Here's everything you need to know to prepare for Rockstar's latest adventure in the wild, wild west.
Yes, it's finally happening my fellow outlaws. Red Dead Redemption II is real and it's coming to PlayStation 4 this year. After Rockstar Games' massively successful open-world cowboy game set during the death of the Wild West, fans began clamoring for a follow-up that continued the story of the Marston family or embraced a new gunslinger.
After years of rumors and silence on Rockstar's end, they finally surprised the world on one random morning in 2016 by announcing a sequel to their critically acclaimed western. It took over a year to get any actual concrete details regarding the game and frankly, it's still a bit of a mystery but it sounds like it could be a mix of a story of a new outlaw and also fill in a massive gap in John Marston's story.
The story so far...
Rockstar Games appears to be returning to the traditional one playable character route after successfully experimenting with three playable protagonists in Grand Theft Auto V but he's not John or Jack Marston. Players will travel to sometime between the late 1800s and 1906 to fill the boots and don the hat of a much less noble man that goes by the name of Arthur Morgan, a brute that's running with Dutch van der Linde's gang during their prime. While little is known about Arthur, we know he's a much more sinister cowboy who doesn't mind getting his hands dirty. In the second trailer, we see him interrogating and roughing up several people who appear to owe money to Dutch's Gang, perhaps for protection. He's a brutal force that is loyal to Dutch and likely only Dutch.
It's likely we're going to see the rise and fall of the gang, with Arthur Morgan playing a pivotal role.
The story will see Morgan and Van der Linde's gang stealing, running, and fighting to survive the rugged and cruel world that is the Wild West. Order has not yet been established, technology is slowly beginning to evolve into something far more advanced, and people like Dutch believe it's important that things stay the way they are. The van der Linde gang was always viewed as a Robin Hood-type of bandits, stealing from the rich to give to the poor and resisting the government in favor of a structure where it was a "every man for himself" situation.
The gang eventually evolved into something far more dangerous and unhinged according to a anecdote provided by John Marston, leading him to realize their Robin Hood act it was all a front for their evil actions and crimes. It's likely we're going to see the rise and fall of the gang with Arthur Morgan playing a pivotal role in both aspects. A man like that can strike fear into the hearts of many but if not controlled can create problems and enemies beyond anyone's control. Clearly whatever happens, it gets the attention of the law and sends the crew on the run where they attempt to cling to whatever they can before they are struck down.
How does it connect to the original Red Dead Redemption?
So, what's the connection to the first Red Dead Redemption? Well, Rockstar is being very, very careful not to say much about this game and have gone to great lengths to conceal faces of characters in promotional material and word their press releases in provocative ways to torture us. With that said, we'll have to put on our tin foil conspiracy hats to make the connection.
There are rumors (some that are very credible) that John Marston is in the game but no one has been able to completely confirm his presence.
Given this game takes place long before the events of the original game and has a direct link to it via Dutch van der Linde and his gang, it's hard to imagine Rockstar isn't trying to expand John Marston's story in someway. With games like Grand Theft Auto, there have been very subtle connections tying the games together but none of them are direct sequels or relate to each other in any way. With Red Dead Redemption II, Rockstar had the chance to name the game something like Red Dead Revolution, Red Dead Retribution, or something along those lines given that the series so far has gone Red Dead Revolver and then Red Dead Redemption. They purposely named it in a way that links the two games.
Marston was also a substantial part of Dutch's Gang, he was taken in by Dutch when he ran away from the orphanage he lived in. He was raised by this gang and lived with them for a large majority of his life and in the fallout of him abandoning the gang, it all went to hell and it was more or less disbanded. With Dutch looking young and dashing in II, it seems likely that the game takes place prior to Marston taking off with Abigail. There are rumors (some that are very credible) that John Marston is in the game but no one has been able to completely confirm his presence outside of some vague outlines that somewhat resemble him.
Major gameplay innovations are coming in the western sequel
Since Rockstar has been pretty prude about Red Dead Redemption II, we only have a few things to go off of regarding the gameplay. There will be more details in the future regarding what the gameplay will look like but for right now we'll just give you the basic rundown of what we know.
It looks as if Rockstar will be carrying over the heists from GTA V as we see Arthur Morgan robbing a bank and holding up a train in the second trailer. It's unclear how much of a focal point these will be in the game since it was the core of GTA V's campaign but one has to imagine it plays a similar role given you're a gang of notorious western criminals.
Some major changes are coming in combat with the ability to dual wield weapons like Max Payne, bows and arrows used for hunting and maybe even some stealth combat as we see Arthur Morgan taking a knife to someone's back in the dead of night. A credible rumor that confirmed the name of the protagonist and some plot details long before the game was ever even announced noted that a large part of the game will center around setting up and moving camps while on the run.
The rumor also noted that when you go out to do missions, you'll bring a party of chosen NPCs like Mass Effect or Dragon Age to help you out. It's worth taking it with a grain of salt since it is just a rumor and the game was actually in a state of development hell because Rockstar wasn't completely satisfied with the game so things may have been changed.
When you can play it and when we'll know more
The only questions remaining are when we can play the game and when we can expect more firm details from Rockstar. The game is currently scheduled to release on October 26th, 2018 for PlayStation 4 as well as Xbox One, and we can likely expect some news regarding the game in May or June via a Game Informer cover story or a new trailer and breakdown directly from Rockstar. As of right now, we'll just have to hold our breaths and keep waiting to saddle up again.
Pre-order isn't available just yet in most places for Red Dead Redemption 2, but for those looking to pick up the original game to play through before the sequel drops, you can find the Game of the Year Edition for $20