It's the 1st of October today - not only the first day of the month in which Red Dead Redemption 2 will finally be released, but also the day that Rockstar has chosen to release the promised, highly-anticipated, second gameplay trailer.
The video focuses on the various activities players will undertake as Arthur Morgan, ranging from the nefarious like robbing a train to the mundane like shaving. Like last time, the new trailer has revealed a lot more than what the voiceover addressed.
In its quest to create what might be the most immersive and realistic open world in gaming yet, Rockstar has geared Red Dead Redemption 2 to be all about seamless dynamic progression. You happen upon things of interest, unique encounters and other situations organically as you explore.
You might entirely miss a whole encounter and not know about it, since the game isn't holding your hand and directing you towards the content.
You might bumble into a pack of guards when you least expect to, or discover a new quest while rummaging through a seemingly abandoned house. It isn't clear whether there will be accessibility options in the game allowing players to toggle in-game indicators if they wish, but Rockstar is pushing this angle of "blind" progression as the best way to play.
Criminal activities aimed at getting rich quick fall into multiple categories, varying in danger and reward. You can stage major heists, rob trains or hold up coaches. You can even shake down the odd passerby, but don't expect a big payday if you do.
You can hold up stores too, but don't expect a discount the next time you go there. Random houses can also be burglarized, however some residents may try to protect their property.
A relatively new mechanic in games that we haven't seen often, even in titles where you're a criminal by default, is loan sharking. The trailer does not make it clear how this works, but likely you'll be able to give certain NPCs some amounts of cash and then later intimidate them into paying you back with interest.
However, in Red Dead Redemption 2, you're not the only outlaw in the land. Other bandits also roam the open world, meaning if you go out to explore you might be the victim of a robbery too. What's more, the more notorious you are, the more lawmen and bounty hunters you'll attract who will want to bring you in dead or alive.
Lawmen are more than just standard enemies who spawn nearby after your crime meter reaches a certain point. In Red Dead Redemption 2, they're more active and involved in the gameplay. Lawmen are present ambiently, and they will investigate crime scenes they come across.
You can flip the coin too if you wish, and take on bounty hunting jobs where you track down and capture or kill other outlaws.
This seems a touch counterproductive since Arthur and co are struggling against the spread of modernity and government oversight, which means the more outlaws there are the better it is for them. But since many gangs aren't on friendly terms, this is a great way to eliminate rivals without drawing the ire of the lawmen and get paid while you do it.
The iconic dead eye aiming system is making a return from Red Dead Redemption, but with some changes.
As you upgrade your dead eye skill, its effects will change. Initially, it won't allow you to auto-aim, but rather just slows down time Max Payne style. The next level is the target-painting auto-aim where you select certain enemies that Arthur will then automatically kill.
Finally, dead eye will act as a sort of x-ray vision showing you critical hit locations on enemy bodies that you should aim for.
Character customization is also expanded from the previous game. Instead of whole pre-set outfits to pick from, you can alter your appearance bit by bit, and even pick details like tucking your pants into your boots or letting them hang loose.
Inns and saloons will have several options for food. Arthur's beard will grow dynamically as you spend time in the wilderness, and you can leave it as such, or style and shave it. Bathing is also present as an activity, and if you don't, you can expect to see NPC reactions change towards you.
Additional side activities include herding cattle, playing cards, drinking, dancing, fishing, hunting, chopping firewood, playing various board games with your fellow gang members, going to a theatre, get in a bar fight, and challenge other gunslingers to duels.
The game is filled with secret locations that will be hard to find, such as a room hidden behind a bookshelf as seen in the trailer, and random NPC encounters that offer their own little snippets of story.
We've already learned of the full first-person mode available to players in the game, but this trailer also revealed a third camera mode: cinematic. Most effective when riding through the vast wilderness, you can take in the views from new angles at a greater distance from your character, showing you the huge and beautiful world Rockstar built for Red Dead Redemption 2.
Unlike with the first gameplay trailer, this time there is no indication that another one is coming. Since the game is less than a month away, it wouldn't surprise us if Rockstar choose not to squeeze another gameplay trailer in, and the only thing to look forward to before release is the launch trailer.
Red Dead Redemption 2 will be released on the 26th of October.