As promised, today Rockstar Games published the third trailer for the upcoming Wild West epic Red Dead Redemption 2. We now have more details about the game's storyline and know more of what to expect regarding its narrative, though gameplay details remain elusive.
The trailer, running for just over two minutes, is going to be an absolute hype generator with all the various scenes just waiting to be picked apart by fans. Even on the first viewing attentive players will catch some very significant details. We finally know more about the motivation of the gang, about the timeframe of the game and how Morgan fits into all of this.
The West had nearly been tamed
"We're more ghosts than people" says Morgan to an unnamed lady outlaw right before the trailer specifies the year the game will take place (1899), putting it seven years before the botched robbery at the beginning of Red Dead Redemption, and 12 years before the main events of that game. This means that events in Red Dead Redemption 2 occur during the era before Dutch went violently insane, and the trailer indicates as much with his dialogue.
Seeing the gang back when it was still running as an idealistic, Robin hood-esque vigilante anti-hero outfit, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, will be an interesting antithesis to how every member goes quite clearly morally depraved 12 years later.
The trailer shows us an iteration of Dutch's Gang that is quite populous, comprised of significantly more outlaws than just Williamson, Escuela, Morgan and... John Marston.
Sons of Dutch
That's right, this trailer confirms the presence of John Marston. Considering the timeframe, the plot of Red Dead Redemption 2 might even contain a section that resembles an origin story for the protagonist of the previous title, which would possibly be the most extreme example of fan service since the Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3.
For all we know, Morgan may even have a hand in recruiting Marston. In any case, the trailer involves one gang member describing them as the 'Sons of Dutch'. Whether this is a one-time play on words or a sort of name for the gang that wasn't mentioned before will become clear later on.
The plot synopsis starts off in a rather familiar manner - Dutch's Gang botch a robbery in Blackwater. However, instead of leaving one of their members behind, only for that member to return hunting them at the behest of the authorities, we'll be following the gang members as they try to evade lawmen and bounty hunters in an epic game of cat and mouse spanning the "rugged heartland of America".
Players might remember that the Blackwater Massacre of 1899 is mentioned a few times in Red Dead Redemption.
A large-scale shootout between lawmen and outlaws in the town of Blackwater that claimed the lives of 22 outlaws and 15 lawmen, the Blackwater Massacre was unique due to having taken place in a modern, industrialized and supposedly safe urban area. This event may very well be the botched robbery that sets off the events of Red Dead Redemption 2. It would also mean that Landon Ricketts appears in the prequel (and would make it strange that he never mentions Dutch was involved).
The official description of the video, provided Rockstar, also states that "As deepening internal divisions threaten to tear the gang apart, Arthur must make a choice between his own ideals and loyalty to the gang who raised him" , suggesting that there will be some kind of break between Morgan and the gang.
This is pure speculation, but I will make the call now that Red Dead Redemption 2's ending will mirror the ending of Red Dead Redemption, with Morgan opening barn doors and getting gunned down by the members of the gang due to some betrayal, hence why he isn't around or even mentioned in Red Dead Redemption.
Beyond these details, the trailer is filled with pretty scenes showing off the game's fantastic graphics, includes a lot of outlaws doing outlawed things, horses (obviously) and many scripted events from cutscenes. There is a train robbery, but it isn't clear what role it will have in gameplay. The same can be said of bank robberies.
It seems that brawls and duels will appear as in-game activities, as many of the shots showing these looked like they were recorded through regular gameplay, but were edited to be shown from different angles and without UI to fit the cinematic feel of the trailer. This is also true for many scenes peppered about this footage - both previous trailers were 100% scripted and taken from cutscenes, whereas here we see gameplay, albeit heavily edited.
You can expect to see a more detailed, in-depth analysis of the new trailer shortly.