For over a decade now, Rockstar meant Grand Theft Auto. Sure, the company produced other games which fell into other franchises, much like 2010's Red Dead Redemption, but essentially, Rockstar was GTA through and through. Since the announcement of GTA 5, this only became ever more true. Recently, that title broke 75 million shipped copies, and reigns supreme, but for how long?
Today, you wouldn't think that GTA had humble roots, but it did. The series only became marginally popular with its transition into the 3D era, with GTA 3. The popularity didn't quite explode into the phenomenon it is today until GTA: San Andreas hit, which many still consider to be the best in the franchise. But fame is fleeting, and like every other massively popular franchise, GTA's star will start to eventually fall eventually. And who better than Red Dead to take its place?
Red Dead Redemption 2's ever-increasing hype, even though Rockstar has only released a single cinematic trailer, may be indication that the public is ready for a change of scenery. We've said before that RDR2 won't be toppling GTA 5 in terms of sales and popularity, and we stand by this claim. However, RDR2 may be to the franchise what GTA 3 was for its own: the first step to domination.
Los Santos wasn't built in a day, and while RDR2 won't be shattering any of GTA 5's records, it might catalyze a process that will allow Red Dead 4 (or Red Dead Redemption 3, if this naming scheme continues) to break every boundary and become the "new GTA" in terms of popularity. If you look at the media coverage of RDR2, this process has seemingly already begun.
While other well established and popular game franchises only grab headlines with massive reveals and major press releases, both the gaming and surprisingly enough the non-gaming press is extremely hot on the topic of Red Dead Redemption 2. The reason for this is simple - RDR2 attracts views, which clearly indicates that there is demand and interest in the property.
Then again, maybe when eventually in the years ahead a new GTA game is announced, this theory will come crashing down with the weight of immense anticipation and massive popularity, but Red Dead's current fame indicates that an interesting power struggle is unfolding right before us. Time to place your bets.