• in

    Red Dead Redemption 2 First Teased A Year Ago

    A year has passed since Rockstar first teased Red Dead Redemption 2 by posting an image of their logo’s outline in black over a red background.

    Soon, we’ll hit the first anniversary of the game’s official announcement. A year is a long time, and yet not a lot has happened in that span – at least, not much that the fans have been privy to.

    The Hype

    This is how it all began, a year ago.

    Rockstar already starts from an advantageous position in these matters, as the very name of the company will make a game sell copious copies.

    That said, these guys sure know how to hype things up, and prior to the actual announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2, they set the internet on fire with the most minor of things. Sure, it wasn’t a subtle way of teasing the game, but it sure was effective.

    They first performed the black-on-red color change for all their logos across all social media channels, then followed it up with a black-on-red text stating the date of the announcement itself. Everyone instantly knew what was going to happen, and it was wild.

    The Announcement

    After days of winding up the fanbase, Rockstar finally dropped the bomb. While it being Red Dead Redemption 2 surprised no-one (well, maybe the choice of name was a tad surprising), it still got all the fanfare of being a huge reveal. The game was shown off with a highly scripted and partially cinematic trailer with minimal voice-over. It practically revealed zero information beyond the fact that the folks over at Rockstar’s animation department are incredibly skilled – but the fans ate it up anyways.

    Theory-crafting went into overdrive with all the frame analyzing that the release of such a trailer demands. However, even the most dedicated of fans had to realize that Rockstar was very smart in creating the announcement trailer, which was evidenced by the complete and utter lack of evidence pointing to anything at all.

    We had no idea where and when the game was set.

    Nonetheless, the fandom was stoked and even when the fuel provided by the trailer ran out (and then, it lasted really long) the hype revitalized interest in the 2010 title, Red Dead Redemption, and discussion of that game kept things going. The game was going to be released in the Fall of 2017 anyway, so that’s not such a long wait, right?

    The Delay

    None of us actually guessed that this is the star of the game.

    …Wrong.

    It was kind of easy to predict, what with the complete radio silence on Rockstar’s part, not to mention their track record with delays.

    Painfully close to the original release window, Rockstar finally gave life signs and officially announced what we all knew to be true but hoped wasn’t – the game wasn’t coming in 2017. The new release window was designated to be Spring 2018, and luckily this hasn’t changed since.

    We’re hoping it stays that way. As a kind of consolation gift, Rockstar released the first batch of official screenshots of the game, which even included the new protagonist, though we didn’t know that at the time. After this, they retreated once more into their turtle shell of silence with a final promise of more info coming this Summer.

    The Tease of the Tease

    While you might not think it to be substantial enough of an event to get its own heading, this particular motion in Red Dead Redemption 2’s brief pre-release history exemplifies the whole situation around the game’s marketing mixed with the way modern marketing practices have begun to field promotion as a product of its own.

    Much like how full length trailers get shortened teaser trailers, Rockstar also teased a tease. On the very final day of summer with 4 hours to spare, they announced that they will announce something in a few days.

    Like…

    Bloody hell.

    The Trailer

    Every RDR2 fan was significantly more enthusiastic than Mr.Morgan is here.

    When finally Rockstar deemed it time to throw a scrap to the hungering ravenous fans, they were quite generous with the scrap.

    We got a lengthy trailer full of in-game footage, dialogue lines, busy scenes just begging to undergo pixel-hunting and some specifics about the story.

    Almost a year after the announcement we finally know something about the game we’re so hyped about. It’s a prequel! Dutch is in it! The protagonist is a new character called Arthur Morgan! Trains! Banks! Guns! Horses!

    And here we are – a year after the announcement, we’ve got two trailers, one batch of screenshots and a half-year delay. Yay?

  • in

    Bill Williamson

    Bill Williamson first appeared as a primary antagonist in the 2010 video game Red Dead Redemption and returns in a currently unknown capacity in Red Dead Redemption 2. He was a member of Dutch’s Gang, and was John Marston’s first target after Marston tasked with hunting down his former partners.

    Meta Information

    Bill Williamson is voiced by Steve J. Palmer, an American actor.

    In Red Dead Redemption, Bill can be seen carrying the Winchester Repeater, the Schofield Revolver and the Cattleman Revolver.

    Bill Williamson is first encountered at Fort Mercer in New Austin.

    History

    Born in 1866, Bill is 45 years old during the events of Red Dead Redemption (though he looks much older). Prior to joining the Van der Linde Gang, Bill served in the military before becoming an outlaw. Drawn to the idealistic views of Dutch, he became deeply invested in the gang leader’s vision for the West. After a job went awry in 1906 and the gang left one of their own behind (John Marston), Dutch grew increasingly unhinged until the gang ultimately disbanded. Bill remained in New Austin and started his new gang, a band of vicious outlaws fuelled by his own violent tendencies created by his disappointment in Dutch.

    Years later, John Marston is brought back to the West Elizabeth/New Austin area with the task of hunting down his former comrades, and the now notorious Bill Williamson was his first target.

    Events of Red Dead Redemption 2

    During an unknown time period prior to the events of Red Dead Redemption, Bill Williamson is associated with Arthur Morgan and, presumably, Dutch van der Linde. Dutch’s gang is active during this time with Morgan being a member.

    Bill in Red Dead Redemption 2 (left)

    Bill is involved in a job which results in the burning down of a large building in an unknown settlement, where Morgan is also present. It can be assumed he is already a member of Dutch’s gang at this point.

    Events of Red Dead Redemption

    After John Marston arrives in Blackwater, he boards a train taking him to New Austin where he is to confront and arrest Bill Williamson. Bill, now the leader of his own gang, was operating out of Fort Mercer. John approached the Fort and attempted to persuade Bill to give himself up without a fight, but the disillusioned outlaw refused, mocking John for what Bill saw as turncoat betrayal. Several of Bill’s men held John at gunpoint and shot him when he reached for his revolver.

