Open world video games are huge business these days; several franchises within the genre have become classics, and indeed are among some of the most beloved game series of all time. But while games can create almost any hypothetical reality, most entries in this particular subgenre have focused within the medieval fantasy, science fiction or urban crime genre. A notable exception: Red Dead Redemption, a modern-classic in which Rockstar Games essentially applied their Grand Theft Auto formula to the American Old West - resulting in what manner consider one of the best games in the entire genre.
Now, Rockstar may finally be teasing a sequel to this much-loved game, with a cryptic image posted to social media. Posted to Rockstar's Twitter account at approximately 9:00am EST, the image depicts a smear-textured red canvas with the Rockstar logo set dead center, with no accompanying text or metadata. Shortly thereafter, the same image became a page-filling newspost on the developer's own website.
No new information has since broken on this developing story, but many fans are already leaping to the conclusion that a sequel to Red Dead Redemption will shortly be announced:
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) October 16, 2016
Released to much acclaim in 2010, Redemption was actually a sequel to a more linear-structured game titled Red Dead Revolver from 2004 - though Revolver was originally developed by Angel Studios for Capcom (as a revival of their 1980s Arcade and Nintendo Entertainment System hit Gun Smoke) prior to the studio being acquired by Rockstar-proper. The original drew mixed reviews, but the open world follow-up became an instant smash with its inspired gameplay unique aesthetic, which combined realistic historical motifs with the exaggerated action of the so-called "Spaghetti Westerns" of the 1970s and dark revisionist Westerns in the vein of Unforgiven.
In the game, players acted out the adventures of reformed outlaw John Marston, who is forced by the newly-empowered FBI to hunt down the former members of his gang at the tail-end of the "old west" era. While objectives were required to complete the main storyline, the game offered a massive amount of tangential content that kept devoted players glued to their screens for hours on end. Even today, the game is considered a must-play by many of the mediums most respect critics and fellow developers.
While fans are justly excited, it is not 100% clear that the image is teasing a direct sequel. With the XBox and Playstation brands both getting upgrade models and Nintendo about the launch their mysterious NX console, it's possible that the studio is instead teasing a "remaster" of the original game a'la Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. It's also possible that it could be both, or an entirely unrelated game - though one would imagine Rockstar would recognize the disappointment likely to result if that were the case given the perceived specificity of the image.
Stick with Screen Rant for more on this story as it develops.