There’s no doubt that when Grand Theft Auto V came out for PS3 and Xbox 360, it was a game that pushed both systems to their limits. But when Rockstar remastered GTA V roughly a year later for current gen consoles, it felt like we received the definitive version of GTA V, the one Rockstar set out to make all along. Nearly everything was improved, from enhanced graphics and smooth performance to new missions and the option to play the entire game from first person perspective.
To many observers, this looked like a logical business maneuver, or "cash grab" if you will. By remastering GTA V, it gave Rockstar a way to attract new players while providing additional features that would entice last-gen GTA V players to consider upgrading (myself included). It was a smart way to capitalize on new hardware without launching an entirely new game.
Now that the PS4 Pro is available and Microsoft’s impressive specs for its next console, Project Scorpio, have been announced, it begs the question: will Rockstar perform a similar move with Red Dead Redemption 2?
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Red Dead Redemption 2 is slated for a “Fall 2017” release for PS4 and Xbox One, with Project Scorpio likely following soon after. As we recently reported, Microsoft has tapped Rockstar to release Red Dead Redemption 2 on Project Scorpio, but we don’t know for certain whether Microsoft will show new footage of the game for an upcoming event (it doesn’t look likely.)
Microsoft has made clear that Project Scorpio will be backwards compatible, playing both Xbox 360 and Xbox One games. What isn’t clear is whether the system will receive games that are unique to Project Scorpio, that is, not cross-platform like we’re used to.
If that’s the case, then Red Dead Redemption 2 could have three iterations: Xbox One/S, PS4/Pro, and Project Scorpio. The Scorpio version may have features that are completely unique to that console. Microsoft could even strike a deal with Rockstar to develop Scorpio specific content for Red Dead Redemption 2—like special VR missions. After all, Microsoft hatched a similar deal with Rockstar when they helped fund two DLC add-ons for Grand Theft Auto IV.
What’s more worrisome is if Rockstar cuts features and content from RDR2 in order to meet its Fall 2017 release window, only to include the content later on in a next-gen remaster. Sure, they could release the cut content as DLC (as most developers do in these cases), but why not use that content to attract people to buy the game again, when it’s inevitably released as a True 4K remaster for Project Scorpio?
Based on Red Dead Redemption 2’s trailer, we’ll be getting one hell of a beautiful game by the end of the year. But will we be getting the best version of RDR2? We’ll just have to wait and see.