    Thinking John dead, Bill and his men left him out in the wilderness, however the former outlaw was merely wounded, and later Bonnie MacFarlane and Amos happened upon him. They took him to the doctor in Armadillo who removed the bullet from his torso for $15 which Bonnie paid. To settle his debt, John started working at Bonnie’s ranch, but upon learning he had survived, Bill sent his men to burn the ranch down. They set the barn on fire but John manages to save the horses.

    After the attack on the MacFarlane ranch, Bill and his gang attacked and plundered the Ridgewood Farm, killing most residents. John and Marshal Johnson ride to the Farm to clear out the gang members and save the survivors. The Marshal’s men, with John’s help, wipe out the gang members but Bill manages to flee back to Fort Mercer. His second in command, Norman Deek, is captured alive.

    Soon after, a member of Bill’s gang informs the Marshal that they hold Bonnie MacFarlane hostage and will kill her if Deek is not returned to them in Tumbleweed. Upon taking the captured outlaw to the agreed location, Bill’s gang ambushes John, killing Deek in the process while preparing to hang Bonnie. Her noose tightens at the side of her head preventing her neck from being broken, and John manages to kill the gang members and save Bonnie in time.

    After saving Bonnie, John plans a raid on Fort Mercer to deal with Bill Williamson, and recruits seven townspeople to help in exchange for doing missions for them first. Eventually they are ready for the attack, which goes smoothly resulting in almost the entire gang being wiped out. Bill, however, escapes once more with the help of another former partner of John’s, Javier Escuela. Bill flees to Mexico, to be dealt with later.

    In Mexico, John gets mixed up with a local civil war and initially sides with Colonel Allende, however the Colonel ends up betraying him. Unbeknownst to John, Bill had allied himself with the Colonel. When the leader of the rebels who oppose Allende is captured, John goes to rescue him. After saving Reyes, the leader of the rebels, John goes after Bill and Allende, who are escaping together.

    When the stagecoach of the two is disabled, Allende turned on Bill by dragging him out of the vehicle and offering him in exchange for being allowed to live. Should John hesitate to shoot the Colonel at this point, Reyes will do so instead. Bill then attempts to feint John by claiming to surrender and come with him to Blackwater willingly, but he quickly reaches for his pistol at which point either John or Reyes shoots him down. At this point, the Williamson gang had lost almost all of its members, its hideout and now its leader, essentially forcing them to disband.

    Mission Appearances

    Red Dead Redemption

    • “Exodus in America”
    • “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Bandit”
    • “An Appointed Time”

    Red Dead Redemption 2

    Unknown.

    Trivia

    Williamson fits the textbook description of a typical Wild West bandit or outlaw. He is described as an utterly ruthless and violent man driven by greed and ambition. His lack of morals seemingly contradicts his being drawn to Dutch’s idealistic world view, and his personality seems to be completely at odds with what Dutch wanted to originally achieve. However it is possible he too became as violent and jaded as he is after the fall of the Van der Linde Gang.

    Prior to the gang being disbanded, the relationship between John and Bill had already deteriorated. In spite of having what once was true camaraderie and friendship between them, the two began to vie for Dutch’s attention, leading to a rivalry which devolved into open hatred.

    Bill Williamson is one of the few main characters not to appear in Undead Nightmare.

    Bill Williamson is seemingly the least educated member of the former Van der Linde Gang, often bringing up John’s low opinion of his intelligence (“You always did think I was an idiot.”) and mocking him whenever he used non-standard parlance.

    Through the Liars and Cheats DLC pack for Red Dead Redemption, Bill Williamson becomes a playable skin in Red Dead Redemption’s multiplayer mode. The skin is filed under the “Damnation” tab, indicating his irredeemable status in the game’s story and lore.

    During each encounter with Bill, he almost never attempts to confront John himself, sending his goons instead, and in all cases where his life is threatened, he immediately turns tail or begins to bargain.

  • in

    Red Dead Redemption 2: Who’s Back

    Rockstar Games recently delivered the second trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 and now we finally have some idea of what to expect in terms of story. We have a face and a name to attach to our protagonist, for example, and a vague idea of what the plot will be. However, the most concrete info the footage, which was full of scripted events, could give us concerns the game’s characters.

    The original Red Dead Redemption introduced gamers to a varied cast of well rounded and believable characters back in 2010 and it would be a shame not to see some familiar faces returning for the prequel (because we now know it is, in fact, a prequel). While the trailer switching between scenes rapidly and being pretty disjointed kept things somewhat mysterious, certain names were dropped and some faces were left recognizable.

    While most of the cast of Red Dead Redemption 2 seems to be made up of new arrivals – or at least that’s what Rockstar wants us to think – we now know for certain that two characters of the previous game will be appearing in some capacity, and both of them are quite prominent ones. However this time the tables have turned.

    In Red Dead Redemption, John Marston is sent after his former gang members, and two of his targets are Bill Williamson and gang leader Dutch van der Linde. There are others, of course, but these two are the ones who appear in the upcoming title’s trailer, and their mere presence indicates the title will be a prequel, because they wouldn’t be able to show up in a sequel.

    Dutch plays a prominent role in the trailer, having his name dropped, getting a few seconds of full-face screentime and appearing in multiple scenes. This indicates that he will play a central role in the game’s storyline, especially considering protagonist Arthur Morgan will be a member of his gang during Dutch’s active years. We’ll likely get some insight into how the gang operated before it was broken up. We might see what an idealistic, non-disillusioned Dutch was like before descending into hatred and madness. In fact, we may very well witness said descent from the front row, so to speak.

    Even with this second trailer, we don’t know any real details about the storyline, so we don’t know if there will be any twists forcing Arthur and Dutch to switch allegiances, however the trailer indicates the two will act as allies at least for a while. As a member of Dutch’s gang, Arthur will interact with the leader on a regular basis.

