• ,

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Will Be What Defines The “New” Rockstar

    Rockstar Games has a lot riding on Red Dead Redemption 2, far more than just the success of this one title.

    The future of the franchise is at stake, but the game will also be the “debut” of the company Rockstar has become in the years since 2013. Much has changed in the four years since the release of Grand Theft Auto 5, and it’s up to Red Dead Redemption 2 to show what direction that change took the hyper-popular developer.

    The gap between the release of the two games will be longest in Rockstar’s history, which is a symptom of the changing waters. GTA 5 was where the change started, and we’ll only see the results come the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2.

    The focus has shifted from story driven single player experiences to multiplayer, one of the leading figures of the company left amid turbulence, and the massive success of GTA Online’s business model has altered the direction in which the company will likely want their games to evolve.

    Let’s break down the major influencers of the “new” Rockstar Games.

    First of all, there is GTA 5 itself, the prodigal son, if you will. There is the absence of Leslie Benzies, whose influence shaped the games that he worked on significantly. Finally, there is the general change in directive within Rockstar from singleplayer focused titles to persistent, long-term multiplayer “services.”

    But how do all of these affect Red Dead Redemption 2?

    The Grand Theft Auto 5 Effect

    Volumes have been written about the potential influence GTA 5 might have on Red Dead Redemption 2, but the main beats are usually the same.

    We saw a new precedent set with Rockstar wherein the multiplayer component got more attention post-launch. So much so to the point of there not being any new single player content at all. GTA has been a singleplayer franchise first and foremost throughout its history, but the most recent title threw this tradition, and to great monetary success.

    Many fans fear that this will result in Rockstar banking on a similar effect and developing Red Dead Redemption 2 with this in mind. GTA Online wasn’t expected to be so successful, and Rockstar even announced single player DLC at one point. But the unprecedented amount of popularity that Online received seemingly changed their plans, with more budget allocated to Online DLC until any hope for new single player content was quietly killed off.

    In light of GTA Online’s success, it’s possible that Rockstar will develop Red Dead Redemption 2 with more focus invested in the multiplayer component from the get-go. While they know that there is still massive expectations for the campaign mode, as Red Dead Redemption’s story was what gained it fame in 2010, we should expect a more consistent ratio in polish than in the case of GTA 5, where the single player obviously got more love during initial development.

    The Benz

    Then there’s the departure of Leslie Benzies. We covered this a bit in the past, noting how the Housers themselves described him as the savior of Red Dead Redemption. When development was way off track and unorganized, Benzies dropped in and whacked things into shape, resulting in the legendary classic that has enthralled fans since 2010.

    Benzies’ influence is also a major element of GTA. He acted as producer on the franchise since Grand Theft Auto III, and many credit him as being the “mastermind” behind the franchise.

    With GTA 5 it was him that convinced the Housers there was a future in Online since the brothers reportedly dismissed the idea at first. Then, after the concept was given weight, Benzies openly opposed the microtransaction business model, which the Housers were pushing onto the multiplayer aspect.

    Not long after this Benzies left for an extended holiday, only to return to the news that he’d been fired. Since it was Benzies whose influence saw Red Dead Redemption become what it is, his absence could be cause for worry.

    Story Mode Versus Online

    Finally, there is the general shift in tone and direction that Rockstar seems to be pursuing.

    GTA Online’s massive success has given them a taste of what it’s like being a truly mainstream developer with a mainstream product, and with audiences this big, the rules change.

    The single player focused Rockstar we knew and loved could be turning into a company more focused on producing a multiplayer experience that facilitates expansion – such expansion allowing for long-term content support and a consistent player base open to recurrent spending.

    It’s up to Red Dead Redemption 2 to either prove or disprove these predictions and suspicions. The DLC being released for GTA Online is hardly enough to get a good profile on where Rockstar’s future is heading, but the upcoming Western title will be emblematic of what kind of a developer they want to be from this point on.

    We’re not saying that the single player component of Red Dead Redemption 2 will be unpolished, completely neglected or half-baked.

    There is a reputation to uphold and a legacy to honor here, and Rockstar won’t be prepared to abandon its roots. We’re certain Red Dead Redemption 2 will deliver a compelling and fantastic storyline with plenty of single player content to entertain us for a good hundred hours or more.

    However, at the same time, more focus will be given to multiplayer. Man hours and money will be invested in Red Dead Online that might have otherwise been invested into the single player.

    All that remains to be seen is whether Rockstar can pull it off and make both game modes amazing. We’re guessing they can.

  • ,

    What To Expect From Take-Two At E3

    With only a few days to go E3 is rapidly approaching, and hype around the biggest annual event in gaming is peaking.

    Predictions are running wild, game journalists are counting the days and pretty much every flat surface in Los Angeles has been plastered with various promotional images related to upcoming games.

    But where does Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar Games and the recently delayed Red Dead Redemption 2 fit into all of this?

