The release of Red Dead Redemption 2 is officially less than a month away, and if you’re anything like me, you’re absolutely drowning in hype. Rockstar is drip feeding us screenshots and info (and t-shirts), dangling that second gameplay video just out of our reach. So, for now, we figured we would round up the info we have so far.
Now, it should be noted that we will not, by any means, be discussing everything that is available. This article would turn into a book. However, we can definitely hit some of the major points. It should also be noted that this information is either being pulled from Rockstar Games directly or from gameplay previews that some media outlets have released. Everything is subject to change.
Red Dead Redemption 2, a prequel to Red Dead Redemption, is the story of Arthur Morgan, a member of the notorious Van der Linde Gang and Dutch van der Linde’s right-hand man. After a botched bank robbery in 1899, the gang flees into the mountains and struggles to stay together as morals are challenged and loyalty is tested.
While Arthur is a brand new character, many characters from Red Dead Redemption will be returning. Those include Red Dead 1 protagonist John Marston, as well as antagonists Dutch van der Linde, Bill Williamson, and Javier Escuella. Other returning characters include Abigail Marston (though it looks like she’ll be sporting her maiden name, Roberts, in Red Dead 2), Jack Marston, and Uncle. Josiah Trelawny could be a returning character as well, but that’s a conspiracy theory for another day.
New characters include Lenny Summers, Leopold Strauss, Reverend Swanson, Karen Jones, Mary-Beth Gaskill, Tilly Jackson, Micah Bell, Pearson, Charles Smith, Hosea Matthews, Sean Macguire, Sadie Adler, Susan Grimshaw, and Molly O’Shea.
We know that the game will begin in 1899 and will span a number of years, but the exact span is still unknown. Confirmed locations include the return of West Elizabeth and New Austin from the first game, as well as the new regions of New Hanover, Ambarino, and Lemoyne.
Returning from Red Dead 1, in West Elizabeth, we will see areas like the great plains and the industrialized town of Blackwater, as well as Big Valley and the small logging town of Strawberry.
It is unknown how much of New Austin will be returning in Red Dead Redemption 2, but it would definitely be cool to see Tumbleweed back in its heyday.
In New Hanover, we will see places like the mining town of Annesburg and the rough-and-tumble town of Valentine.
Here we will find The Grizzlies mountain range and and the snow-covered Mount Hagan.
Lemoyne is one of the more interesting locations, featuring Bayou Nwa with the remote swamp town of Lagras, as well as the modernized city of Saint Denis. Lemoyne will also contain the Southern town of Rhodes.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is an open-world action game, playable from either a third or first-person perspective. You’ll be shooting, punching, robbing, drinking, and just living an all-around nefarious lifestyle.
Not only will you be able to shoot bad guys with improved shooting mechanics, you’ll actually have to take care of your guns too. Each gun has stats, and those stats will decrease over time or if they get wet. You will have to clean them to restore their stats. Guns will also be customizable, but the depth of which is still unknown.
Character customization appears to be deeper than any previous Rockstar title. You can choose individual clothing items and layer them on top of each other. Some items will have contextual options as well, like rolling up your sleeves or tucking your pants into your boots.
Clothing won’t just be cosmetic, either. In colder climates you will have to layer your clothes and keep warm. It hotter climates, you will have to dress lighter. If you aren’t dressed properly, Arthur will experience hardships like his health not regenerating as quickly or not being able to sprint as far.
Arthur’s hair is also customizable with a level of realism that isn’t often seen in modern gaming. Rather than choosing from a list of available hairstyles and beards, you have to wait for Arthur’s hair to grow out and then you can trim it down to the style you want. Customization is reductive only, like in real life.
Arthur also has a system of stats that can be improved over time, such as stamina and strength. These stats can be affected by physical activity as well as eating (insert Big Smoke’s Cluckin’ Bell order meme). Yup, just like CJ, Arthur needs to eat and can gain and lose weight accordingly.
Your horse plays a pretty integral role in Red Dead Redemption 2. Not only will it be your primary mode of transportation, it will also carry most of your gear. You will need to take care of your horse to build a bond with it. As your bond with your horse grows, so will its stats. It will become more reliable and will spook less easily.
However, if your horse dies, it dies for good. That means that not only will you lose whatever gear you had on your horse, but you will lose the bond you had built and will have to start all over with a new horse.
Rockstar seems to have put a big emphasis on blurring the lines between scripted story-related moments and dynamic, random moments. There is a new contextual menu, accessed by pressing the button used to aim while your gun is holstered, that allows you to interact with pieces of the environment and nearby NPCs.
Using this contextual menu, you can greet or antagonize civilians. You can talk your way out of trouble with an enemy. You can intimidate a witness into not reporting the crime they saw you commit. You can fire warning shots into the air. You can brush your horse. You can interact with the world in numerous ways.
Red Dead Online
The highly anticipated multiplayer mode to Red Dead Redemption 2 was recently announced, with a beta launching a month after the base game releases. There isn’t much info on Red Dead Online yet, but we can assume to see a similar formula to GTA Online.
I could go on and on about this game. I could talk about the impeccable graphics, like the mud and snow physics, dynamic lighting, and independently-modeled clothing. I could go into theories about the story and characters, like why Arthur doesn’t appear in Red Dead Redemption. I could even discuss the similarities to the real world, like the Pinkerton agents. There just isn’t enough time in the day to talk about it all, and there is still much to be revealed.
Red Dead Redemption 2 releases on October 26th, 2018, for the PS4 and Xbox One. It has yet to be announced for PC, but our fingers are crossed.