    The other returning character was only realized once the initial excitement wore off and fans initiated the obligatory frame-by-frame analysis phase of a trailer’s lifecycle. In one particular scene, even if only for a split second, another familiar face appears – Bill Williamson. Bill is John’s first target in Red Dead Redemption, and by the events of that game has founded his own gang.

    Bill was a member of the military before joining Dutch, and his leader’s gradual descent into madness had the same effect on him, leading him to become a particularly cruel and violent outlaw, not hesitating even for a moment to kill his former friend and comrade.

    Whether any other characters from the previous game will make a return is anyone’s guess. As was expected, Rockstar has retreated into its turtle-shell of radio silence, having fed the hunger fans with a juicy trailer for the time being. As time between now and the Spring 2018 release window decreases we can expect more info to arise – maybe including whether or not John will actually be in the game?

  • in

    Dutch van der Linde

    Dutch Van Der Linde first appeared as a primary antagonist in the 2010 video game Red Dead Redemption, and returns in an unknown capacity in Red Dead Redemption 2. As a legendary outlaw, Dutch is opposed by the authorities and rival gangs.

    Meta Information

    Dutch van der Linde is voiced by Benjamin Byron Davis, an American actor and director.

    “Dutch” is not the character’s legal name, however no official media references his actual given name.

    In Red Dead Redemption, Dutch can be seen carrying the semi-automatic pistol and the Cattleman revolver.

    History

    Dutch van der Linde’s date of birth is unknown, and his age is never referenced, however he looks to be in his late sixties in 1911.

    Dutch was the founder and head of the Van der Linde Gang, a notorious group of outlaws who operated out of West Elizabeth, one of the three states appearing in Red Dead Redemption before disbanding. Later, he would found a second gang, primarily staffed by Native Americans hostile to the colonists.

    Prior to the events of Red Dead Redemption, Dutch is associated with Arthur Morgan and an unnamed Native American outlaw. At various points prior to the disbanding of the first gang, members included John Marston, Abigail Marston, Javier Escuela and Bill Williamson.

    Initially, Dutch was an idealistic renegade operating on the fringes of society, breaking the law while following his own moral code. His initial persona lines up almost completely with a generic Robin Hood fable, as he was an anti-government militant stealing from the rich, giving to the poor, opposing governmental oversight and control, fighting for ideals of liberty and independence, and using these tenets to justify his many crimes including thievery, burglary and murder.

    He saw himself and his gang members as warriors of the people, gunslingers sticking it to the man, so to say. He believed in an anarchist utopia, and that the actions of his gang would make the world a better place in the long run, using ends to justify means.

    However, the opposite of this vision was becoming reality right before his eyes. Increased government oversight and the influx of new technologies were killing the typical frontier way of life that has existed in the Wild West for an era, and with the long-term goal clearly impossible to achieve, the atrocities Dutch committed in the name of this better world became just that – atrocities.

    This hopelessness and confrontation with his own deeds disheartened the gang leader profoundly. He drowned his sadness in further crime, masking it with growing outbursts of violence no longer restricted by his former moral code.

    This devolution from an idealist faux-revolutionary into an everyday outlaw thug also affected those who followed him. The members of Dutch’s Gang joined the outlaw precisely because of his attractive vision of the future and his ‘mission’, and seeing him abandon it out of hopelessness also disheartened them.

    Following a botched robbery in 1906, in which John Marston was wounded and left for dead by the other gang members, Dutch’s increasing violence pushed the members apart until the group was disbanded. Dutch faked his death and disappeared, possibly to Columbia. Unbeknownst to the people living in West Elizabeth, Dutch survived and after a few years in hiding, he founded a new gang, mainly comprised of Native Americans.

    Dutch faked his death and disappeared, possibly to Columbia. Unbeknownst to the people living in West Elizabeth, Dutch survived and after a few years in hiding, he founded a new gang, mainly comprised of Native Americans.

    Events of Red Dead Redemption 2

    It is unknown currently which period(s) of Dutch’s life is depicted in Red Dead Redemption 2, however a period during which his first gang was active, and he was associated with both Arthur Morgan and Bill Williamson, will be an important part of the game’s storyline. Whether the other gang members also appear is yet to be determined.

    Events of Red Dead Redemption

    Following the death of Bill Williamson at the hands of John Marston in Escalera, the former outlaw is sent after the leader of his old gang, Dutch van der Linde. Edgar Ross, the government agent assigned to John Marston, sent him after his former boss.

    John teamed up with a Native American double agent working with Dutch’s new gang, as well as professor named Harold MacDougal in order to track down Dutch, who was hiding out in Cochinay, his mountain camp. After John fights his way up to the hideout, he takes down one of Dutch’s scouts and uses his binoculars to scope out the gang leader. He first witnesses Dutch killing a lawman, but John’s position is given away so he saw through the binoculars that Dutch took aim at him. The shot smashed the binoculars, but John got off with just a knockout.

    Operating on the knowledge that Dutch and his new gang are preparing for a bank robbery, John and a group of soldiers prepare an ambush for the outlaw. Their plan falls apart after the gang murders a civilian, and they fail to break through the gang’s defenses initially, and even when they finally do, it’s only achieved with Marston’s help. John rushes forward to confront Dutch, but his former boss has taken an unnamed woman as a human shield. When the opportunity for escape presents itself, he shoots the hostage and escapes.

    Following the botched mission, Marston meets Professor MacDougal in the Blackwater hotel to discuss their next move, but this time Dutch is on the offensive and surrounds the building with his posse, shouting to John that he will kill him and the Professor for sport. The duo escape via rooftop and John fends off pursuing gang members, escorting MacDougal to the Manzanita Post train station.

    Later, Ross sends Marston and the US Army to Dutch’s hideout, where they wipe out his gang in a long battle. Eventually reaching Dutch, John and he confront one another in a final duel which John wins, pushing Dutch back to a cliff. Here they converse about their conflict, and Dutch explains that he cannot change and defy his own nature, and tells John that they (outlaws, believers of old values) are a ‘dying breed’. He then jumps to his death, preferring that fate over capture.