    Rockstar’s parent company won’t be that active at the massive expo, even though it has two major developers – the other being 2K – under its umbrella. 2K has been teasing all sorts of upcoming announcements, with Firaxis pushing something XCOM related on social media and an upcoming Borderlands game from Gearbox being pretty much an open secret. Between these, you’d expect that the company will have a strong presence at E3.

    However, the CEO of Take-Two Interactive, Strauss Zelnick, has stated that the company won’t make any big announcements at E3 this year. Other than showing off WWE 2K18 and NBA 2K18, two of 2K’s popular annual sports titles, the company will have a corporate presence and not much else. This means that even the unannounced games being teased will skip the show.

    It will be an interesting year for us. We’re not really showing products. We have a corporate presence at E3, and we’re excited to be there. We’ll be meeting with investors and meeting with the press naturally, and meeting with retail partners. I think it’s an important show and it’s important for the industry, and it’s very important for us as the number three company in the space to be there.

    On the one hand, this isn’t all too surprising. Take-Two’s subsidiaries, especially Rockstar Games, rarely show up at E3, or at any other major event for that matter. While 2K is a more frequent presenter, Rockstar has only appeared a few times, such as when they announced the Enhanced Editions of Grand Theft Auto 5.

    That said, this very well might be a smokescreen.

    Another thing Take-Two has a penchant for is secrecy, and once again this is more characteristic of Rockstar. They like to keep information under lock and key up until the last possible moment, so we see a surprise presentation a possibility. In recent years, much has changed around Rockstar Games, including studio reshuffling and the loss of one of the company’s pillars, Leslie Benzies.

    Red Dead Redemption 2 is in a whole different situation to what GTA 5 was, or other games before it. GTA 5 was destined for popularity and its success really wasn’t ever in question. Red Dead Redemption 2, on the other hand, is carrying the future of a franchise on its shoulders.

    Either it is successful but not exceptionally, meeting requirements and allowing the franchise to drift to the back of the gaming community’s collective mind for another 7 or more years. Or, it becomes a massive success, and elevates the Red Dead franchise to the tier of GTA, ensuring a longer future and more titles on the horizon.

    Rockstar is using Red Dead Redemption 2 to test whether the IP can become a heavy hitter, rivalling their flagship franchise. The massive hype around Red Dead Redemption 2 lends good chances for the second possibility, but for it to become reality, Rockstar will need to grab every opportunity they can, including E3.

    And of course, it’s not just the publishers who can show off new games at E3. Oftentimes new footage from previously announced games getz the spotlight at the presentations of one of the two major console manufacturers.

    Even when not announcing a new console, Sony and Microsoft frequently use major AAA titles to push the marketing of their systems, even if the title isn’t an exclusive or the developers of said game have their own panel.

    The console wars are often decided – or undecided, as they have been for several generations – by virtue of games above all else. Fans can compare the specs of the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One project Scorpio all they want, but at the end of the day, games are the deciding factor. And advertising your console with the most anticipated games is how battles are fought.

    We already know about Rockstar’s deal with Sony regarding special cross promotion between the PlayStation 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2, and we also know that PS4 players will get access to Red Dead Online post-launch DLC sooner than Xbox One players will. However, a seemingly throwaway comment from Sony Europe boss Jim Ryan might suggest that Red Dead Redemption 2 will also be waving PlayStation colors on the show floor at E3.

    When speaking about the Sony lineup for E3, after highlighting a host of exclusives, Ryan mentioned special deals they have with games, all in the context of the company’s show schedule.

    We have a Call of Duty partnership, a Destiny 2 partnership, Red Dead partnership with Take-Two and Star Wars with EA

    Of course, this is hardly an outright confirmation. If Take-Two is keeping radio silence regarding this matter, then a comment like this might have been a slip of the tongue since Sony is more than likely in on this sort of thing, what with the deal and all that.

    Red Dead Redemption 2 popping up at E3 is still highly unlikely, but the possibility is there.

    Following the announcement that the game would be delayed until 2018, Rockstar promised more information about Red Dead Redemption 2 would arrive during the summer, so E3 would fit that profile. We sure hope we’ll finally get a glimpse of the game in motion, since the announcement trailer was mostly cinematic. In a few days we’ll see whether Take-Two truly intends to keep this year’s E3 uneventful, or if they’re hiding a bombshell behind smoke and mirrors.

  • ,

    All Signs Point To Microtransactions In Red Dead Redemption 2

    While this isn’t a confirmation since no specific games were named, it’s become increasingly certain that Red Dead Redemption 2 will be getting its own multiplayer microtransactions when the game is released next year. Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two Interactive which is the parent company of Rockstar Games, recently spoke about a number of topics pertinent to AAA gaming, with microtransactions being a major focus.

    Zelnick represented Take-Two Interactive at the Cowen and Company 45th Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference held on the 31st of May, two days ago. One of the key topics was monetization and Zelnick’s take on the matter not only exemplifies why people complaining about GTA Online’s business model should not be doing so, but also strongly indicates that Red Dead Online will have a similar system.

