These days the developers at Rockstar Games may be best known as the creators of Grand Theft Auto - one of the most influential or oft-referenced pop culture video game in the modern era (for better or worse). But as famous as the crime series may be, it's likely that video game history will remember the company for its creation of Red Dead Redemption, an open world that actually educated gamers on life in the American West while telling a story as subtle and restrained as it was accomplished. The accolades and commercial success made a sequel a no-brainer - and after six long years, Red Dead Redemption 2 is finally on the horizon.
The years of little to no word on a follow-up story to the western adventure clearly dulled the senses of fans and journalists, with Rockstar actually delivering a surprise tease of an impending announcement, followed soon after by a 2017 launch date and promise of a trailer. That trailer has now debuted online, giving players their first glimpse of the world, characters, and story - not to mention a possible hint of how it may tie into the larger world formed by Redemption.
It came as a bit of a surprise, given the aesthetic of the genre, for Redemption to feature early motorcars being loaded onto a train in its opening cinematic. Technically a story of how the Old West died (figuratively, and literally), set in 1911, the game's story didn't leave many sequel opportunities. Before long, fan discussions shifted to the prospects of a prequel instead, set in the heights of the Old West - long before hero John Marston was forced to track down and defeat his former outlaw friends to ensure his own freedom.
The first artwork released by Rockstar seemed to double down on multiplayer, not only advertising "a brand new online multiplayer experience" in the early press, but featuring seven outlaws striding out of the sunset across a desert landscape. And when fans started taking a closer look at the men in question, they soon noticed some familiar faces - mainly a young John Marston alongside his future enemies (still making their name as a fearsome gang). It was only a theory, but the man in the trailer holding a rifle in front of a burning background definitely could be John... but this trailer is a tease, in the truest sense of the word.
If anything the trailer is advertising the world of the game itself, from heavily forested areas to familiar mountain landscapes, with special attention paid to the animals (human and otherwise) and wildlife that populate it. The previous game's success in creating a world that felt living and breathing has raised the bar, so it may be an encouraging sign that Rockstar still felt their improvements to be worth the first spotlight. Especially since the story is all but guaranteed to be a compelling one.
We'll keep you updated as more details on the future of the Red Dead series arrive. For now, let us know what you think of the story, setting, and multiplayer ideas you would like to see Rockstar work into the core experience.
Red Dead Redemption 2 will be released in Fall 2017.