    When Edgar Ross catches up to them, Dutch is already dead, but the agent takes John’s gun and shoots the body. Since it was John’s mission to hunt down his former gang, him killing Dutch would ‘look better on the reports’.

    Mission Appearances

    Red Dead Redemption

    • At Home With Dutch
    • Great Men Are Not Always Wise
    • The Prodigal Son Returns (To Yale)
    • And The Truth Will Set You Free (Death)

    Red Dead Redemption 2

    Unknown.

    Trivia

    While Dutch’s nationality is never brought up in the storyline, and he has a strong western American accent, many references to him being from the Netherlands are made. However, it is never clear whether these are just done for fun, or if they indicate he is indeed Dutch in more than just name. Beyond his family name, van der Linde (adhering to correct Dutch spelling where “van” and “der” are not capitalized), his orange outfit matches the national colors of the Netherlands.

    In the mission “At Home With Dutch”, the titular character pulls off a shot that, considering the weather conditions and the weapon used, should be statistically impossible. Not only does he spot John from a long distance, he shifts his full body to take aim in a split second and manages to hit John’s binoculars from a very long distance, shooting uphill, in the wind. He does this with the very first shot from the short-mid range pistol. While the probability of something like this actually happening are astronomical, it was likely used to emphasize Dutch’s proficiency with firearms.

    Dutch was partially depicted as some kind of intellectual warrior in spite of his crimes. He is often referred to as being learned, and following his death, the area of his hideout can be explored, revealing a small library and a desk with a typewriter, meaning he was interested in consuming and producing literature.

    In what may be a glitch, Dutch is seen with various different weapons during the course of the “And The Truth Will Set You Free” mission even though he doesn’t have opportunities to switch them out.

     

  • in

    Analyzing Red Dead Redemption 2’s Possible Locations

    Yesterday’s Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer finally gave us starved fans some answers about the upcoming game. But, as opposed to expectations, it wasn’t accompanied by any kind of longer press release detailing further aspects of the game. We finally know a bit about the story, but gameplay specifics or information about the setting were not provided. The location is still mostly a mystery.

    The trailer itself does give several hints, however, based on which we can begin speculation.

    The main hint dropped is a voice line saying “We have lawmen in three states after us”, which indicates the game’s map will encompass three states in the US. Whereas Red Dead Redemption took place in the south of America, in a fictional version of Texas, as well as Mexico with the border cutting the map in half lengthwise, the upcoming game has been described as taking place in “America’s unforgiving heartland”.

    Now, depending on how literally we take heartland, Rockstar is sending us mixed messages. However, we shouldn’t take their words at face value, and the heart of America in this context probably isn’t the middle. The trailer’s vistas and that one leaked map from years ago both suggest the map will actually be located to the southeast of the United States.

    First guesses based on merely the “heartland” descriptor and nothing more would pin the map in and around Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, which would place the action of Red Dead Redemption 2 far away from the setting of what is its continuation, Red Dead Redemption, since the upcoming game is a prequel.

    However a number of factors punch holes into this theory. The locales shown off in the trailer, primarily the location of a bayou obviously modeled on Lousiana, coupled with the fact that the story has direct ties to the previous (next?) game means the setting cannot be, at least entirely, set in those states.

    One theory is that the trailer has seemingly confirmed the legitimacy of the leaked map, pinpointing similarities and lining up locations. Settlement names, such as Cornwall have been aligned, as well as landmarks and geography lining up, such as the train tracks shown in the map seemingly appearing in the footage. The bayou being a similarity too.

    However, at the same time, a name like Cornwall on its own is too generic to be a big “a-ha!” moment of proof, and the other similarities just “seem” to correlate. The fact that the swamp was included does strengthen the case of the leaked map, as do some shared landmarks with the map from Red Dead Redemption, since the story will likely see us revisit at least a few familiar places.

    Another thing to consider is that the leaked map doesn’t seem to include all the biomes seen in the trailer, nor does the landscape of it fit a Western title. It’s mostly coastal and a large chunk is dominated by the bayou. Thing is, without knowing the scale of the leaked map, it gives the impression of being small, and doesn’t fit the heartland description.

    Our guess is that even if the leaked map is legit, two things make it an unreliable source to base theories on.

    Firstly, it’s very likely just a snippet of the map, possibly one of the three referenced states. It’s possible that the states which will comprise Red Dead Redemption 2’s world aren’t even bordering one another, and the map isn’t a single massive open world, but rather three large areas. Games have done this before, with early Assassin’s Creed games and more recently The Witcher 3 being good examples, and technically these are all still open-world games. Nothing Rockstar said so far indicates Red Dead Redemption 2 will be a single seamless map instead of three maps in between which you can travel.

    The other reason the leaked map’s legitimacy may be irrelevant is the time that has passed. The map first leaked over three years ago, which in game development time is a long time, and after all Red Dead Redemption 2 has also been delayed once already. Even if the map is legit, the chance that it hasn’t changed drastically in three years of development is small. It might be a good reference for theory-crafting and brainstorming, but you can be 100% sure that even if it was originally legit, the map will not look like that in the release version of the game.

    Another theory that comes from our own forums is that the three states in the map will be Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. These picks better fit the criteria of aligning with the trailer’s locations, being close to the locations of the previous game, and offering a wide variety of biomes. However, again it feels too southeastern to truly fit the “heartland” description.

    Our own theory is that none of these get the picture quite right, but rather the actual map will be an amalgamation of these ideas.

    We’re operating on the hypothesis that Rockstar isn’t sticking to a single massive map, but rather sectioning up the three states into their own maps, kind of like the regions of our previous example, The Witcher 3’s Skellige, Velen and White Orchard. Players worried this will mean three smaller maps instead of one big one need only play that game to have their worries quelled. Knowing Rockstar, this will mean that instead of one stupidly big map we get three reasonably big maps, the sum of which equates to more map than the one big one.

    Cutting up the game world in this manner would have several benefits.