    You can’t give stuff away for free in perpetuity; there’s no business model in that. But we’re not trying to optimise the monetisiation of everything we do to the nth degree. My concern is, if you do that, the consumer knows. They might not even know that they know, but they feel it.

    Gamespot reported Zelnick’s comments from the conference and it’s evident from what was said that he doesn’t turn a deaf ear to the community, even if he’s not a gamer himself, and at the same time acknowledged the criticisms of GTA Online’s microtransaction model.

    Many players accuse the game of having abnormally high in-game prices while money is relatively hard to earn through missions, thus “forcing” them to buy so-called Shark Cards. Fans who play GTA Online and are looking forward to Red Dead Redemption 2 have expressed hopes that the multiplayer mode of the upcoming Wild West title (likely called Red Dead Online) will omit these microtransactions.

    Players, however, often fail to make the connection between the revenue gained from these microtransactions and the stream of free DLC that GTA Online has been getting. It’s a pretty clear connection, since, as Zelnick put it, there is no business model in giving away that much free content.

    Since Rockstar already has a timed exclusivity deal worked out with Sony, we know that Red Dead Online will be getting similar free updates after launch. If you ask us, three years worth of major DLC additions in exchange for microtransactions you don’t have to buy is a great tradeoff.

    Think about it anecdotally – when you paid a little too much for something, even if it was something really good, it really irks you. Paying too much for something bad is even worse. Paying too much for something really good, even if you can afford it, just leaves you with a bad feeling. We don’t want our consumers to ever feel that way.

    Zelnick also points out how other companies in the industry milk monetization vehemently and openly. While he didn’t name any names, we sure can: any publisher, with Blizzard at the bow, which sells blind-box microtransactions for games that you need to buy in the first place.

    Not only did you pay for the game itself, and then the microtransaction, but you don’t even know what is in said microtransaction. You’re gambling your money whether what you get is actually what you want. On the flipside, Take-Two’s microtransactions are completely upfront about what you’re going to get.

    We are convinced that we are probably from an industry view undermonetising on a per-user basis. There is wood to chop because I think we can do more, and we can do more without interfering with our strategy of being the most creative and our ethical approach, which is delighting consumers. We’re not going to grab the last nickel.

    All this allows us to deduce some aspects of Red Dead Online.

    The Sony deal is indication enough that RDO will feature post-launch DLC and Zelnick’s comments add weight to there being a microtransaction model present similar to the one seen in GTA Online. In terms of purchasable content in Red Dead Online, Rockstar will be taking one of two roads.

    Due to the setting of the game, the pool of historically accurate items to buy is significantly smaller than in GTA Online. There were fewer weapons and no cars, no yachts, no planes and no helicopters. Horses might be kept at a stable as stand-ins for cars, but there are only so many different species and type of horse. Clothing options are also more limited than in the modern era, though a greater measure of creative license is available here.

    In order for in-game currency based microtransactions to make sense, that currency will need to be given value by virtue of the things it can buy. With a limited number of horses, weapons and clothes, it’s very likely that property will be the main commodity. It’s possible that players will tend to a ranch that will require constant expansion and upgrading, as well as consumable supplies.

    Another route is to engineer the value of currency so that even the few items available would promote recurrent spending, however this is a tougher model to pull off. Things in this model would either be so extremely expensive, or money would be so hard to earn, that the lesser number of available items would still be difficult to acquire through gameplay alone.

    Of course, the main driving force behind GTA Online’s economy are the constant DLCs. If Rockstar “uses up” all the items from their limited pool on launch, the DLCs would need to focus on other kinds of content, mainly gameplay additions. However these do not present players with new goods to spend money on.

    The previously mentioned homestead might be expanded on to such an extent that the DLCs keep adding to that particular mechanic, but the lasting appeal of it will need be accounted for and ensured.

    Rockstar Games recently delayed Red Dead Redemption 2 until the Spring of 2018 in order to further polish the title, so we’ll still have to wait a while until we learn just what to expect from the microtransactions in this game… Especially if it follows GTA V’s suit and the multiplayer component is launched a month after the initial release.

  • ,

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Delay Survival Guide

    Rockstar Games recently announced that the highly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2 will be delayed until Spring 2018, thus completely ruining the plans eager fans had made for the latter months of this year.

    Originally slated for Fall 2017, Red Dead Redemption 2 has made some immense waves in the media since its announcement, even though barely any game details have been shared.

    So, how are we going survive the wait?

    Even though at the same time they announced its delay, Rockstar also released the very first screenshots of the game, that’s no consolation. 7 years have gone by since the launch of Red Dead Redemption which catapulted the franchise into the spotlight.

    Remembered as a true classic, RDR had fans clamoring for a sequel – or even just a PC port – ever since it launched. And now, when we were so close to jumping back into Rockstar’s fictional Wild West world for another adventure, the wait has been extended.

