While we have no official story points, I have a couple of thoughts based on the above material. We play as John Marston again but also as his wife Abigail. This would take use of the multiple character idea from GTAV. After a series of bank robberies with the gang (again, much like GTAV) John and Abigail must flee an increasingly volatile situation, as Abigail is newly pregnant with their son (who was a playable character in the previous game). This would give context to the line in the trailer, “When the time comes, you gotta run and don’t look back. This is over.” John and Abigail have to try and survive in dangerous world and care for their new child, all the while being hunted by their old gang (save for the few that appear in RDR). Right there we have a template for several tense standoffs, a relationship that players can get invested in (as well as the return of one of the most beloved characters to come from Rockstar) and a reason to keep moving through the landscape, just in case a murderer is on your tail. So when Rockstar finally releases gameplay of a female character, remember where you heard it first.
So those are my ideas about what will appear in Red Dead Redemption 2. A couple more months and we’ll find out for sure what the game will give us.
The original post from The Galleon can be read here.