Since the release of the original in 2010, gamers have been eagerly awaiting the release of Red Dead Redemption 2. Typically, Rockstar has not made any announcements beyond a vague promise in 2012, but many have pointed to there being strong reasons to believe that a Red Dead Redemption sequel is in the works. Adding fuel to this fire, Take Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has recently made some comments which indicate that the game is already in development and that we might see Red Dead Redemption 2 hit the shelves in 2016 or 2017.
When Red Dead Redemption came out in 2010 as a sequel to Red Dead Revolver, it was an instant smash hit. The game’s atmosphere, storyline, and overall quality, as well as its huge open world, all appealed to gamers in ways that its predecessor had not. Red Dead Redemption ended up selling 13 million copies, and fans have been clamoring for a sequel (and a PC version) ever since.
This phenomenal sales rate is thought by many, including Gamespot, to be a solid reason for thinking that a Red Dead Redemption 2 is in the works. It simply makes no financial sense to try to float a new franchise into the market at the expense of a surefire winner. Take Two’s CEO Strauss Zelnick appears to agree. Speaking at a conference this week, Zelnick pointed out that Rockstar thinks of some of its franchises as permanent, because of the traction they have with the gaming community. Examples of these permanent franchises include Borderlands and, obviously, Grand Theft Auto. At the conference, Zelnick confirmed Red Dead Redemption’s inclusion in this group.
“It seems quite obvious that Red Dead is a permanent franchise.”
Zelnick’s comments put the cap on a deep well of rumors with which the internet has been buzzing for some time. The last rumor fuel was a post by a Reddit user claiming to be an ex-employee of Rockstar that Red Dead Redemption 2 was already in development. Shortly afterwards, the CV of a Rockstar executive was leaked containing a cryptic entry about the exec, Doron Feinstein (Rockstar New England), working on a “famous new IP” release. Of course, many gamers took that to mean Red Dead Redemption 2.
While this might just be a classic example of the online community’s ability to generate hype out of nothing, many gamers and industry insiders pointed out that, whether the post was genuine or not, nothing else really makes sense for Rockstar to be working on. Projects like Duke Nukem and Bully have fallen flat on their faces, and there really isn’t any reason to rush out another Grand Theft Auto, considering the astonishing amount of life the online version of the game is exhibiting. The only real contenders, according to many commentators, are another Bioshock installment or Red Dead Redemption 2.
Zelnick was tight-lipped about the next Bioshock, only willing to agree that the franchise had not yet reached its “commercial potential” and that new ways to present and design the game were under consideration. This would seem to indicate that Bioshock‘s last installment, which was met with decidedly mixed reviews, has led to the franchise being placed on the operating table for corrective surgery. It might be remembered that Bioshock Infinite’s great strengths were story and characterization, but many gamers were unsatisfied with the feel and the mechanics of the FPS aspect of the game. With Red Dead Redemption, no such problems exist, so it would make sense to develop and release Red Dead Redemption 2 first. Zelnick also pointed out that a limited and deliberately slow release process was considered to be a part of Rockstar’s winning formula. He pointed out the company’s hit rate and attributed it to a “quality, not quantity” approach to releases.
So, will Red Dead Redemption 2 come out in the next year or two? Unfortunately, we have to report that nobody knows. What we can say, however, is that all indications point convincingly to a release at some time in the future, and the fact that it’s been five years since the release of the original, and that Zelnick has thrown out the vague dates “2016 or 2017” both mean that there is a very good chance Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming.
[Images Courtesy Rockstar]