As I scan through my neatly curated stories from the magical land of the internet my eyes are drawn to something. It’s something I’ve not thought about for a while but I suddenly remember how important it is to me. “New red dead redemption 2 game-play trailer coming tomorrow” reads the title and in a heartbeat I am sweating like a fat man impatiently waiting for his fix of Mcobesity with a side of depression. I take note of the time its coming out and prepare myself for a sleepless night of anxiety and hopes.
This is not the first free roam RPG we’ve seen this year, especially since the E3 smattering of them being force fed to us in a feeding frenzy of one-upmanship from the major developers. It was noted at the time that there was no showing from Rockstar at E3, though this is not unusual for them, it was actually a very good move this time. With Bethesda, Ubisoft, Naughty Dog and Sucker Punch all putting there best foot forward, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there’s almost too much choice for us Loner RPG whores who just live for the grind. Now that the hype for those games has died down, Rockstar has everyone’s full attention on the sequel to their 2010 smash hit.
So the time comes for me to fanboy all over Rockstars new creation, and a live youtube video is started with a half hour countdown to the worldwide release of the new game-play trailer. This ladies and Gentleman is the Hype beast that we as consumers have created. A half hour countdown for a six minute video, and you know what? i’m actually totally cool with it.
Lets get Hyped!
The video starts in a generic old western jail cell and the sound of a cackling deputy saying that your gonna hang, what for we don’t know but the scene is immediately interrupted by an explosion from the wall inside the cell reveals a rescue attempt from fellow gang members. We are instantly treated to a beautifully narrated explanation of the world the game is set in. Now there are a few things to pay attention to here. firstly they talk about new immigrants arriving to the frontier, though this could be nothing more than an indication of the variety in the voice cast, I feel like this could be a way that they can introduce a faction system among ethnic groups or towns, even gangs. They also hit home on the point of this game being deeper and more interactive than ever, overall they paint a very ambitious picture here with a clear goal of the world being as deeply constructed as possible.
We know that rockstar have the chops to pull this off, a thorough bred with this type of game their last outing GTAV became the most profitable single piece of entertainment ever. To mention that it’s been 5 years since that game came out, and a total of 8 years since the smash hit original Red dead redemption, makes one realise that they have been working on this for a very long time now, so its no surprise that they’ve thrown in everything plus the kitchen sink with a little bit of new age ingenuity as well.
At this point I would like to point out just exactly how beautiful everything looks. Every single scene and visual looks incredible and smoother than a hot knife in a stick of butter (oo er). Though it is a console only release (at the moment) it is not a stretch to imagine that you would need the latest version of the consoles to fully take advantage of the 4k visuals.
To gem-play or not to game-play.
The trailer doesn’t seem to focus much on specific mechanics but rather introduces us to a wide range of non-story activities that we can engage in. We see that game-play will take place in a variety of locations including forests, deserts and swamps, with the host of wildlife expected in these regions ready to kill at the first wrong step. So far that alligator probably looks like the most dangerous thing in the wild and is probably gonna cause some rage quits (RPG etiquette #8: Save often!). On the urban side we see outposts, farms and modernizing towns with big electric signs, showing a real progression in timeline from the first game.
Finally they introduce a rather defining factor in the way you play the game, Basecamps! There’s plenty to see and do here, from poker minigames, hunting for food and supplies to freindly chit chat with other gang members to reveal new secret locations and the standard side quests. There’s a lot to speculate about here, but nothing solid on any social economy resulting from these game-play activities.
The art of constantly talking without really saying anything
As much as we can back and forth about what all these things mean for the game as a whole, the key message here is one we’ve heard a thousand times before: Play it your way. The narration is heavy on driving home the point of how deep social interaction is in this game. You can casually chat up a passer by with a wave and a howdy do, you can come across a man looting a body and have the choice to interfere or simply leave him be, save people in the wild, talk your way out of trouble or even into it. All these things determine how people interact with you in the rest of the game, Kill someones family member and their family will hate you and wish you dead.
Overall, first impressions are good. There is a huge depth of social mechanics and some hints to other aspects of gameplay. This was only the first in a series of videos to come though. In the next game-play video we can expect to see more information on missions, activities, enemy gangs, robberies and much more including the reveal of an overhauled deadeye system. Check out the full video below and let us know what you think.