    We’ve already covered a few games you might want to play in anticipation of Red Dead Redemption 2, but there are plenty of things to do beyond the realm of the virtual in order to pass the time between now and next Spring. That said, the first entry on this list might ring more than just a little familiar.

    Replay Red Dead Redemption

    Not only will you brush up on the events of the previous game right before jumping into the sequel (or prequel), but you’ll be spending your time with one of the most fantastic open-world games of the last console generation. Red Dead Redemption has aged well and looks great even today, and thanks to Backwards Compatibility on Xbox and the PS Now stream service for PlayStation, you can enjoy the title on your current gen consoles as well.

    Waiting for Red Dead Redemption 2 has undoubtedly put fans in a mood for Western games, and while this list has a few nice entries, no game is quite like Red Dead Redemption, thus they can’t really scratch the same itch. Plus, with all the time between Spring 2018 and now, you’ll have the chance to comfortably explore every nook and cranny in the game, achieve 100% completion and hunt down every achievement.

    What better way to jump into Red Dead Redemption 2 than with the knowledge that you completely maxed out the predecessor?

    Manically Analyze The Screenshots

    Have you put the images through retouch analyzers? Have you magnified them several times in an attempt to discern new details? Have you pored over every individual pixel in each shot? If the answer to any of those questions is “no”, then what are you waiting for? The key to the entire plot of Red Dead Redemption 2 could be hidden in those screenshots.

    What if there are secret messages? What if they need to be looked at upside down on a CRT monitor with the menu screen of Red Dead Revolver burned into the film layer while playing José González’s “Far Away” at half-speed backwards?

    On a serious note, it has been proven time and again that approaching pre-release screenshots with a meticulous eye can reveal details the developers haven’t officially let slip yet. Of course, there are tons of other people doing it, most likely better than you, and posting YouTube videos about it, so you can always just watch those instead. But nothing quite compares to making the groundbreaking discovery that, yes, Red Dead Redemption 2 will have dual wielding, yourself.

    Make Art

    Reddit user Larryblaw has already taken this piece of advice to heart and turned one of the recently revealed screenshots into a stunning acrylic painting with surprisingly little red in it. Not only is this a fantastic piece of art, but the time taken to make it is time not spent chewing your nails off while intently staring at the promotional images of Red Dead Redemption 2.

    Between the previous game, the trailer and now the screenshots, there is plenty of material to take inspiration from, and it’s not like painting is the only way to go. Carving, drawing, modelling or any other visual art form is a great way satisfy your creative urges and make the wait more bearable.

    And if you have about as much artistic talent or skill as a fish suffering from carpal tunnel’s syndrome (much like myself), you can always try your hand at pixel art.

    Write Fan Fiction

    Actually, please don’t.


    Live action role playing is one of the best ways to get arrested without actually doing anything wrong, provided your neighbors don’t fancy a reenactment of the battle at Helm’s Deep in your back yard where your mates show off their much too realistic Uruk-Hai costumes – or in this case, cowboy bandit outfits.

    Seriously though, LARPing has become fairly widespread in most countries, and while the majority of the groups dealing with this pastime are fantasy oriented, getting together a Wild West LARP group shouldn’t be all too difficult in this age of social media connectivity. Chances are there are plenty of people in your area secretly wishing to play out their Wild West fantasies in a community that wouldn’t shun them for it.

    Discuss Theories

    Whether you engage in Red Dead Redemption 2 oriented discussion via the dedicated Subreddit or our own forums, brainstorming with fellow fans about what the game might be like is one of the best ways to get your Red Dead fix without actually playing the game.

    Of course, getting emotionally invested in really cool ideas has some drawbacks, as it might make the wait even worse, not to mention that you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment when it turns out that the designers omitted (with good reason most likely) your big idea from the actual game.

    The amount of mystery surrounding Red Dead Redemption 2 has lead to a lively discussion about a wide range of possibilities. Which characters will return? Is it a sequel, a prequel, or both? Where will the map be located compared to the one in RDR? Will there be train robberies? Will the next-gen hardware allow for console players to experience the sight of freshly fallen rain dynamically glisten on the loins hair of the various NPCs you’ll encounter in the game world?

    Learn to ride a horse

    Seeing as equine transportation was more or less the only available method of traversing the rough terrain of the frontier back in the day, as trains only connected major settlements, characters inhabiting the Red Dead world had to learn this skill unless they wanted the coarse desert sand to chew through a pair of shoes every three months. Since you’re so hot on the topic of a Wild West game, how about you learn how to ride in real life? Of course, it’s a tad more complex than pressing 2 buttons on a controller, but it’s entirely doable. After all, at worst the horse will only trample you to death, right?

    But Really

    You could always just push Red Dead Redemption 2 to the back of your mind and follow whatever news pops up over the coming months while focusing on more important things… Actually, yeah, I’ll stop right there. Such nonsense.