    Rockstar could stick to real geography better instead of taking huge liberties with the landscape of the USA in order to cram wildly different biomes and environments next to one another, resulting in a desert, a swamp, and snowy mountains all being within 15 minutes by horse of one another, which is far from immersive and realistic.

    By making the three states three different maps, the developers can give all three distinct atmospheres and feels, fill them with unique animals and characters, set up unique character dynamics and develop independent side-stories for each that feel authentic to the location it is based on, drawing on real history. This would also remove the necessity of picking three neighboring states, allowing them to pick and choose the three which best fir their needs sans restrictions.

    Lousiana is pretty much a guarantee. With the iconic bayou and its gators appearing in the trailer, we’d be hugely surprised if it wasn’t used as the basis of one of the game’s fictional states. Let us swing back to the leaked trailer here – it showed a city called New Bordeaux as a faux New Orleans. This is notable because 2K’s Mafia 3 also featured a city called New Bordeaux as a faux New Orleans. Since it is also a game published by Take-Two, some took this as confirmation and an initiative to unify the two franchises and developers, however for others it was a red flag, and we fall into the latter camp.

    Since Red Dead Redemption 2’s story will focus on Dutch’s gang from the first game, but with a different roster since Arthur Morgan is involved, chances are some familiar locations will be revisited. Mexico is out of the picture based on the game’s description, so that leaves New Austin and West Elizabeth. This leaves the third state as a blank slate, and in that regard our guess is good as anyone’s.

    Hopefully Rockstar will be revealing further details about the game more frequently from now on, considering the Spring 2018 launch window is rapidly approaching and in spite of the new trailer, we still have a lot of questions about the game. When they do, we’ll see which of these theories turns out to be true.

  • in

    Red Dead Redemption 2’s Latest Trailer, In Pictures

    Whenever a new trailer for a hotly anticipated game is released, the process of fans going over every single pixel of every single frame of the footage begins almost instantly, with many hoping to uncover some juicy additional details that the developers either hid or decided to leave in.

    With a game as hotly anticipated as Red Dead Redemption 2, you can bet people have already put stills from today’s trailer through analysis software back and forth, but we’re here to give you a frame-by-frame recap.

    Whether you’re here to do your own pixel-hunting, just want to look at some cool images from the upcoming game, or are looking for a sweet new Red Dead Redemption 2 themed wallpaper, you’ve come to the right place. The new trailer was 100% in-engine footage with no pre-rendered cinematics, and was captured directly on a PS4, so this is actually what the game looks like.

    Rockstar did a wonderful job capturing the vast scale and immersive atmosphere of their newest open-world title due to release in Spring 2018 (as reinforced by the trailer). The game world will feature a wide variety of environments for players to explore, ranging from dense forests, snowy highlands, swamps (with crocodiles!) and the obligatory desert.

    The trailer also showed off some of the gameplay mechanics that will be coming or returning to Red Dead Redemption 2, including train heists, bank robberies, hunting – now with a bow and arrow -, brawling and lassoing. Dual wielding has already been revealed by a previous screenshot, and the trailer heavily implies stealth getting more focus.  We’re interested to hear what other gameplay specifics players can spot.

    For the first time the trailer also shed light on some story details, such as revealing the game’s sole protagonist Arthur Morgan, an outlaw who rides with Dutch Van Der Linde’s gang, thus confirming that the game is indeed a prequel to 2010’s Red Dead Redemption.

    Hopefully in the coming weeks we’ll get even further details about the game from Rockstar, but in the meantime, these images should last us a while.

  • in

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Gets New Trailer

    Rockstar Games has revealed the second trailer for their upcoming game, Red Dead Redemption 2.

    This time around, compared to the first trailer, we can see more of the actual game and more details of what to expect have been confirmed. Some new things have been alluded to and there is still plenty to speculate about, however fewer questions about the game have been answered than we would have ideally liked. So, without further ado, let’s dive into all this new information!

    The Answers

    The Protagonist

    The protagonist, singular – at least as far as we know – is an outlaw called Arthur Morgan. The trailer didn’t make it explicitly clear that he is the only protagonist, however he is the only named character, and his voice lines are featured most prominently. Rockstar’s official description of the trailer gives his full name as the trailer only refers to him as “Mr. Morgan”.

    At this stage, Morgan appears to be a generic middle-aged gruff white guy with a stubble, however character-wise he seems like an atypical hero – mainly because he doesn’t seem to be a hero. The trailer implies we’ll be erring more on the side of the outlaws in this game, something that is further reinforced by the description:

    Watch the all-new trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2, the story of outlaw Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang as they rob, fight and steal their way across the vast and rugged heart of America in order to survive. Coming Spring 2018 to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One systems.

    Sequel or Prequel?

    The question of whether Red Dead Redemption 2 would be a prequel or a sequel has been hotly debated in the past year and we’re pleased to say that this new trailer has finally answered it.

    Dutch Van Der Linde, the main antagonist of Red Dead Redemption and the head of the Van Der Linde gang, is seen in the trailer, and is somewhat younger than he was in the previous game, making this clearly a prequel.

    It being a prequel made more sense anyway, since Red Dead Redemption often returned to the theme of the “Old West” declining and the cowboy/outlaw era ending. The game’s setting was mainly 1911, which was already on the tail-end of the Old West era, and the game’s epilogue is set even further down the line, making a prequel more or less the only logical option, and finally this has been confirmed.

    It does make naming the game Red Dead Redemption 2 instead of Red Dead Re-something even stranger (especially since this is the third game, and Red Dead Redemption was the second), but hey, brand recognition matters.

    The Location

    While no concrete locations have been revealed, the voiceover lines indicate the game’s map will be spread across three states. Since the official description refers to the game’s setting as “America’s unforgiving heartland”, the location will be different from the previous game which was in the southernmost states and part of Mexico.

    Many of the shots in the trailer depict locations other than arid deserts, including snowy mountains, dense forests, swamps and fields. The biomes present in this game are going to be more varied than they were in Red Dead Redemption.

