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After much teasing, Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive have finally pulled back the curtain on Red Dead Redemption 2. Now that we know it's happening for realsies, that's got us thinking: What would we like to see out of a follow-up to one of last generation's biggest hits?
It may be hard to believe, but Red Dead Redemption came out a whopping six years ago. An instant classic, it was assumed a sequel would only be a matter of time in coming. It's probably safe to say that nobody expected quite so much time to pass, though.
Despite the slow-as-molasses pace, it looks like we'll finally be riding off into the sunset once again around this time next year. So now it's time to start thinking about what we'd like to see out of the next game in the Red Dead series. Here're our top five items for the "want" list.
A Wild West Gang
At the moment, we're still unsure as to whether or not Red Dead Redemption 2 is a follow-up to the most recent game or, as many have guessed based on the recently revealed images, a prequel. That certainly appears to be John Marston and his old gang moseying forward, but it could just as easily be a new cast of characters living life in the Wild West following the events of the first game.
Either way, this hints at the idea that our protagonist won't be flying solo quite so often this time around. While we'd probably rather stick to playing the same character in the campaign, it might be interesting to jump around a bit, playing chapters as the various members of your very own Magnificent Seven. Or, better yet, we know that Rockstar is looking to push the multiplayer options forward this time around and they just introduced biker gangs into Grand Theft Auto V. Wouldn't it be great if some sort of gang gameplay was present in the online world of Red Dead 2 from the onset? Or maybe some sort of class-based cooperative missions where players take on the role of various members of the gang?
Some of the best Westerns are all about forming a posse and kicking up some trouble as a group. We'd like to be able to do exactly that in Red Dead 2.
Ask anyone who has played the original Red Dead and they'll likely tell you that one of the game's biggest highlights was its protagonist, the anti-hero known as John Marston. The game had some pretty deep emotional hooks, which we believe came from getting to know Marston and his struggles, as well as his family and the way he interacted with strangers in need.
In other words, we're not so sure we want a "build your own character" mode for the main campaign, as that might take some of the gravity out of the story. Still, more customization would be a welcome addition to the game. Give players the ability to get more creative with what they wear, what their firearms look like, etc. and they'll grow even more attached to your main character.
Online, though, we say give everyone the chance to go wild with their characters. Heck, if we could have a bigger say in what our horses look like, and maybe even customize our own hideout, we'd be in cowboy heaven.
Deeper Hunting and Gathering
Red Dead Redemption did a pretty good job with the hunting and gathering, but we figure a few games have come along since 2010 that should give Rockstar an idea or two about how to make the experience of scavenging even more enjoyable. Give us more reasons to bring down wildlife and pick wild flowers and we'll be far more excited to jump off of our horse every few minutes to grab a handful of Desert Sage. Plug all of this stuff into those more robust customization options we were just talking about and we'd say you've got a recipe for success.
We'd actually take this a step further, too. The Witcher 3 gave us a pretty good idea of how to do hunting well in video games. While there's nothing wrong with having wild animals scampering across the landscape, it would be great if some additional mechanics were bolted on to make hunting important game animals feel more like, well, hunting. From tracking and baiting to following rumors and relying on a bit of patience, the bigger trophies should require a deeper process.
While Red Dead Redemption's online offerings were a fun distraction, we envision Rockstar taking things a bit further this time around. Again, it feels like they've learned a lot of neat tricks through Grand Theft Auto V's online mode, so figuring out how to make some of those great features apply to the Wild West shouldn't be too tricky.
What if Red Dead 2 had an online mode similar to, say, Destiny? Give players the full map and a whole new way to experience the game that's separate from the campaign. Maybe there are more missions you can grab on the fly. Could you party up for a cooperative prison break? What about big events that spawn randomly on the map, drawing in cowboys to take part in the fun?
We're all for standard game modes with a Western twist but, once the campaign is done, it would be great to have an online world that keeps drawing us back in for more.
A more practical request than a bucket list item for things we'd like to do in Red Dead Redemption 2, we'd love to see those controls get a fine-tuning before the new game ships next year. Rockstar's games have always controlled just south of your standard third-person action title, especially in the aiming department.
We want Red Dead Redemption 2 to be the kind of game you can become totally lost in, and having to fight with the controls every now and again certainly does a good job of mucking that up.