  • ,

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Coming Fiscal 2019, Take-Two Confident

    In the wake of Rockstar announcing that Red Dead Redemption 2 has been delayed, Take-Two Interactive just held its final quarterly earnings call for the 2017 financial year.

    Naturally, investors, along with the market in general, were interested in learning additional details regarding Red Dead Redemption 2’s delay. After all, the game was poised to be one of this year’s biggest hits and thankfully a few new, but minor, details were revealed.

    First up is the projected release of Red Dead Redemption 2.

    Rockstar’s announcement placed the new release date in Spring 2018, however thanks to the call we can now cross out March. It was confirmed that the game will be coming in Take-Two’s next financial year (which run from 1 April to 31 March to each year) meaning no sooner than 1 April 2018.

    Interestingly enough, 2010’s Red Dead Redemption was pegged for an April release date, only to be delayed into May. We’re hoping the game won’t be hit by any more delays, but Rockstar has a history of pushing major titles back several times, not just once.

    Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two Interactive, also provided some behind-the-scenes insight into the delay itself, and what effects it is expected to have.

    Zelnick assured investors that no major issues have been encountered during development and that the delay is just to allow for Rockstar to create the best game they can. So, in essence, it’s just a longer version of the official statement released alongside the announcement of the delay.

    I think the purpose of the delay for Red Dead Redemption 2 is to make sure that we deliver the most extraordinary experience that we’re capable of providing.

    We haven’t run into particular issues, we’re building a new game from the ground up for the first time for new-generation consoles, and the pressure that we put on ourselves to deliver excellence to the consumers is extraordinary. And we want to make sure that the appropriate time is taken to deliver the best game that we can, and I think that’s what consumers expect of Rockstar Games, and that’s what Rockstar Games typically delivers.

    So we support emphatically the label’s decision, and we’re utterly confident that it’ll prove in time to be wise, first and foremost creatively and artistically, and economically as well.

    Rockstar Games has a nigh spotless reputation to protect, and Red Dead Redemption 2 is – or, more correctly, was – one of the most anticipated games of the year, and now of 2018.

    While nowhere near as popular as the GTA franchise, Red Dead Redemption amassed a massive fanbase within the gaming community, even if the first game in the franchise, Red Dead Revolver, passed under most people’s radar. Fans of the franchise have been waiting for a sequel for over 7 years, and we’ll slip over into the 8th when it finally arrives.

    Since being revealed in October 2016, we’ve barely learned anything new about the game, and the announcement of the delay was actually the first official statement since (thankfully they included these screenshots).

    Zelnick is right about the pressure on the developers.

    The gaming media has been riding the Red Dead Redemption 2 wave since October and the expectations are incredibly high, being partially set by the huge success of Grand Theft Auto 5, which recently passed the 80 million copies sold mark.

    At this stage Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t expected to reach similar numbers, but it will obviously be a massive hit nonetheless.

    While we’re as bummed by the delay as anyone else, at the end of the day, this just means that we’ll get a better game. Waiting longer for a great experience is preferable to getting a disappointment sooner.

    It’s going to be a long year though.

  • ,

    Why Was Red Dead Redemption 2 Delayed?

    Yesterday, Rockstar Games announced that Red Dead Redemption 2 will now launch in Spring 2018. The news wasn’t exactly a surprise, but it hit with the weight of one nonetheless.

    Ever since the game’s official announcement last October, fans have been on the edge of their seats waiting for official news, but this isn’t what they had in mind. While responses from fans have been mixed – some praising the delay since it will result in a better product, others saying they were already struggling to wait until the original release date in Fall – one question occupies all equally: why?

    Rockstar Games is no stranger to delays since every AAA-budget title they’ve ever released was delayed save for Rockstar Games Presents: Table Tennis. The very first footage of the previous game in the Red Dead franchise was shown off in 2005, just one year after the release of Revolver, however the game wouldn’t launch until 2010, and even then it was hit with another one-month delay. Grand Theft Auto 5 was also pushed from Spring 2013 to September that year, Grand Theft Auto 4 from October 2007 to April 2008, and the list goes on.

    Rockstar almost always pushes back release dates from the initially announced windows for a handful of reasons.

    Firstly, the initial release date estimate for their games often appears too optimistic. Sure, for all we know they’ve been in development for a long enough time beforehand and simply planned the reveal close to launch. However, it’s turned out in most cases that the game is not all that close to being finished upon announcement, but for whatever reason, Rockstar has only given themselves a year, or less, to wrap up development.

    In their official announcement, which was accompanied by a number of new screenshots, Rockstar Games stated that they require more time to work on and polish Red Dead Redemption 2 in order to deliver the best possible product. Of course it’s true, but is there other reasons for the delay too?

