Update: The Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer has arrived. Stop whatever you're doing and watch this, right now:
Red Dead Rewind: RDR 2 trailer breakdown
Showing a sweeping, epic old western landscape, it teases everything from riding out with a fully loaded posse to camping out under the stars, to going for a paddle in a kayak to slinging the spoils of a successful hunting trip over the back of your mule.
The Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer kicks off with a lone rider breaching the horizon, the sun setting over a field of long grass. It then cuts away to a lush green plain, inhabited by deer with a mountain in the background. From the looks of things, Red Dead Redemption 2 is going to have some very varied locations to explore - and plenty of animals to hunt.
Sticking close to its "spaghetti western" heritage, we then cut to a steer's long-horned skull, pinned against a wheat field's fence.
A campsite sat under the stars, with glowing embers, suggests Rockstar has also put a bit more effort into the camping mechanic from the first game - remember, in Red Dead Redemption, you awkwardly had to find a perfectly flat stretch of land to bed down on.
We then see an armed man walking through a wheat field with his steed, which has had a dead animal slung over its back. It may be an NPC, but there's the suggestion that you'll be able to share your inventory load across with your horse of choice.
The next scene shows a pair paddling down a river in a canoe. You couldn't even swim in the first open world Red Dead - could we even get the chance for some boat-bound fishing here?
A railway line appears next with a steam train cutting through a herd of buffalo. Jumping aboard a train for a western-style robbery was a great element of the last Red Dead, so hopefully that's returning, and it's good to see the Rockstar taking advantage of the tech that allowed it so believably to create herds the first time around, too. Some more cattle and buffalo rustling might be on the cards.
Some people took the appearance of the Buffalo as evidence that the game would be a prequel.
Red Dead Redemption took place in 1911.The buffalo was almost extinct by 1900. No way you would see a herd like that around trains.October 20, 2016
Heading into town, there's a sighting of a stagecoach, a general store for trading, and some thoroughly destitute characters stalking the streets. It's here that you get a sense of just how detailed a world Rockstar is building - from carrion-eating vultures to mud soaked bags of produce, this looks very much like a living, breathing, reactive world.
With a nod to masterpiece flick "There Will Be Blood", we're also given a glimpse of oil fields on fire, showing how even the man-made elements of the environment may well be hazardous to players.
And, with a final flourish, we catch sight of a "magnificent seven" gang of riders, galloping off into the distance. From early artwork reveals to Rockstar's own DLC heritage on GTA IV, the developers are obsessed with gang mechanics. It's probably a safe bet that, when riding out on the open plains, whether in single player or online, you'll be doing it with a posse by your side.
What it doesn't share much of is the game's storyline, with no sign yet of Red Dead Redemption's John Marston or family.
Read on for everything else we've learnt so far.
Red Dead Retweets
Red Dead Redemption 2 was officially confirmed earlier this week with a Fall 2017 release date set in stone by the trailer.
The game, which Rockstar is calling "an epic tale of life in America's unforgiving heartland", will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. As well as a main storyline, the game's world will be used as the foundation for an online multiplayer experience.
Just a few months after the original 2010 Western wandered onto Xbox One via backwards compatibility, Rockstar is returning to the Red Dead universe.
- Rockstar's social media teases look as Red Dead as it gets
pic.twitter.com/BklXMlZ0UQOctober 16, 2016
After breaking over 100,000 retweets on Twitter in the course of a day, Rockstar made a second tease - this time showing seven silhouetted figures against a steeped, painted sun on a red backdrop.
pic.twitter.com/iuwxwyL2cXOctober 17, 2016
Not satisfied with almost breaking the collective mind of the internet two days in a row, Rockstar has dropped a third tweet confirming that, yes, it was teasing Red Dead Redemption 2. The retweeting frenzy commenced.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2Coming Fall 2017#RDR2https://t.co/ZacUJ48wvE pic.twitter.com/lffZvn42pROctober 18, 2016
Red Dead DLC
The game's barely even been revealed, but we already know that Red Redemption DLC will land, at least for its online multiplayer component.
Immediately after the first trailer was revealed, Sony announced that it's nailed down an exclusive partnership with Rockstar which will see its PlayStation 4 gamers get "get first access to earn select online content" when the game launches.
Red Dead Redemption had some stellar DLC attached to it, both in the shape of online multiplayer packs and the amazing, zombie-infested Undead Nightmare add-on. It recast the wild west as a backdrop for a historical zombie apocalypse, and is regarded as one of the finest DLC packs of all time. It'd be great to see Rockstar put similar effort in again here.
Not a Red Dead Redux
- A sequel or a prequel?
Even after the first trailer, it's not entirely clear whether Red Dead Redemption 2 will be a sequel or a prequel, or whether it will feature the return of John Marston at all.
The trailer confirms that it's a full-blown follow up rather than a HD remaster but not much else than that. The series has thus far avoided numerals at the end of their names (yes, we didn't forget about Red Dead Revolver) so it's surprising that we're seeing a solid '2' attached to this title.
The seven outlaws in the picture revealed by Rockstar does seem connected to the gang Marston references in the first game which could point to a prequel. It could, however, just as easily point to a sequel which sees a new gang of free sprits united to stave off the end of the Wild West. Let's not forget the classic "Magnificent Seven" cowboy flick, of course.
Red Dead Re-map-tion
- A leaked map points to locations both new and familiar
- The game's map will be the foundation for an online multiplayer world
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.
Red Dead pRequel
Adding to the theory that the game will be a prequel is the fact that the plot and themes of Red Dead Redemption alluded to the end of the Wild West.
Redemption's protagonist, John Marston, represented the last of the Lone Rider-types that would become phased out by modern politics, industry, and transportation, making a sequel possible but thematically unlikely.
The fact that the official picture revealed by Rockstar shows what looks like Marston flanked by what could very well be the gang of outlaws he references in the first game makes it all the more likely we're seeing a prequel rather than a sequel.
We just hope the protagonist can swim with all that water around - poor ol' Mr. Marston sank like a stone in anything deeper than knee-high water in Redemption.