Will Red Dead Redemption 2 Revive Western Games?

More games need horses, outlaws and lassoes

Some time ago we put together a list of games to play while waiting for Red Dead Redemption 2 to be released. One thing you might notice about that list is that none of the game can be played on current generation consoles, which happen to be the only platforms on which RDR2 is being released. In essence, Red Dead Redemption 2 alone represents the Wild West in current-gen console gaming on its own. We’re hoping this will change post-launch.

While there is a common saying: “life imitates art”, the phrase “art imitates art” is just as accurate. This is true in the case of video games as well, with the industry having its own trends coming and going. Usually when a particular game becomes a massive hit, a slew of similar titles follow in the years after. Some will resemble the progenitor more than others, but many will obviously be inspired by the initial successful title.

We’ve seen this before countless times in gaming. Call of Duty cursed the industry with nearly a decade of short, multiplayer focused “realistic” grey-brown modern military shooters. While thanks to League of Legends MOBA games are practically flowing from the tap these days. All it takes is one breakaway success to start a trend, and we’re hoping Red Dead Redemption 2 will be the trend setter.

The Wild West as a setting has never been as well represented in video games as, World War 2, the post-apocalypse, the standard fantasy world or futuristic sci-fi. We’ve assaulted the virtual shores of Normandy a thousand times over, drank from umpteen different toilets in Fallout and similar titles, picked between the holy trinities of human/elf/dwarf and warrior/rogue/mage countless times, and have explored many distant planets. But taking down Outlaws with a trust revolver? Pretty rare indeed.

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However the reason for this is quite baffling. The few titles that do represent the setting have proven that it’s hardly boring, nor is it too hard to adapt as a video game. Franchises like Red Dead and Call of Juarez consistently proved that a good Western game is more than doable – so why didn’t everyone jump on the bandwagon like they did with the grimdark gung-ho bro shooters?

Simple – neither were massive successes. You’ll be hard pressed to find people who played and Call of Juarez games these days and Red Dead Redemption was really only ever successful in the hardcore gaming community. However, Red Dead Redemption 2 is shaping up to be a much bigger fish, what with the amount of media attention being thrown at it. If the title does become a hit, we’re hoping to see more Western games pop up once publishers are shown that there is money to be made in this niche.

Let’s wait and see, but we for one are eager virtually to saddle up beyond the bounds of RDR2 as well.

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