    This outlaw epic set across the vast and unforgiving American heartland will be the first Rockstar game created from the ground up for the latest generation of console hardware, and some extra time is necessary to ensure that we can deliver the best experience possible for our fans. We are very sorry for any disappointment this delay causes, but we are firm believers in delivering a game only when it is ready.

    An early warning sign of Red Dead Redemption 2’s impending delay was the radio silence we’ve had since the official announcement of the game back in October. Really, this announcement of the delay half a year later is the first official statement since. Leaving half a year, maybe less, to market what is supposed to be one of the biggest games of 2017 really wouldn’t do either the developers or gamers justice. Sure, the game would have been a blockbuster any way, just not as bigger blockbuster as it could be. If the date was holding we’d have seen more of it by now.

    And then there is Rockstar’s reputation. Almost every game they’ve ever released has highly positive to outstanding critical scores and enjoys the overwhelming adoration of fans. And one of the most universally known truths in the industry is that a game rushed will surely disappoint, as proven by a bevy of titles across the AAA and lower-budget markets. Spending ample time polishing a game is often what separates the Game of the Year nominees from those scorned.

    Rockstar knows this and opts for delays in favor of releasing the consistently high-quality titles that they do. Really, this only ever benefits fans, since we’re treated to games held to a superior standard. GTA 5 benefitted much from the extra polish, as evidenced by the insanely vivid open world, which still leaves all others, even newer ones, behind. Rarely do delays damage the sales of a game, and yet certain publishers, such as Electronic Arts, would rather rush a game to stick to deadlines.

    Another factor is the one that Rockstar themselves have cited. This is the first game the developers are creating for the current generation of consoles. GTA 5 was developed for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 then ported to the current generation, which is a wholly different process. There, the developers had to stay within the bounds and limitations imposed by the game’s original version. Working directly with the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 hardware offers Rockstar greater freedom to craft a game that wouldn’t be possible on the previous gen.

    This goes beyond mere graphics, too. The stronger hardware makes a vast array of improvements possible: more complex AI, more NPCs on-screen at any given time, dynamic effects in more contexts, greater mission and side-activity variety, foliage density, the magnitude of level-of-detail phases, draw distance and much more. This is about more than just the looks of the game, but the way it feels and plays as well.

    While the delay itself is unfortunate since this means we’ll have to wait roughly 10-12 months from now until the game hits store shelves, the effect it will have on the end result is immeasurable. We agree with many fans who say that they would rather wait patiently only to receive an amazing game as opposed to having it rushed out in an unpolished state.

    We’ve seen what Rockstar can do when given the time, and we can’t wait to delve into Red Dead Redemption 2’s world, polished to a blinding shine.

  • ,

    First Red Dead Redemption 2 Screenshots Analyzed

    The silver lining to today’s announcement that Red Dead Redemption 2 will be released in the Spring of 2018, as opposed to this Fall, is that Rockstar gave us a handful of screenshots alongside it.

    While players will undoubtedly spend the next few weeks analyzing every pixel of every image, it’s pretty clear from a first sweep that no major reveals are hidden within them. We’ve done our best to try and bring you a few interesting highlights and tidbits though.

    Firstly, some characters can be seen in several images, but their faces are always obscured save for a single screenshot. For all we know, the characters could be Red Dead Online player avatars wearing various outfits. The single screen showing the faces of characters shows them in a distance around a caravan, but upon magnification it becomes clear that at least two of them are duplicates, meaning either placeholders or NPCs.

    Though the shots are clearly staged, they’re also in-engine giving us a good idea of what kind of graphical quality to expect, and it’s the kind that would have cowboys tipping their hats in respect and awe. The graphics are a marked improvement upon Grand Theft Auto V – an advantage of having new hardware to work with.

    The varied landscapes of the game are on full display, from lush forests to barren deserts, as well as busy towns and cityscapes. Something about the forest screenshot is really striking, and if you can’t put your finger on it, we’ll help: video games rarely depict trees to be so massive. Most likely we’re looking at redwoods here, which would fit the setting of the game.

    An exciting game mechanic, which wasn’t present in the previous title, is also confirmed by the screenshots. Dual wielding pistols, as ineffective and inaccurate as it may be, has been a staple of Wild West fiction and it’s appearing in Red Dead Redemption 2 as well if the screenshots are anything to go by.

    If we’re to assume that another image, which is a close up of two pistols being dual-wielded, is from the multiplayer version Red Dead Online, then it seems that weapon customization through engravings (and maybe more) will be possible. The various outfits on show also indicate that players will be able to mix and match different articles of clothing, as opposed to selecting full outfits like in the original Red Dead Redemption.

    Images showing off the busy town street have sent the community into overdrive, with everyone trying to figure out its exact location. However, doing so would only be possible if this is a city we’ve already seen in Red Dead Redemption. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite line up with any of them, but then keeping in mind the massive changes Los Santos underwent between its two outings means that maybe Armadillo or one of the other towns simply received a redesign. On display, however, are what seem to be dynamic foot-and-wheel prints in the mud, as well as some beautiful lighting effects.