    Gameplay

    Some of the gameplay beats of the upcoming title have been revealed as well. Lassoing horses and hunting are making a return alongside the absolute basics like brawling, shootouts and horse riding. Weapons will include your standard selection of pistols and other late 1800’s/early 1900’s firearms as well as a bow and arrow and various melee weapons.

    While it is hard to confirm details based on a trailer cut together from scripted events and cutscenes, it seems like stealth may play a bigger part in this installment of the series, and train robberies will be recurring events, as well as other typical outlaw activities such as bank robberies.

    The Story

    The largely disjointed snippets of dialogue didn’t reveal much about the game’s plot, but we do know we’ll be interacting with a mix of old and new characters.

    The storyline will mainly focus on the exploits of the Van Der Linde gang headed by Dutch prior to it being disbanded in Red Dead Redemption’s prologue. The story seems to be an antithesis to that of the previous game, which saw John Marston, a former outlaw, attempting to atone and redeem himself (title hint), whereas the new trailer paints Arthur Morgan as someone relishing in the dastardly deeds of an outlaw.

    Whether he will have a change of heart during the storyline, or if Rockstar’s editors just cut together dialogue in a way to throw fans off the scent, will only be revealed once the game is released.

    The Questions

    What Is Red Dead Redemption 2’s Release Date?

    This trailer, which is currently the newest and thus most up-to-date source of info, only showed the already known, estimated release date of Spring 2018, meaning we don’t have a concrete date yet.

    While that may be disappointing, we’re just happy the game didn’t get delayed again. Whether or not Rockstar will keep to this date or later on push it back again is anyone’s guess, but Rockstar releases games on a Rockstar schedule, and ain’t nobody going to do anything about it.

    Is John Marston In It?

    We have no idea. Rockstar is very likely keeping a tight lid on this particular detail, as it would be a pretty major reveal considering the character’s popularity. However, fan theories have cropped up already, some thinking that the voice line in the trailer saying “we’re going to need another gun” is referring to the recruitment of John Marston.

    The Bottom Line

    Our idea of just what kind of a game Red Dead Redemption 2 will be just got a lot clearer thanks to this trailer (and we’ll be updating our FAQ and finally producing some guides shortly), however our questions still far outweigh the number of answers.

    We’re hoping this trailer has opened the information floodgates, so to speak, and we can expect far more details with less waiting from now on. It’s time Rockstar started giving more detailed descriptions of gameplay mechanics and more, so keep checking back daily for more!

  • in

    Spring 2018 Release Estimate Removed From Red Dead Redemption 2 Site

    We’re just a few hours away from the big Red Dead Redemption 2 press release stream Rockstar teased some time ago, and the changes to the game’s official online presence have already begun, though they are pretty minor and easy to miss. However, they are indicative of what to expect during the stream itself.

    The new site, without the release date’s estimate.

    Red Dead Redemption 2’s official website has been pretty bare, with just the announcement artwork, a few paragraphs of vague description, the announcement trailer and links to pre-order the game. In addition, there was an estimate for the release date plastered across the site, stating that the game will be coming in Spring 2018 (which is the second estimate following the game’s delay).

    Today, the website went through a minor change – the release estimate is gone. The site no longer professes the game to be coming in the Spring of 2018, which means one of two things. Today’s stream will either reveal a concrete release date, or it will bring with it news of yet another delay.

    Red Dead Redemption 2 hasn’t been overmarketed, to say the least. Rockstar has a tendency to do things differently, and conduct the marketing of their games in a rather eccentric manner. However, the way they handled Red Dead Redemption 2 up until this point is odd even by their standards, with the absolute minimum effort put into gaining publicity. Even when compared with the pre-release schedule of their previous big title, Grand Theft Auto 5, things seem slow.

    The old site.

    This general lack of information or communication from the developers led many to fear a second delay is coming, and the fact that we’ll get a major press release today doesn’t change that possibility. We’re seriously hoping it doesn’t happen of course.

    Whatever comes of the stream, we do know that something will change about the release estimate. It may get more specific, or it might get pushed out. Keep your eyes on our feed as we will be covering the 11:00 AM ET press event as it happens.

  • in

    Rockstar Games Teases New Red Dead Redemption 2 Reveal For Thursday

    Rockstar may have missed the deadline which they themselves set earlier this year but we now know for certain that more updates are coming for Red Dead Redemption 2 on September 28th, Thursday, 11 AM eastern time.

    The gaming community at large going ballistic for a few white letters on a red background shows what happens when one of the most anticipated upcoming games in the entire industry has only a single trailer and a batch of screenshots to show for itself nearly a year after being announced.

    However, now fans are finally being given something concrete to look forward to. Rockstar’s signature full radio silence may be viewed by some as eccentric, but it can also cause a lot of frustration for the people who are passionate about their titles. It’s not just that we know nothing about the game, but we know nothing about why we know nothing, and we know nothing about when we’ll stop knowing nothing.

    A date and even an hour provided by the developers isn’t, by itself, much, but it is more than nothing. We know something will be finally revealed come next Thursday. But what might it be?

    However large or small the press release Rockstar is brewing, we’re fairly certain there will be some video footage. While details about the game itself with written explanations are more useful for players (and us), visual media tends to work better when it comes to generating hype, and after such a long dry spell, that is probably the number one priority.

    Considering Red Dead Redemption 2 is scheduled for Spring 2018, now is about time for bigger press releases from the developers which reveal gameplay specifics, story details and more. The time for the big articles which outline the various systems and mechanics of the game is here. Essentially, we haven’t seen the game at all so far. That might be fitting for Rockstar’s modus operandi, but when considering that many games accompany their announcement with some sort of gameplay footage, it isn’t ideal.

    With such a long period of time with so little by way of marketing, Rockstar really needs to ramp things up and get more press coverage going both online and in print. That requires screenshots and videos as well as detailed information. While we’re not as optimistic as to expect a huge drop on Thursday, we do hope it’s more than just a handful of screenshots!

