Red Dead Redemption 2 release date, news and rumors

Update: While you may think you can analyse a trailer, you can't analyse a trailer quite like DigitalFoundry. The site has recently analysed the game's new trailer and tech upgrades that it gives us an insight into.

Red Dead Redemption 2 will be the first Rockstar game to utilize the developer's new upgraded in-house RAGE engine and DigitalFoundry has picked apart which sections of the trailer are likely to be in-game footage as well as break down the lighting and textures. 

According to DigitalFoundry, this appears to be "the actual game code in motion, specifically because familiar rendering techniques present in GTA5 and even the original Red Dead Redemption are in place."

The trailer runs at native 1080p and is likely to be representative of what players will see on a standard console. Given that Xbox One X and PS4 Pro support is likely and the RAGE engine runs in HDR internally we imagine the 4K consoles will offer visual improvements.

DigitalFoundry posits that in this trailer view distances look better than those in GTA 5 and the original Red Dead Redemption with improved texture resolution and lighting fidelity. 

Character rendering in particular is being marked out for its improvement over any other Rockstar title. The characters in the new trailer are "remarkably detailed with excellent skin shading, realistic facial animation, smoothly rendered hair and eerily realistic eyes" and the facial capture is stand out. 

You can watch the full video analysis here and read more about what we know about the game below.

Original article continues below...

With so many great games being announced every day, it's not that frequent any more that we see the kind of clamoring excitement that accompanied the announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2. 

Teased and announced with perfect pacing on the part of Rockstar, the game will be the developer's third set in the Wild West and its first release since Grand Theft Auto 5 in 2013. To say Rockstar fans are waiting with bated breath is an understatement.

Though the game isn't due to be released until Spring 2018, news and rumors are circulating and we've gathered everything you need to know right here. 

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The sequel to the Wild West Rockstar hit, Red Dead Redemption
  • When can I play it? Spring 2018
  • What can I play it on? PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been confirmed so far

Trailers and screenshots

The first trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 which was released shortly after the game's announcement. It doesn't reveal much other than that we're going to be returning to the Wild West. The game locations in the trailer are diverse and beautiful and it looks highly likely that the game will be open world. 

The game's second trailer came on September 28, after Rockstar teased some new information would be coming in a tweet earlier that week. This time around we got to see a bit more about the game, including a glimpse of its new protagonist Arthur Morgan.

Watch the trailer for yourself below and take a gander at all the screenshots we've collected as well as see some of the new theories this trailer has dragged up:

Screenshots

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Screenshots

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Release date

We thought we'd have Red Dead Redemption 2 in our stockings come Holiday 2017, but it turns out that may have been a bit preemptive on our part. 

According to a blog post on the publisher's website, we'll be waiting until Spring of 2018 to saddle up for Rockstar Games' next epic western:

"Red Dead Redemption 2 is now set to launch Spring 2018 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This outlaw epic set across the vast and unforgiving American heartland will be the first Rockstar game created from the ground up for the latest generation of console hardware, and some extra time is necessary to ensure that we can deliver the best experience possible for our fans ... We are very sorry for any disappointment this delay causes, but we are firm believers in delivering a game only when it is ready."

News and features

We have very little in the way of solid facts when it comes to Red Dead Redemption 2 but what has been confirmed by Rockstar can be found below.

There's a new protagonist

John Marston is no more. Red Dead Redemption 2 brings players a brand new protagonist called Arthur Morgan and the game will follow this outlaw and the Van der Linde gang as they rob and fight their way across America. 

Dutch is back

The main antagonist from Red Dead Redemption showed his face in this game's second trailer which confirms he'll be back. Whether or not he'll be the same antagonistic force is unclear but we think it's highly unlikely he's going to be a force for good.

It'll have an open world

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a sequel to an open world game and it's being developed by Rockstar so this isn't exactly surprising information. Though Red Dead Revolver was a more linear affair, it was apparent that Rockstar was moving away from this with its spiritual successor Red Dead Redemption and we imagine this trend will continue. 

On the game's site, Rockstar has called the game world "vast and atmospheric" and the trailer certainly backs up this claim. 

The environments shown in the trailer are diverse and stunning and we imagine that as before you'll be able to traverse them on foot, horseback and perhaps even by rail at your own pace. 

It'll have single and multiplayer

As you'd expect of a Rockstar game, Red Dead Redemption 2's vast open game world will be the backdrop to a thrilling single-player campaign. 

