Publicity is a double-edged sword. The kind of hype Rockstar has already built up around Red Dead Redemption 2, even if the did it with just one trailer, has already resulted in fans coming up with lists of features they deem necessary. Expectations are running high, as both the previous Red Dead game and the more recent GTA 5 have set the bars really damn high. And in this industry, being just as good isn't enough. RDR2 will have to be better in order to not disappoint.
So we've established that GTA Online is a pretty solid base from which we can start predicting what shape Red Dead Online will take, since the two will inevitably be similar. That said, by virtue of their different settings, there will obviously be countless differences between the two. We already covered what features RDO should "steal" from GTA Online, as well as those it shouldn't copy. Now, let's look at other general features that the game would benefit from.
We had to wait 2 years in GTA Online to get Heists, which is pretty much the point of the whole underlying narrative. How about we get robbable trains in Red Dead Online upon launch? These events may even be structured in a similar fashion to Heists. There would be set-up missions, such as sabotaging the rails, clearing the train-station of lawmen, getting an undercover ally onto the train at an earlier stop and so on.
Rockstar might even incorporate epic set-pieces into these jobs. Imagine a cargo train with a precious payload of gold ingots traveling across a large valley on a bridge. Due to the frequency of robberies, the gold is in some sort of large safe, which also protects it. Being a cargo train, there is only the railroad engineer aboard driving the locomotive. The set-up mission would include getting on the train, and coercing the engineer to get off (he is innocent, after all) while another set-up would include setting dynamite at the various support pillars of the bridge.
Blow the bridge up, driver-less train plummets into the valley, gold survives in safe which cracks open from the impact, bribe engineer to reveal your names and profit! Similar interesting scenarios might be constructed around this theme.
Animals and Hunting
One glaring omission from GTA Online were the animals that inhabited the wilderness of the game's single player world. While no official explanation was given for the lack of furred creatures in the multiplayer version of the game, it was safe to assume that the hardware limitations of the last-gen consoles were to blame.
With these shackles having been shaken off, Red Dead Online absolutely must include animals and a hunting mechanic. While this was never crucial for a GTA game, hunting was a pretty major aspect of RDR back in 2010. To make things interesting, Rockstar could add large populations of regular game, the hides of which would sell for low-medium prices. Whereas unique and rare creatures, maybe even cryptids, would only appear under special circumstances. Killing and skinning these would yield unique rewards.
Build Your Own Ranch
While GTA Online allows you to know several properties, Red Dead Online should give all players a simple ranch to begin with. At first all you'd have would be a plot of land and a rickety shack that barely keeps the wind out at night. As you gather money, fame and materials, you'd be able to expand and upgrade your ranch, eventually buying animals and hiring farmhands to produce all kinds of crops and meat and other goods to sell or trade.
This kind of property upgrading mechanic would allow each player to feel like their ranch is truly their own. Maybe RDO could take a page out of Fallout 4's book when it comes to settlements. Players could customize the layout and design of their particular ranch, buying visual customizations as well as actual upgrades. Whereas in GTA Online everyone has the exact same flat with minor stylistic changes, this way everyone's home in the American West would be unique to them.
What features do you hope to see in Red Dead Online when it releases later this year?