Rockstar Games recently announced that Red Dead Online, the online multiplayer component for Red Dead Redemption 2, would be releasing in November 2018. The developer also noted that the mode would be available as a public beta for anyone who owned the Xbox One and PS4 version.
The goal is obvious – improve the experience with feedback from players as time goes by. However, speaking to IGN, Rockstar North director of design Imran Sarwar offered a few more reasons with regards to launching the mode separately.
“The first is that even though Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online share the same gameplay mechanics and geography, we see them essentially as separate products that will grow and evolve independently of each other,” he said.
“We love story-based, single-player games and they are the foundation of everything we do. Red Dead Redemption 2 is an absolutely massive story-based game that we hope people will be lost in for a long time and we want people to experience everything that world has to offer before we build on that with the Online experience. Not to mention, playing through the story and getting to know the controls and mechanics of the game is the best way to get ready for playing inside the world of Red Dead Online.”
Of course, the development team’s experience with Grand Theft Auto Online also played a factor in this decision. “Also, as we have learned from experience when launching Online games at this scale,” Sarwar said, “there are bound to be a few issues and we want to ensure that we have time to gradually roll out the game and make the experience as smooth as we possibly can for everyone. We believe this way of rolling out will give people the best overall experiences with both single player and multiplayer.”
Since Grand Theft Auto Online also launched after Grand Theft Auto 5, the post-campaign launch of Red Dead Online doesn’t come off as too surprising. It’s good to see that Rockstar is learning from past experience and making sure everything is running smoothly beforehand. However, given the sheer demand that could tax servers, the “beta” tag could also be a way to soften criticism if things aren’t working as they should. Time will tell how it all shakes out.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is out on October 26th for Xbox One and PS4.