"My name is John Marston." It has been six darn tooting years since Red Dead Redemption was released. Rumours, speculation and E3 have fuelled the fires of conjecture, but we are still yet to hear anything official from Rockstar regarding the next Red Dead Redemption in line.
Anticipation levels surrounding Red Dead Redemption 2 (3?) have been exceptionally high and for good reason. 2010's frontier-set masterpiece gave us a breathtakingly immersive experience that seldom comes from such a large, open world game. The world in which we slung our guns was full of believable plot lines and endearing personalities. The narrative led players down an emotional rollercoaster which delivered on every conceivable level.
The GTA series is another one of Rockstar's most celebrated creations. GTA V in particular has been a resounding success. However, as good as GTA has been for Rockstar, Red Dead Redemption is still considered to be the crowning jewel in the studio's crown.
Sure, there is no official reveal as of yet coming from Rockstar, but going on what we already know about the Red Dead game, here are five sure fire ways that Red Dead Redemption 2 will better GTA V.
5. A rewarding online experience
GTA Online is on the whole a fun place to be, though it's not without its downsides: long load times, repetitive game modes and expensive in game items brings the experience crashing back down into the mediocre. Don’t get me wrong, GTA Online is fun and does have plenty of mini-games (in certain areas), but RDR could take this so much further.
Red Dead Redemption, well, that was just perfect right? Players loved the open world exploration element and the prospect of running into rival gangs made the deal all the more fruitful. You could say that RDR was the prototype for GTA Online, which is now what we want for the next RDR.
For the next RDR Rockstar could take from the GTA V heist system and incorporate it into Red Dead. Team based heist missions, hijacking trains, holding up stage coaches and busting fellow gang members out of jail is certainly an online tune we can all dance to.
There are plenty more options available to the studio to allow for a far greater scope for online gaming. Aside from the heists, players could potentially have access to a variety of mini-games; whether that is cards in the saloon, shooting range competitions, hustling matches, horse rally, to engaging in bar fight shenanigans – the list is endless.
4. A world worthy of Exploration
GTA V and RDR are both pretty huge games – there are certainly large enough areas for players to explore. But with a large map comes the crucial need to fill it with engaging content. GTA V is large but aside from some pretty cool Easter Eggs I soon became bored of the exploration. NPCs in GTA were also a bit on the stingy side – out of the main city there was barely anyone to talk to or to interact with.
In RDR the world was full of interaction, NPCs were everywhere – whether you just wanted a chat or wanted a bit of action (duelling *cough*) the option to interact with the citizens that populated the world was always there.
The next RDR needs even more NPCs, more mini-games and just as many awesome Easter Eggs as GTA V. GTA V was also the first in the series to introduce first person mode. If the next RDR could introduce this to the gameplay it would make for a beautiful experience – imagine seeing the Wild West through the eyes of our protagonist.
Unlike GTA, Rockstar do not need to waste time and valuable computing power on things like traffic, skyscrapers, planes and rocket launchers. This time they will be able to focus on game fidelity. GTA V looks stunning, just imagine what they will be able to do now with RDR 2. Towering mountain ranges, beautiful red stone cliffs, idyllic lakes and rivers – the next RDR has no excuse to be anything less than heavenly.
3. An engaging protagonist
John Marston is probably the coolest gun slinger ever. Brilliantly depicted both through voice and visuals. A character with a chequered past that transforms in front of our eyes, John Marston is a video game protagonist we all fell for.
John Marston is not your average Wild West gunslinger. He is a man with morals and a conscience. One of the main reasons we fell for John is the fact that he takes no pleasure in taking life, he takes only what he has to. Fighting for the love and protection of his family is one of the most endearing things ever.
GTA does not have a lovable, or even likeable, protagonist. The closest we came to a likeable character was CJ Johnson and that was more of a new found respect over love. Nothing about GTA’s character line-up draws the player into the moment like RDR does. Maybe that was Rockstar's intention, it does play on the satirical more than RDR I guess, but I need immersion in games.
I love getting lost in another world and getting caught up in an alternate life – this, RDR offered me in spades. For ‘f*** it fun,’ GTA was great but not engaging.
Where to take Marston next? Personally, the best option for Rockstar is a prequel. This way we will either be able to play as Marston during his more gung-ho days or at least come across the legendary outlaw at some point. This way, we will be able to flesh out the legend of John Marston and witness firsthand the development of this brilliant character.
2. In game personalities you love and despise
I think we can all agree that RDR has one of the best bad guys known to gaming. Edgar Ross was an evil SOB that was universally hated by millions. The brilliance of this character's creation is beyond descriptive capacity. He made us hate him, his personality fuelled our hatred and made us want to play – we simply had to take him down. For a character to pull a player through a 30 hour narrative (which was also great) is something very special indeed.
RDR is littered with lovable characters, from grave digger Seth to the smooth-talking gunman Abraham Reyes. The game backed up a great narrative with lovable and despicable characters. Red Dead was a salty and sweet portrayal of adventure – two contradictory elements coming together to enhance the outcome.
Trevor is by far the most diverse character, and by that I mean dimensional but again he’s not likeable – he’s lovable for the most obscene reasons which is the closest GTA V comes to RDR.
The Next RDR needs to incorporate this interactive character element into the next edition. This way, each side quest is worthy of completion. GTA V has a fair bit of recycled quests from unlikable characters which makes the game all the more depressing when playing through it. In RDR, what may seem a repetitive rustle is made all the easier by the character interaction that comes with it. More of this please, Rockstar.
1. Multiple playable protagonists
GTA V had a revolutionary multi-character select feature which absolutely needs to make its way to the new RDR. This mechanic would bust the in-game potential wide open – for example, players would potentially be able to take on the roles of an outlaw and a lawman at the same time.
This would provide the player with a multitude of common enemies where players would be able to act accordingly to meet their own needs. This would, however, eventually end in a groundbreaking confrontation between the two characters. Players would then have to decide which side to choose and say goodbye to a character that you have developed over the course of the game. Tough stuff, but genius!