    Now let’s just hope this doesn’t get delayed to early October.

  • in

    How Red Dead Online Would Be Affected By Lootboxes

    With so little official news about Red Dead Redemption 2 being available, discussion loops back to comparisons with Grand Theft Auto V and GTA Online time and time again. A recurring topic is that, seeing how successful the Shark Card microtransaction system of GTA Online has become, the same system is bound to be implemented in Red Dead Online, the multiplayer mode of the upcoming Western.

    But what if Rockstar jumps on the lootbox bandwagon instead?

    Lootboxes have become a commonplace method of distributing content in-game and is the AAA industry’s newest method of turning games into services instead of products you buy just once. The random nature of lootboxes coupled with designs that play on human psychology means these boxes can become highly addictive.

    The concept behind lootboxes is that instead of players buying specific items at an in-game store, they buy these blind boxes instead. All the items in the game have a percentage chance assigned to them and which determines their availably in the random lootboxes that players obtain. For example, if there are 100 total items available in the game, each lootbox contains two items, and the item you want has a 2% chance of coming up in a single lootbox slot, on average you’d need to open 25 lootboxes to obtain it (25 lootboxes x 2 slots = 50. 2% = 1:50).

    The use of this blind box approach to in-game items has become more and more common in recent years. Publishers like to use this relatively new method of monetization because it maximises recurrent spending from players. While selling currency will result in players buying the minimum required currency for what they need and purchasing those items, lootboxes remove the guarantee of actually getting what you want, occasionally forcing multiple purchases in cases where a single purchase of currency microtransactions would do.

    However, there is more to lootboxes.

    Naturally, on paper, this is something every consumer should hate. You’re paying real money for in-game content, but you don’t even know what that content is, or if it even is useful? Who would do this? That’s where the spectacle comes into play. The opening of lootboxes is dressed up in a way that makes the user feel rewarded. There are fancy animations, sound effects and unique cues for when a particularly valuable item pops up. You’re congratulated, and you feel like you accomplished something – even though you just paid $5 for a new skin for a character you don’t even play.

    I’m holding $15 right now, not counting the rings.

    Another way this spectacle plays into the allure of the lootbox is by pushing video game video sharing to its limits. To some people, the idea of watching another person play a game seems like nonsense – why not play it yourself? However, watching other people open lootboxes en masse in videos or even streams has become popular online.

    To add to the wealth of such videos on sites like YouTube, we’ve got an anecdote of our own. Two years ago at a one-week LAN gaming event, one day a particularly wealthy attendee made a show of opening 100 lootboxes in CounterStrike: Global Offensive in a row. A crowd formed around him, and they would cheer whenever a valuable item popped up. These people would be enamored by the idea of lootboxes, or being the guy who opens 100 in a row.

    These things are designed to hook players, to get them addicted. That small sense of accomplishment of games in the past when you, say, leveled up or defeated a boss, has been replaced by an insatiable urge, a base need, of opening more boxes to have shiny confetti shower on your screen.

    So where does Red Dead Online factor into this?

    Well, Take-Two’s policy of pursuing recurrent player spending is no secret. GTA Online thrives on Shark Cards, which see players paying real cash for in-game currency, and their recently released NBA 2K18 has an overwhelming number of microtransactions of its own.

    Red Dead Redemption 2 stands to be the company’s biggest release in years when it finally drops in early 2018 and this means there will have been no expense spared in making it the most polished game it can be – expense which needs to be earned back. Sure, GTA 5 broke even within hours of launch, however Red Dead isn’t as widely a known franchise, and while it’s guaranteed to turn a profit, Rockstar can’t be sure that it will end up bringing revenue for as many years as GTA Online has.

    Rockstar has always been known to stick with the times, if not be the very developer who leads the charge in various innovations. Lootboxes as a system to ensure recurrent player spending, in spite of what the vocal element of the gaming community says, have been proven to work. You may not think lootboxes are worth it, I may not think lootboxes are worth it, and no member of the Red Dead Redemption 2 subreddit or our forums may think lootboxes are worth it, but in the grand scheme of things, we’re irrelevant.

    For every major fan of Red Dead, for every player deeply involved in the gaming community, there are a few hundred casual members of the mainstream audience who will eat up lootboxes like candy. Oh, this Buffalo Crate (Bison Box? Supply Cache?) didn’t drop the color of horse I wanted, so I might as well pay five bucks for another. Ah, but I need another revolver for dual wielding, so there goes another fiver…

    This, however, doesn’t mean the end of the world. Though there are very few example where lootbox monetization systems aren’t exploitative, it can be done. So long as lootboxes can be purchased with currency earned through gameplay in addition to being bought, and thus not forcing players to shell out real cash (check out the Overwatch system, for example), it shouldn’t be too big of a problem. This would also necessitate a fair balance between the prices of lootboxes and the rate of earning currency in game.

    Of course, there is a real chance that Rockstar won’t step away from the system that worked so well for GTA Online, and simply use a similar microtransaction based monetization scheme.

    Summer is almost over, and in spite of Rockstar promising to reveal further information about Red Dead Redemption during the summer, we still know as little now as we did right after the delay was announced. Whether Rockstar will release something – anything – in the coming days is a slim bet, but we’ll be keeping an eye out nonetheless.

  • in

    PSA: Red Dead Redemption 2 Open Beta Is Fake

    This isn’t the first time a Red Dead Redemption 2 open beta scam has made the rounds, and this one is as fake as the last. No matter how tempted you might be, do not fall for these phishing scams, as the only point is to extort personal information or money.

    Never in its history has Rockstar Games done an open beta, nor is it likely to. And it’s a certainty that there is not, nor ever will be, an open beta for Red Dead Redemption 2.

    A Twitter account with the Rockstar Games logo as a profile picture and official Red Dead Redemption 2 artwork with “Open Beta” photoshopped on as a banner has been set up to fool the unwary.

