What a week for video games, am I right? Yesterday saw not only the unveiling of the Nintendo Switch, which is super exciting, but also the release of the first official trailer for Red Dead Redemption II, which you can see below.
It. Looks. Amazing. Granted I’m biased towards any Red Dead game and Rockstar in general, but it really does look breathtaking. All the staples from the original–well… more on that later–game are there: you’ve got hunting, horse riding, the small-town settings, and the cattle drives. It all looks very similar to Red Dead Redemption.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, right? I mean Red Dead Redemption still goes down in my book as one of, if not the greatest video game of all time. The graphics look fantastic, at least in some parts of the trailer. The very last shot where the seven … heroes? I’m assuming? ride off into the desert with grass and dirt flying all around them. The grass in that shot looks interesting, that’s a good word for it. Compared to the rest of the trailer, the grass and dirt look gritty and under-rendered. But it’s just a trailer, so they’ve got some time to polish it. It’s still not slated to release for another year, and if I know anything about video games, it’ll be pushed back 14 times into summer of 2018.
Like I said earlier, it really looks like they took a lot of great things from Red Dead Redemption and used them in this title. But what about the original?
Red Dead Revolver was released in 2004 to much critical acclaim. It focused around Red, a man who’d witnessed his family’s murder as a young boy and vowed to take vengeance on the men who killed them. You also were able to play as other characters: Jack Swift who could empty his entire gun into an enemy, a buffalo soldier having to protect his stagecoach from oncoming enemies, and many others. I think this was an inspiration for Grand Theft Auto V‘s character switching ability where the player can easily switch between Michael, Trevor, and Franklin with the push of a button. Main story missions revolve around this concept, too. Each character has their own stories that contribute to the overall plot.
Sure enough, what do we see in the trailer for Red Dead Redemption II? Seven characters appear on the title screen, and seven characters are seen riding off into the sunset at the end of the trailer. Could Rockstar be adding this character switch feature into the latest installment in the Red Dead series? God I hope so.
This feature existed somewhat in the first Red Dead Redemption. As we all know (SPOILERS AHEAD), John Marston is torn down in a hail of gunfire at the end of the game. Then the screen goes black and the credits begin to roll. We believe this to be the end of the game, but not so fast. The game fades back in to a shot of Jack, John’s son, mourning his mother and father at their graves on the family farm. He gets up, and poof, we’re now playing as Jack.
This was great, even if Jack was a whiny little kid who wasn’t nearly as bad ass as his father, but I’m really hoping for some more fluid character switching in Red Dead Redemption II, possibly between all seven of the characters seen on the title card.
The map has been released as well. Or, at least we think it has. As you can see, it’s divided up similarly to Red Dead Redemption. You’ve got your mountain areas, your swamps, your deserts, and your big city. But just imagine how humongous this map is going to actually be in game.
GTA V was huge, and it’s been almost four years since its release. It was also using last-gen technology to create it’s playable area. GTA V pushed the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 to their limits, so I can only imagine what the guys over at Rockstar are planning for Red Dead Redemption II.
Regardless of what happens over the next year, I know I’ll be getting this game. I still regard both of its predecessors as some of the greatest games ever made. I still have memories of finishing off the final gunfight in Red Dead Revolver, being so excited that I’d fulfilled my purpose and avenged my family. I sat outside in front of Gamestop for 4 hours waiting in line for Red Dead Redemption in the freezing cold, huddling with my now fiancée, then girlfriend, for warmth. I dropped her off after getting my copy, went home, popped in the disc, and played until the sun came up. I can’t wait to make some more of those memories next fall.