Though the first game followed the story of one man, we're not sure whether that will be the case with Red Dead Redemption 2. The game's trailer shows 7 figures on horseback which does suggest there could be multiple stories weaving together here like Rockstar did with Grand Theft Auto 5. We'll just have to wait to find out if this is the case.

One similarity we do know Red Dead Redemption 2 will have to Grand Theft Auto 5 is its huge online multiplayer world and it could be this element of the game that the 7 cowboys on horseback imagery is referring to. 

On the game's website, Rockstar has stated that the world of the single player campaign will "also provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience." 

Considering Grand Theft Auto 5's online world is still growing and thriving 4 years after the game's initial release this is an exciting prospect. We imagine the cooperative missions that involve heists, races, gangs and money making will transfer neatly over to the Wild West world of Red Dead Redemption 2. 

PlayStation 4 players will get early access to some online content

Thanks to a partnership between PlayStation and Rockstar, PlayStation 4 owners will get early access to some of the game's online content. In a post on the official PlayStation Blog where the announcement was made it wasn't clear what the online content would be, however it was promised that more details would be revealed soon. 

Rumors and what we want to see

Considering solid facts on the game are pretty thin on the ground, speculation and rumors are understandably rife, with most of the basis for guessing at possible features coming from the game's two trailers.

It could be a prequel or sequel

Red Dead Redemption 2 will have a brand new protagonist called Arthur Morgan which puts John Marston out of the picture. 

It was the appearance of Red Dead Redemption antagonist, Dutch Van der Linde, in the second trailer for this game, however, that made fans think it could very well be a prequel. Dutch looks much younger and more fresh in the trailer which gives this pre-Red Dead Redemption theory credence. 

That said, others have pointed out some anachronistic background details from the trailer which throw the prequel nature of the story into question. First up is a telephone which appears in an office scene of the trailer. This phone has a design which would have been in use long after 1890. However, a train which appears later in the trailer is being pointed out as being from a much earlier time than this.

Red Dead Redemption is largely set in 1911, so all of these details taken together suggest that Red Dead Redemption 2 could actually have a very long timeline which begins before John Marston's Red Dead Redemption and then runs concurrent to it, perhaps starring multiple characters.

However, it could also be a prequel that just doesn't stretch too far back in time – it's also being rumored that the game is set only 5 years before the previous game around 1906 which would make a great deal of sense. 

Bows and arrows and dual wielding weapons 

In the game's second trailer we see protagonist Morgan wielding a bow and arrow as well as simultaneously firing two revolvers. This suggests combat mechanics have advanced significantly from the previous game. 

Bow and arrows were actually a weapon option in Red Dead Revolver before being nixed in Red Dead Redemption. Since then, fans have been crying out for their return and the trailer certainly seems to show that's happening. 

Out on the water

You couldn't even swim in Red Dead Redemption but a glimpse of a character out on the open water in a kayak in the trailer for the sequel has people wondering if you'll be able to travel across water or maybe even swim this time around. It'd certainly make an already sure to be large game world even larger. 

More animals than ever 

The game's second trailers shows in no uncertain terms that bears are back. But this time they're being joined by crocodiles. This makes the surrounding game world significantly more dangerous and although we like to see as much wildlife as possible, we're not looking forward to being taken by surprise by a crocodile in a swamp. 

Sharing the load

A scene of a character walking alongside a mule loaded up with equipment also has fans wondering if it'll be possible to share your inventory with your steed. We imagine this would work in a similar manner to sharing your inventory with your companion in games like Skyrim. 

Could this be the game's map?

Earlier this April, a map claiming to be the setting for the next Red Dead leaked on NeoGAF.

The biggest takeaways from the tentative topography was a slight move eastward from the arid plains of Red Dead Redemption, showing more marshy locations, islands, and even a mention of a bayou city called New Bordeaux - possibly a tie-in with the recently released, 2K-published Mafia III?

A source with insider knowledge did confirm to us that the map was legit, adding that the game plans to take place before the events of Red Dead Redemption.

However, it is still a leaked map from the internet, so checked expectations are always a smart move. 

Rockstar has revealed that the map of the game will be used as the foundation for building an online multiplayer world similar to that of Grand Theft Auto 5 so the incredible scale and diverse landscape suggested by this map would be suited to an online world. 

Keep checking back here for more Red Dead Redemption 2 news and rumors! We'll report everything as and when it's revealed.