    But if you spend more than half a second looking at it, the red flags start flying. Instead of having a proper description like all official developer accounts do, it just has a link and some finger pointing emoji. This simple misstep is but the first in a series of obvious errors which make this a shoddy scam.

    The account’s location is set as Queens, New York, which is a location no Rockstar studio or office presides in. While this is not something most fans might know offhand, any non-half-assed attempt would have gotten it right. The account isn’t verified on Twitter either, but that still isn’t their biggest mistake.

    The scammer outright lifted the typeface of the Destiny 2 beta, spaceship icon and all, and pasted it over their banner in an unaltered state.

    Now, Destiny 2 is kind of a big thing, running in the same mainstream circles that fans of Red Dead are active in, meaning the target audience of the “interested in Red Dead but not fully versed in how Rockstar operates” people would still likely catch this error.

    Another blunder is in their terms of use.

    In an attempt to look more convincing, the website for the supposed Red Dead Redemption 2 open beta has a legal section. However instead of succeeding in cementing the illusion, it just adds to their embarrassment. It’s been copied verbatim from Microsoft legalese, with direct references to the Xbox One and Xbox Live in it.

    The extremely low amount of effort put into this is quite amazing.

    The activity of the account is another giveaway. There is only a single actual original tweet, pinned, which also holds a link to the scam site, besides which the account has only sporadically retweeted seemingly random posts made by genuine support accounts of renowned game developers – like Bioware, Blizzard, and Ubisoft. You’d think an account associated with Rockstar Games would retweet more of the main account’s content, but since this is a scam, they probably did’t want to bring attention to themselves.

    Now is a great time to reiterate a few key facts about Rockstar and scams.

    You should absolutely never, ever believe news or shady links about some kind of open beta test for any of Rockstar Games’ titles. In fact, don’t ever believe news of this kind that doesn’t come directly from Rockstar. If they haven’t confirmed anything officially, it isn’t guaranteed. Open beta testing isn’t something Rockstar does, and we don’t think that stance will change anytime soon.

    The best you can do in this case is to ignore the fake account entirely or report it to Twitter. We can’t do much about their website at this juncture beyond not giving them the info they want to scam us out of.

  • in

    Could Red Dead Games Come To The Nintendo Switch?

    Red Dead Redemption 2 on Nintendo Switch

    Between Strauss Zelnick’s longstanding support of the Nintendo Switch and the recent surprise announcement that L.A. Noire will be ported to the console, speculation about what other Rockstar IP might grace the console is afoot.

    Combine that with the hype around Red Dead Redemption 2 and it isn’t hard to figure out which franchise fans consider to be the most likely candidate for Rockstar’s next outing on the Switch. But will there be one at all?

    Red Dead Redemption 2 on Nintendo Switch

    Without any kind of official info, all of this is speculative, however past events can assist us in dissecting this topic be more than a shot in the dark. Take-Two Interactive has openly backed the Switch from day one, with NBA 2K18 appearing in the console’s debut trailer, meaning it was only a matter of time until a Rockstar title appeared on the console as well. Between the IP held by the company’s two subsidiaries, Rockstar and 2K, Rockstar is the one with more mainstream reach, after all.

    However no-one expected the mildly successful and largely forgotten L.A. Noire to be the developer’s debut on the platform. The game was well received though it had some flaws, and was fairly popular among gamers. But it never reached levels of success akin to Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption.

    The porting of this 2011 title, which features some snazzy facial animation technology and pretty-for-the-time graphics, means that Rockstar is confident in the hardware capabilities of the platform. As such, why wouldn’t the developers capitalize on the massive amount of hype surrounding Red Dead Redemption 2 and port 2010’s Red Dead Redemption to the Switch?

    There are actually some pretty good reasons why Rockstar wouldn’t and likely won’t do that.

    The first and foremost reason is the same reason why Red Dead Redemption hasn’t been remastered (beyond it being playable on current-gen consoles and still looking more than fine). Red Dead Redemption’s development cycle was a strained affair and it’s generally believed that the game’s code is somewhat of a mess. In addition, many fans and commentators alike believe that it was the assistance of Leslie Benzies which allowed the project to become the Red Dead Redemption we all know and love.

    Indeed, Rockstar’s programmers achieved a major feat, producing one of the best examples of an open-world title on such foundations.

    Porting Red Dead Redemption would likely be more akin to rebuilding the game from the ground up, something that would be far more resource intensive than a mere remaster. And so a project of this nature probably wouldn’t get the go-ahead from the higher ups. However, this may not be the only reason.

    We’ve recently speculated why the PlayStation Now service is the only way to access Red Dead Redemption on PC. It’s possible that Sony included a clause in their partnership deal with Rockstar, a deal we’ve known about since the announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2, that gives them exclusive control over any form of the game’s distribution on PC.

    However, the full details of the partnership are secret, and we don’t know whether there is anything in there that actually limits Rockstar and Take-Two in what other, further ports of the game they can create and sell. L.A. Noire was also announced for the HTC Vive as Rockstar’s first VR title, however Red Dead hitting headsets is unlikely due to the PC being part of the equation.That said, PSVR is another matter entirely.

    Summing up, Red Dead Redemption would be too expensive to port and Red Dead Redemption 2 is likely beyond the capabilities of the Switch. Since it’s improbable that Rockstar will dig up Red Dead Revolver, the only possibility for seeing the franchise on Nintendo’s hybrid console would be if an entirely new game, made just for that platform, is developed.

    A Red Dead spin-off title isn’t that extreme a concept.

    The upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2 is the third game in the franchise, and if it becomes as big a hit as suspected, it might solidify Red Dead as a mainstay Rockstar franchise next to GTA. If this were to be the case, putting together a spin-off for the Switch would of course be more attractive to Take-Two.

    While nothing is concrete, L.A. Noire’s unprecedented porting to the Switch sets the scene for further Rockstar titles to follow, and even though GTA may be a more likely candidate, we hope it is only a matter of time until we can enjoy the Wild West with Joy Cons.

Load More
Congratulations. You've reached the end of the internet.