Rockstar’s next installment of Grand Theft Horse
Developer: Rockstar Studios (San Diego)
Will be available on: (So far announced) Xbox One, PS4
Scheduled Release Date: October 26th 2018
Now that’s out the way, watch the hot new trailer here.
“All of you venerate savagery, and now you will die, savagely.”
561 days ago, back on 18th October 2016, Rockstar posted the simple image below to all of their social media platforms.
In reality, it’s a silhouette of seven vaguely cowboy-shaped characters walking away from a sunset with guns and hats on show. And yet every single person who’s ever touched a PS3 or an Xbox 360 controller knew what it meant. Six years after the release of Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar had finally decided to throw a bone to their adoring fans. Red Dead Redemption 2 was on the blurry orange horizon. The long-awaited trailer dropped a couple of days later, and since then the studio have been drip-feeding information and trailers like the cruellest drug dealers in the gaming industry.
Talking in a completely unbiased and objective capacity, Red Dead Redemption was a slice of western perfection in the golden age of console gaming. It whole-heartedly deserves it’s MetaCritic rating of 95/100 and its countless Game of The Year awards. Not just for the brilliant story with plenty of action and plot twists, but the multiplayer as well. Back when I was playing this game I was around 15 or 16, and nearly every night there’d be a decent crew of us online holding out in Mexican forts. Anyway, I digress. I’m here to talk about Red Dead Redemption 2, not its forebearer.
In the year 1899, a full twelve years before the events of Red Dead Redemption, the wild west was getting its first taste of civilisation and technology. This is a running theme in the first game (and the even older, oft-forgotten Red Dead Revolver), but by 1911 the great outlaw gangs and ruthless landscape were all but gone. This time around, the story will be right on the frontier as all the new-fangled engineering is first introduced, driving out the
“This whole thing is pretty much done. We’re more ghosts than people.”
Morgan, fresh protagonist and most likely anti-hero, is feeling the changes coming to the West full force. The game will follow him and his gang as they desperately try to survive in the years where outlaws and gunslingers were hunted down by the hundreds. The well-moustached bandit Dutch Van Der Linde is not only a main antagonist in the first game, he’s the pack leader in this one. He’ll be featuring pretty primarily, as will the other members of the Van Der Linde gang. Great names like Bill Williamson, Javier Escuella and of course John Marston – who would later go on to kill the whole lot of them ten years on. All of them except our main man Arthur Morgan of course, who must have been backpacking during the events of RD1.
In this very character-heavy trailer, we see a lot of men having tense conversations at each other. We see some ominous white text on black backgrounds, explaining that the west is being tamed and essentially setting up the pace and mood for the game. And just as I’m thinking ‘I hope this game doesn’t take itself too seriously’, three masked outlaws kick in a bank door and point their guns in the air. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, this is a robbery!’ Arthur yells out, in case any of the civilians there assumed they were visiting to balance their cheque-books. And there’s some horses kicking up dust as their riders chase down and shoot at a speeding train. Dutch then talks about fire quite a lot, and we’re shown a town at night with its church burning merrily, outlaws circling on the hillside like vultures.
Some people like to pick apart and find meaning in every tiny detail, face, doorway and belt buckle in trailers for highly anticipated games like this one. I personally don’t like to read or watch that kind of speculation, since I’d much rather play the game blind and discover all the juicy western plot for myself. What I will say though is that I’m trying to get some feel for Mr Morgan, because I’m worried about him.
Other than this fucking cool line, he seems like a bit of dullard. I’m sure it’s not his fault, but Arthur is a definite safe bet by Rockstar. He’s a rugged, handsome, white american cowboy with a cool southern accent and a jaw like a breezeblock. 50% of video game protagonists are white men with brown hair, so I’m struggling to imagine that playing from this guy’s perspective is going to inspire and entertain me as much as it did following the exploits of John Marston.
Sure, he was also a white american male with brown hair (And some rad facial scars to boot) but he had a fantastic motivation. His family were kidnapped by the FBI so they could force him into hunting down his former associates. This was all punishment for Marston’s involvement and generally being a bastard all his life, that’s why it’s called Red Dead Redemption. What’s going to be Arthur’s motivation, seeing as this is at the height of his bastarding career? He wants to earn as much cash as possible? Preserve his right to carry a gun and shoot whoever annoys him? Win the prestiguous ‘Bastard of the Year’ Award?
To be fair to Rockstar, I shouldn’t bash too much. After all, GTA V’s protagonists all start the game with the simple linear goal of ‘making bank’ – and by the end of it, they’re fighting to survive against crooked FBI agents (A theme with Rockstar games, apparently), criminal organisations, and their own inner demons. This, however, is down to the interesting characteristics and history between the game’s three main protagonists. I’m hoping there’s enough story and charisma behind Arthur and the Van Der Linde gang to make me root for them.
As the trailers so far have highlighted mainly the characters and the sexy cowboy action in the game, so am I. I could try and discuss the game’s location, the actual synopsis, the gameplay, the length, the price, the multiplayer… But up until now, I’ve heard very little about all these other important things. If Rockstar want to show off their array of characters, that’s what I’m going to notice. The rest of it will come in time, I’m sure.
All in all, though, I am ridiculously excited. I don’t think anything could change that. Considering that Red Dead was a big part of my adolescent years, and I just plain loved galloping through endless fields with only a Winchester rifle strapped to my back, it’s hard not to get excited. I just hope that nostalgia and excitement doesn’t build up my expectations too much and I’m left disappointed, controller in hand as I cry in to my stetson and slowly whisper yee-haw.
To find some more information, watch all the trailers and pre-order the game, visit Rockstar’s site here!