Rockstar hasn't released a brand new game since the first version of Grand Theft Auto 5 in 2013. Given the enormous, continuing success of GTA Online it was beginning to look like they may go Full Valve and never release a new game.
That changed last October, when Red Dead Redemption 2 was teased, announced and received its atmospheric first trailer within the space of a very busy week.
A new game in the celebrated western series had been rumoured for months, but the nobody had a clue about the shape it would take.
That the game is a numbered follow-up to 2010 classic Red Dead Redemption and will presumably continue its story, was a surprise in of itself. Most assumed that the series naming convention - "Revolver" followed by "Redemption" - would continue with "Revenge", "Revolution" or something along those lines.
We had 30 suggestions ourselves, including all manner of silly nonsense. None, of course, were correct in the end.
With an enormous amount still unknown about Rockstar Games' next title, here's everything we do know and everything to be expected of one of the year's biggest releases.
When is Red Dead Redemption 2's release date?
Right now, the game is touted for "Fall 2017", but being such a vague release window and given Rockstar's history, a delay until 2018 is certainly possible. If it is to drop in 2017 however, Rockstar may follow the pattern set by Grand Theft Auto 5 and release the game in September.
What platforms will Red Dead Redemption 2 be released on?
PS4 and Xbox One. Those are the two confirmed platforms and they'll likely be the only two... for now. A Nintendo Switch version is a pipe dream, but a PC version is within the realm of possibility. Red Dead Redemption was never released on PC, but the gaming world has changed and the success of GTA 5 on PC may convince Rockstar.
What is Red Dead Redemption 2's story?
Rockstar's only official synopsis describes the game as "an epic tale of life in America's unforgiving heartland". This obviously doesn't tell us much.
The speculation, based on the characters depicted in artwork and more recent rumours about returning voice actors, is that RDR2 will be a prequel about Redemption protagonist John Marston and his criminal gang.
It's this gang that Marston was tasked with tracking down in the original game, so exploring the relationship between these outlaws and how they fell apart seems ripe for potential.
How will Red Dead Redemption 2 play?
There's very little doubt that the game will be open world in structure, similar to the previous game. Expect to ride a lot of horses, hunt and skin an array of wildlife, play parlour games around the game's townships and engage in slow-motion duels.
GTA 5's signature feature was the ability to swap between three playable characters on the fly. Such a feature could return for Red Dead Redemption 2, and would certainly fit with speculation that the story will concern Marston and his gang.
Where RDR2 is likely to innovate most however is in its online play.
What can we expect from Red Dead Redemption Online?
Something new, according to Rockstar itself. "The game's vast and atmospheric world will also provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience," reads the game's website.
Like the enormously successful GTA Online, which itself was rooted in part in some of what the original Red Dead Redemption did with its multiplayer, RDR Online will seemingly focus on the same open world as the story side.
In the original game up to 16 players could occupy a single session to play free-for-all or team-based multiplayer game modes, or just free-roam the open world forming groups (called a posse) with whoever they please to take out other posses or AI-controlled gang hideouts.
What will be interesting is how Rockstar builds on the GTA Online formula. It's an enormous money-spinner for them and owners Take Two, so there will be an eye on making more money through microtransactions, but what we're more interested in are the ties between multiplayer and single player.
The connection between GTA 5 and GTA Online didn't extend much beyond beyond the setting and a few shared characters. There's certainly room for more overlap, but Rockstar would have to be careful to not infringe on too much on its story-telling with any multiplayer elements.
People love Rockstar games for its single-player stories as much as GTA Online players now love the developer for its multiplayer. To bring those two sides together in some way would certainly require a deft touch.
Where can I pre-order Red Dead Redemption 2?
- Amazon UK
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