It’s been more than three years since Grand Theft Auto V came out, and while we’ve seen plenty of big budget open world games since then, GTA V still reigns as one of the best blockbuster games of all time.
Since then, Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar has been busy. Not only has Rockstar funneled resources to continually improve Grand Theft Auto Online, but it’s been hard at work on Red Dead Redemption 2, the long awaited follow-up to the studio’s 2010 masterpiece.
Since each Rockstar outing has proven better than the last, Red Dead Redemption 2 will likely be much better than Grand Theft Auto V. In terms of character interactions, story beats, combat, and multiplayer, Rockstar will be taking everything it has learned from GTA V and applying it to RDR2.
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Grand Theft Auto V was rereleased for current gen systems on November 18, 2014. Besides the obvious visual overhaul, Rockstar added a ton of new content including additional quests, weapons, cars, and outfits. 1st person perspective (a first for the series) was also included, along with console specific features, like using the PS4 remote as a speaker when taking cell phone calls while driving.
While some might consider it an easy cash grab on Rockstar’s part, it shows that the studio is keen on how far current gen systems can be pushed. But since GTA V was technically built on old hardware, we don’t really know what a current-gen Grand Theft Auto would look or feel like.
Thankfully, we won’t have to wait much longer to know the answer. With Red Dead Redemption 2 slated for Fall 2017, we’ll finally see what Rockstar can do on the PS4 and Xbox One. Expect a much, much bigger landmass as just the tip of the iceberg.
Rockstar’s combat has never really shined, though it’s seen big improvements over the years. The original Red Dead Redemption was a step in the right direction, followed by Max Payne 3. GTA V refined combat, making it snappier but ultimately turning the game’s fights into nothing more than finding cover and insta-locking headshots.
Rockstar is aware of its combat pitfalls, and chances are high that Red Dead Redemption 2 will feature the best combat system yet. From the physics and force of each weapon, to improved enemy AI and more diverse encounters, it’s likely we’ll see a brutal Western combined with a fine-tuned combat system.
Red Dead Redemption had its more cinematic moments—HBO practically lifted the opening with Marston on the train for Westworld, and the story fits in among some of Western’s finest.
Grand Theft Auto V still manages to impress with its unique style, sharp direction, and superb bits of writing. For a game that takes place in a fictional Los Angeles, it feels like you’re playing a blockbuster movie, or in this case binge watching a Netflix buddy crime drama.
Red Dead Redemption 2 will likely play out as a sprawling Western epic, switching characters and locales often in order to portray a rich and layered Wild West. Even the announcement trailer is uncharacteristically Rockstar—a handful of silent scenes that already make the game’s world feel alive even without acknowledging what it is we’ll be doing. It’s a bold teaser trailer that only Rockstar can pull off, simply because at this point we know Red Dead Redemption 2 will be The Next Big Thing.
Refined RPG Elements
Surprise: Grand Theft Auto V is an RPG. In fact, Rockstar has been meddling in RPG territory for a while now—Red Dead Redemption utilized a crafting system and outfits that gave stat-boosting perks. GTA V went further; players could not only role play within the world, but character attributes such as swimming, driving, and flying could be improved the more they were used. Aiming and shooting could be “leveled up” at a gun range, and cars could be made more durable.
Rockstar games are immersive experiences and the amount of customizable aspects has increased with each game. If speculation is to be believed, Red Dead Redemption 2 might have seven playable protagonists, each independently customizable from the other. Even if that seems like overkill, it’s possible Rockstar will incorporate base building, gang recruitment, and even farm simulation.
If you’ve played Grand Theft Auto V then you’re probably familiar with its three main characters—Michael, Trevor, and Franklin. But there’s actually a fourth playable character as well.
Rockstar managed to incorporate GTA V’s online component (conveniently titled Grand Theft Auto Online) seamlessly into the game. At any point while playing the regular campaign, you could select your handmade character and switch to online play. By not breaking the illusion of Los Santos and forcing the player to switch to a separate tacked on feature, Rockstar created a compelling multiplayer experience (and one that’s making the studio a lot of money).
There’s no doubt we’ll see Rockstar apply what they’ve learned from GTA Online in Red Dead Redemption 2. Players will probably start as a lowly mercenary with a room in a saloon,and slowly progress upward, becoming sheriff of a town with other real life players acting as officers of the law. Either way, online action will be seamless from the main game, and it will be an experience worth coming back for long after the end credits have rolled.
It’s hard to say what, exactly, Red Dead Redemption 2 will be like. So far there’s not much information besides a quick 1-minute trailer. But what is easy to say is that Rockstar continues to improve its formula with each game, and Red Dead Redemption 2 is no different.
When it finally comes out, it will be Rockstar at the top of its game.