    The shot of the train crossing the bridge, other than being incredibly epic, further shows off how great the graphics look with what may just be the best-looking smoke effects ever seen. The area the train is leaving looks like the one seen in the forest screenshot, indicating that locomotives may be a method of fast-travel in the world, not unlike the trains in GTA V. A single train can also be seen in the screenshot with the man wearing a blue bandana, indicating that train robberies or heists could be a feature.

    Finally, the shot of the stagecoach and duplicate NPCs shows would could be a mechanic involving guarded convoy raids, evoking some GTA-like side missions no longer available in Online.

    As time goes on, further analysis will no doubt bring with it new revelations which we will cover as they appear. In the meantime make sure you head over to our forums where some further investigation by the community is already taking place.

  • ,

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Delayed To Spring 2018

    In an announcement that is probably not altogether that surprising, Rockstar Games has officially confirmed that Red Dead Redemption 2 has been delayed until the Spring of 2018.

    The game was originally slated to be released this Fall after an initial announcement that it was in production in October last year.

    The news comes in the wake of two separate rumors (that have now been disproven) concerning the game. One concerned an allegedly leaked screenshot that was later revealed to be from a different game altogether. Second was a rumor about a live action trailer being shot in Montana for an upcoming Western. But then that turned out to be for Far Cry 5, as confirmed by the recent teaser for the game welcoming players to “Hope County”.

    This outlaw epic set across the vast and unforgiving American heartland will be the first Rockstar game created from the ground up for the latest generation of console hardware, and some extra time is necessary to ensure that we can deliver the best experience possible for our fans.

    Rockstar’s official statement indicates that the delay is due to Red Dead Redemption 2 being the first game developed by the company entirely for the current-generation of consoles. This is as opposed to Grand Theft Auto V, which was merely ported to the new systems. Instead, Red Dead Redemption 2 will be developed entirely for the new hardware, allowing Rockstar to take advantage of the greater resources in ways GTA V could never have. To display just how much advantage they are taking of that new hardware, Rockstar showed off a couple of screenshots from the game too (check out the full gallery here).

    As for new information about the game itself, Rockstar hasn’t revealed anything just yet. But we do finally know when to expect some kind of press release, and we won’t need to wait long. New information, and hopefully gameplay footage, will be shown off sometime this Summer, which makes us hopeful for a possible E3 appearance. While E3’s have usually been skipped by Rockstar in the past, they have shown off games there a few times and we feel that Red Dead Redemption 2 is a big enough deal to warrant a change in tradition.

    Many players who have been hotly anticipating the sequel to Red Dead Redemption are likely disappointed. However, at the same time many have expressed, in advance of today’s news, that a delay wouldn’t sadden them, since it merely means the developers are taking the time to create the best game they possibly can – something Rockstar Games has done before with GTA V, and the results speak for themselves.

    Alas, our wait continues.

  • ,

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Release Date Possibly Let Slip

    Update: Red Dead Redemption 2 has been officially delayed until Spring 2018. Read more here.

    The last place we expected to hear about a possible Red Dead Redemption 2 release date is in a video about Destiny 2.

    During a reveal impressions video for the sequel to Bungie’s first new IP since Halo was taken from them, a prominent figure in the gaming press let slip a hint about when we should expect to see Red Dead Redemption 2 in stores.

    Some of you might be asking why we’d give any credit to “some random YouTuber”. Thing is, Brandon Jones isn’t just some guy making videos, but the founder of GameTrailers and Editor in Chief of EasyAllies. More importantly, he’s one of the pre-show judges of the E3 Game Critics Awards for 2017, meaning he already knows much of what will be revealed at the show but is still embargoed.

    So there is a very real chance that the man knows when Red Dead Redemption 2 will hit store shelves.

    The hint itself concerns the release date of Destiny 2, which is September 8 this year. In the video (at approximately 15:20), Jones states that the game “comes out the week before Red Dead, September 8th”, meaning that this would put Red Dead Redemption 2’s launch between September 11th and 17th. The best estimate based on that range would be the 15th of September.

    After a few viewers caught this tidbit and discussion mounted over the weekend, Jones took to Twitter for some damage control, however what he had to say wasn’t 100% convincing. He basically claims to associate Red Dead Redemption 2 with September in his mind, which lead to the slip. Jones says that what he said in the video has no truth to it and is unrelated to his activity as a judge – it’s just a guess.

    Of course, players anxiously waiting for any new information on Red Dead Redemption 2 might just be hearing what they want to hear, but many say that Jones’ body language and subsequent reaction to the slip make it seem real, as does the follow up on Twitter.

    We hear you

    What’s more, this puts that live action trailer back into question. Ubisoft recently announced a load of new games including another Far Cry title, however it isn’t slated for this year.

