Some of our biggest expectations from Red Dead Redemption 2’s multiplayer component.
In the five years since its launch, Grand Theft Auto V has gone on to become one of the highest selling video games of all time, and it wouldn’t be unfair to assume that a lot of that is down to its multiplayer component, GTA Online. As Rockstar now looks to move from recreating the modern American dream to showcasing the old American frontier, lots of things are going to be very different- but many of them are going to be the same. Red Dead Redemption 2 is, of course, going to feature a vast, captivating story (or at least we hope it’ll be captivating), but it too is going to cater to multiplayer audiences with Red Dead Online. And though we can obviously expect that experience to be quite different from Rockstar’s other online offering, there are some similarities that we can expect to see regardless. Based on that, as well as what we’ve seen from Red Dead Redemption 2’s single player side of things, in this feature we’re going to talk about ten things that we want to see in Red Dead Online more than anything else. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Heists are a central mechanic in GTA Online, and based on everything we’ve seen so far, they’re going to be pretty important in Red Dead Redemption 2 as well. As such, it’s not that much of a stretch to assume that they’ll be in Red Dead Online as well. If anything, they’re an inevitability. What we’d like to see, though, is the ability to go into banks or trains with a group of players whenever we want, rather than just having them as scripted set piece moments or particular missions that we have to undertake. More than anything, that’d make perfect sense for the kind of setting Red Dead has.
Rockstar games always boast of some truly excellent mini games, and Red Dead Redemption probably tops that list as well. Dice, poker, horse racing, you name it- it’s all in there, and it’s all bucketloads of fun. As such, being able to play these mini games for hours and hours on end with a group of friends, sitting around a campfire is something we’re desperate to see in Red Dead Online.
The post-launch support Red Dead Redemption received years ago stands to this day as one of the best examples of how a game should be supported after its release, and a lot of that is down to its zombies-centric DLC, Undead Nightmare. Based on Rockstar’s history with GTA Online, Red Dead Redemption 2 probably won’t receive single player DLC in that vein, and Red Dead Online will be how the game continues to live on, but we’re hoping that Rockstar can strike a balance between the two. Maybe release some huge events every now and then that harken back to something like Undead Nightmare? I know I’d play the hell out of that.
Bounty hunting will most likely be a major mechanic in Red Dead Online either way (it wouldn’t make any sense if it weren’t), but having it as a more integrated part of the entire experience would make things a lot more interesting. Give players the option to play as a bounty hunter rather than as outlaws, and task them with killing or bringing in bandits who’re at the top of the bandit “leaderboard”. Maybe even take a leaf out of Fallout 76’s book and make the mechanic work with anti-griefing measures, by having bounties put on the heads of players who’re ruining the enjoyment of others?
PLAYING AS A SHERIFF
Or, alternatively, let players play as “the new sheriff in town”. Put us in charge of overseeing and protecting a certain town, and making sure that outlaws stay as far away from it as possible. Let us manage our own posses, but on the right side of the law, and task us with tracking and hunting down criminals who’d ruin the peace and quiet of our towns. Being caught in the middle of large firefights where one group of players is a gang of outlaws and the others are officers of the law sounds amazing, and we hope we get to do it in Red Dead Online.
NO LOCATION MARKERS FOR OTHER PLAYERS
Most GTA Online fans would tell you that one of the things they want to see most in Red Dead Online is for it to not have location markers for other players- count us in as well. Beyond the usual arguments about preventing griefing and having better PvP options, there’s other reasons it wouldn’t be as well suited to Red Dead. The setting is one that encourages exploration and a much slower pace, as opposed to GTA’s packed and bombastic sandbox. On top of that, it would just encourage more thrilling moments of unpredictability, such as trying to sneak past a posse of other players who’re in the middle of robbing an establishment.
The concept of warring rival gangs isn’t new to Red Dead Redemption, or the setting of the old Wild West, so it would make sense to organically include that in the core gameplay loop of Red Dead Online as well. Giving players the option to join one of several gangs or factions and then having events and missions based on that constant tug-of-war between warring factions would add so much to the entire experience. Better still, let players create their own gangs, and then go to war with other gangs in epic standoffs and firefights.
Hopefully, Red Dead Online will give us some sense of ownership over our character, and hopefully, it’ll come in the form of stats of progression mechanics with RPG elements. It doesn’t have to be too deep, and it doesn’t have to go full-RPG (in fact it probably shouldn’t), but having those light elements in play would make things a lot more interesting. Being in charge of making sure your character grows in specific ways, such as lockpicking, or having better accuracy, or being better at stealth, would allow us to tailor our play style specifically for the kind of experience we’re looking for.
MATCHMAKING AND SOLO PLAY
To be clear, solo doesn’t mean single-player. We already have an entire campaign for that, and it’s called Red Dead Online for a reason. What we want, however, is for Red Dead Online to not rely on matchmaking too much. Anyone who’s played a fair bit of GTA Online will tell you that waiting in matchmaking lobbies can be a chore, which is why we’re hoping that Red Dead Online skips that part and gives you the option to just engage in its net of activities solo.
Being the quickest draw in the west and an infamous outlaw and bandit is all well and good, but what about when you’re looking for something more relaxing? The quieter life of a rancher may no longer be possible for John Marston, but perhaps things do not have to be so dire for us. This is one is probably a bit ambitious as expectations go, but how awesome would it be if Red Dead Online allowed us to make and manage our own ranch, complete with proper managing mechanics to go along with the concept? Do cattle runs, make money off your ranch, and just be a law-abiding citizen for a change- wouldn’t be such a bad idea, if you think about it.