Red Dead Redemption 2: Trailers, release date, gameplay, bonus content and more

Red Dead Redemption 2: Trailers, release date, gameplay, bonus content and more

It’s been eight years since Rockstar released Red Dead Redemption, an open-world, story-based shooter set in the Wild West for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Most gamers consider it to be a modern masterpiece, and some (myself included) even herald it as one of the best games ever made.

That’s why people are so excited for Red Dead Redemption 2, the long-awaited follow-up that’s finally set to arrive for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One gamers later this fall. First announced in October of 2016, the sequel is pitched as “an attempt to capture this pivotal moment when the age of outlaws was ending and the modern world was born.” From what we know, it’s actually a prequel set before the events of the first game — and now, we have our first look at actual gameplay to tide us over until next month (it’s that video embedded above, in case you didn’t notice).

The prequel to Rockstar’s Western epic arrives on consoles October 26th.

Rockstar Games

The footage shows us our protagonist (more on him in just a bit) trekking his way through the frontier, through forests and swamps and dusty desert landscapes and into danger at every turn. You’ll explore the story as part of a band of outlaws filled with some familiar faces, and your choices come with consequences — and implications as to just how honorable your hero truly is.

New mechanics include unique, breed-specific temperaments for the different horses in the game, along with the ability to foster relationship dynamics with the individual members of your gang, which seems like an interesting way to inject some humanity in between the brawls and shootouts.

So can Red Dead 2 live up to the hype? Time will tell (and some of us have our concerns) — for now, here’s a quick rundown of what we know about the game, along with a quick history of the series to help get you caught up.

What’s Red Dead Redemption all about?

Developed by Rockstar Games — the same studio behind marquee franchises like Grand Theft Auto and Max Payne — the original Red Dead Redemption was an open-world Western set in 1911 that cast you as John Marston, a complex and conflicted former outlaw forced to hunt down his old crew after the government takes his wife and son hostage.

Among other things, the original Red Dead Redemption was celebrated for its story and characters, its stunning, open-world vistas, and its refined shooting mechanics. Expect more of the same in Red Dead 2.

Rockstar Games

The game was developed using the same engine as Grand Theft Auto 4, and it borrowed the same basic story-driven mission structure of that franchise. As you gallop your way through the gorgeous open world, you encounter a wide cast of memorable characters, many of whom enlist you on tasks and missions that help move the plot forward. Along the way, you’re free to explore, hunt wildlife, trade with the locals, visit the saloon for a quick game of Liar’s Dice and countless other open-world opportunities.

The game was notable for the vast landscapes and breathtaking vistas of its map, which takes you through a surprisingly diverse mix of Western-influenced settings — everything from dusty ghost towns and Mexican mesas to serene prairies and snowy mountain trails populated with lumbering grizzlies. This writer has many fond memories of evenings spent exploring the terrain on a trusty steed, often chasing a blazing sunset over the horizon on my way to the next story mission. It was Westworld sans the dystopic existentialism (more shotguns, fewer shoguns).

Also notable: The game’s freshly refined shooting mechanics, which represented a significant step forward from what Rockstar fans were used to in the Grand Theft Auto franchise at that point. Gamers still enjoy that Red Dead approach to gunslinging today, as Rockstar incorporated much of it into future hits like Grand Theft Auto 5.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 debut trailer


Where does Red Dead 2 pick up? Is Marston back?

From the looks of it, the Red Dead Redemption sequel is actually a prequel that takes place 12 years before the events of the first game. Though eagle-eyed viewers will spot him sitting with his family around the gang’s campfire in the gameplay footage video up at the top of this post, John Marston doesn’t feature in any of the trailers — instead, our hero is a new character named Arthur Morgan, a debt collector for the Van der Linde gang. Fans familiar with the franchise will recognize that as Marston’s old crew, so it seems possible if not likely that Marston will somehow factor into the plot, but we don’t know that for sure yet. 

The trailer footage we’ve seen so far does show that we’ll be seeing other familiar faces, including a younger version of gang leader Dutch Van der Linde, as well as the seedy outlaw Bill Williamson, Marston’s initial target from the first game.

It’s also worth noting that this will actually be the third game in the Red Dead franchise. The first, 2004’s Red Dead Revolver, was initially developed by Angel Studios before Rockstar acquired the company and released the game. It’s more of a spiritual predecessor to the Redemption games than anything else, though some of the themes and mechanics, like Quickdraw, which lets you slow time and highlight multiple targets for a rapid multi-shot strike, have carried over.

When does it come out, and how can I play it?

After initially pitching a fall 2017 release, Rockstar pushed Red Dead Redemption 2’s release back to Oct. 26, 2018. The game’s creators insisted that there would be no further delays, and now, with October drawing near and billboards already starting to go up to advertise the game’s release, it’s safe to say that the date is locked in.

The game will launch on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles at a base price of $60, but it’s still unclear if we’ll be able to play it on PC, too. The original never made it to PC, but recent triple-A titles from Rockstar, like Grand Theft Auto 5 and LA Noire, have. A PC port is something that fans are clamoring for (there’s even a petition on that’s getting close to its 75,000-signature goal), but with Rockstar largely a no-show at E3, don’t expect any news about a PC port before the game’s release.

Red Dead Redemption 2 will come in both a “Special” and “Ultimate” edition, each with a physical map of the game’s terrain and its own set of in-game bonus content. A third “Collector’s Box” option doesn’t include the game itself, but instead offers a mix of memorabilia.


Something else worth knowing: In addition to releasing the game itself, Rockstar is also releasing the game in both “Special” and “Ultimate” editions for $80 and $100, respectively. Each one packages the game with distinct bonus content (click the image to the right to see what’s included). There’s also a third “Collector’s” edition that doesn’t include the game itself, but instead serves as a sort of loot crate filled with even more game-related goodies. The cost for that? Another $100.

On top of that, the extras you get will also differ depending on whether you buy the game in its physical or digital form. For instance, people who preorder the digital version will receive extra funds when they start their adventure, along with a digital map leading to even more loot in the game. On the other hand, fans who buy a physical copy of the Ultimate edition will receive a nifty souvenir in the form of a physical map of the game’s terrain, along with a classy, steelbook case.

In other words, there isn’t any way to get everything with a single purchase, which some super-fans find pretty frustrating. It also appears that PlayStation gamers will get some form of exclusive bonus content that won’t be available on Xbox, but neither Rockstar nor Sony have released any details. Stay tuned on that front.

I’ll also be curious to hear about things like multiplayer and any plans for post-launch content. The original Red Dead Redemption featured a multiplayer mode that let you get into shootouts with your friends, and it looks like that’s the plan this time around as well, but we don’t know the full mechanics of how it will work. Just a hunch, but I’m guessing that it’ll include a fresh, Western spin on heists, a popular collaborative challenge from Grand Theft Auto 5’s multiplayer mode. 

Want more Red Dead Redemption 2? Head to GameSpot or Giant Bomb for in-depth coverage as the game’s release draws near.

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