    That makes Red Dead Redemption 2 the only game to still fit the producer’s description and the September release date also lines up with our current Fall release window. This could mean Rockstar will take a deviant approach to marketing Red Dead Redemption 2. They rarely appear at E3 – though they’ve been known to do so – and make live-action trailers even less frequently.

    The coming months will decide whether these rumors turn out to be true or hollow. We’ll be sure to update you as we hear more.

  • ,

    Red Dead Redemption Turns Seven Today

    Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar Games’ open-world Wild West action-adventure title, turns 7-years-old today.

    The game was first released on May 18, 2010 in the United States, gracing the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Seven years ago we first took control of John Marston, seven years ago we first set foot in this fictional snippet of the Old West. It’s been seven years, and we’re waiting for the sequel, it’s also been seven years without a PC port.

    Many remember Red Dead Redemption as the first Red Dead game, however Revolver came before it in 2004. Nonetheless, it was Redemption that truly captured the minds and hearts of gamers, and catapulted the IP into the spotlight. Now, Rockstar will soon have us return to the Red Dead world this Fall with a sequel or prequel to 2010’s hit.

    Incidentally, it’s also been seven months since the official announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2. This coincidence has spawned countless claims that today would surely mean some kind of major announcement about the upcoming game would be made. It would have been the perfect date to reveal the next trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2. Even some kind of Red Dead commemoration would have been nice – this is one of their most popular titles we’re talking about after all.

    However, Rockstar has been quiet with little social media activity of any kind.

    All is not lost however, the next Take-Two investor call is coming up on May 23, and having nothing to show for a game scheduled to be launched in roughly four months time probably won’t impress any analysts covering Take-Two.

    Back to Red Dead Redemption though.

    It’s as good a time as any to fire up the seven-year-old title, which has been made available on Xbox One via the backwards compatibility program, and on PlayStation 4 and PC through Sony’s PS Now streaming service. It probably wouldn’t hurt brushing up on the events of the series before jumping into Red Red Dead Redemption 2 and marking this day with a new playthrough is a great way to honor John Marston’s journey.

    Interestingly enough, Red Dead Redemption’s multiplayer is still fairly populated; although this can be attributed, at least in part, to the publicity surrounding by the upcoming sequel. If you’ve got a few mates who own the game, you should get them to hop online for old time’s sake.

    Let’s just hope the wait between the previous game and the next won’t get any longer than this!

  • ,

    Red Dead Redemption Is Reviving Western Games

    Some time ago, we wrote a piece about how the popularity and success of Red Dead Redemption 2 might result in there being a resurgence in games with a Western setting. After the recent reveal of a new crowdfunded project called Wild West Online, as well as rumors that the next Far Cry might be a spaghetti Western, it seems that our prediction was correct – so much so, that Red Dead Redemption 2 didn’t even need to be released for this effect.

    Promotional screenshot for Wild West Online

    At the time we posted the first piece, many commenters claimed that it wouldn’t happen since Rockstar would “scare” off any other developer trying to take on the setting, since they would have no hope of topping Red Dead Redemption 2. Incidentally, the minds behind Wild West Online were actually inspired by Red Dead Redemption, and the project was kicked off back when the sequel wasn’t announced yet. The team’s motivation was that they got tired of waiting for a follow-up to the original RDR, so they decided to make their own Western video game, and turn it into an MMO.

    In recent years, the Western setting has mostly been relegated to indie productions and download-only titles that weren’t destined to achieve far-reaching popularity. Even looking back throughout all of gaming history, Westerns are few and far between. Red Dead Redemption was well enough received in 2010, but it didn’t really grab the mainstream crowds, being more of a core gamer product.

    Riding the wave of Grand Theft Auto 5’s popularity, however, has catapulted Red Dead Redemption 2 into the spotlight already, with the hype alone already spreading into casual gamer spheres. The title is getting extensive marketing already via banners and other merch on display in retail stores and pre-orders are being bought up like candy. We’ve barely seen a glimpse of the game through the cinematic trailer, but it has already amassed an audience greater than some other AAA titles do throughout their entire shelf life.

    With such a heavy hitter representing the Western genre, copycats are guaranteed to follow.

    Over the years the Grand Theft Auto franchise has spawned many an IP that took significant inspiration from games in that series, and with Red Dead about to explode into the mainstream consciousness, we see a similar future ahead for Westerns. While movies have explored the setting extensively, the few games that do offer players a trip to the Wild West are proof enough that the locale works, and works well.

    Even if the rumored Far Cry title isn’t a Western, we might get an Assassin’s Creed game with a Wild West setting – after all, we’ve had pirates, and the setting would fit the series well. The Call of Juarez series could make a triumphant comeback, and a number of original properties could be created. We’d also love to see some spliced genres where Western is mixed with other themes, like Sci-Fi or Fantasy. The former worked out well for Westworld and Firefly.

    Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn’t even have a concrete release date, and it already serves as inspiration for other titles. We guess it’s safe to assume that once the game is released, several other Westerns will follow.