It's not long now until the big game release announcements for 2016, and most of the tipsters are predicting that Rockstar's next big title will be Red Dead Redemption 2. As usual, the rumors are swirling on Reddit and other platforms, with one Redditor even claiming to be a disgruntled Rockstar employee leaking details as an act of revenge.
Rockstar themselves have been tight-lipped about the possibility of a Red Dead Redemption 2 for 2016 but have not ruled it out. In fact, Rockstar executives have dropped tantalizing hints that Red Dead might very well be the next big game release for the wildly successful company. But what is the actual likelihood of a new wild west adventure for next year?
Let's first look at what Redditor AnonDN1978 has to say. This user is quoted in full in wccftech.com, as well as other publications, providing "leaked" details about Red Dead Redemption 2. AnonDN1978 claims to be an ex-employee of Rockstar and claims to be leaking these details because his (or her) old boss was a "d**k."
According to AnonDN1978, the new game will be called Red Dead Redemption 2: Legends of the Old West and will be centered on the stories of Seth and Irish. Both Seth and Irish are from the last game. Seth was a necrophiliac and obsessive treasure hunter, whereas Iris was an amoral alcoholic fixer of sorts. It will also, apparently, include a third playable and customizable character. AnonDN1978 goes on to talk about purchasable safehouses and a gang system that will enable the player to join various gangs or even ride with a posse of law enforcement officers.
All this sounds very detailed and plausible -- until we realize that the three playable characters sound remarkably like Rockstar's GTA 5. While it's not impossible that Rockstar would repeat what has proven to be such a winning formula, it does cast come doubt on the claims. Analyzing the "leaked" information, we see that all the details could readily be explained by somebody cobbling together remembered elements of Red Dead Redemption and past GTA games in order to provide a convincing fiction. Now I'm not saying one way or another whether this is what has happened, but it's worth remembering just how unoriginal AnonDN1978's breakdown actually is. And as for the idea that Red Dead Redemption 2 has been in development for two to three years, the silence from Rockstar is deafening, and it is possible to trace this rumor back to the same, single source.
And then, of course, there's ex-Rockstar employee Daniel Ross, who appears to have dropped a cryptic hint during an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit. Tech News Today reported that Ross, when asked what was next for Rockstar, replied "Really Dumbass? Really? Two" which has been interpreted as spelling out RDR2. Of course, if this sounds a little flimsy to you, you're not alone.
Rather more compellingly, the iDigital Times reported comments made by Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick in a quarterly earnings call, where he mentioned that Red Dead Redemption was a "permanent franchise." It was pointed out that if we are to go on past patterns of release, 2016 should see a AAA title from Rockstar, and that this title should be Red Dead Redemption 2. Tipsters like Youtuber MrBossFTW have also chimed in, saying that the pattern of Take-Two's releases indicate that another installment of the wild west franchise should drop next year. It should be noted, however, that as hard evidence, all this really adds up to is the fact that we will definitely see a Red Dead game at some point in the future, with Zelnick dropping the caveat that this will only happen if Take-Two is happy with the quality of any new title.It's worth noting that it's been nearly six years since the release of the Red Dead Redemption, which is a time lag that is highly suggestive. A large number of Rockstar titles have had similar development times. While Rockstar releases lack the clockwork regularity of franchises like Call of Duty, it really does make sense to posit that RDR2 is due. Another thing pointed out by the tipsters is the fact of GTA 5. The question is, what release could possibly top, or even equal the phenomenal success, of the GTA 5? For most tipsters, there's only one answer to that question.
Interestingly, there is a Facebook page called Red Dead Revenge, claiming that the next installment of the game will be dropped next year. Upon closer examination, however, it becomes apparent that this page is simply recycling the same, single rumor started by AnonDN1978. The name Red Dead Revenge also pops up on a discussion board over on IGN, but this too is filled with the same kind of speculation and largely from the same source. There's also been a wave of speculation surrounding the rumor that the plot of the sequel would be based on the classic Japanese film Yojimbo. Some netizens, clearly not understanding this information, even started discussion boards asking whether players would be happy with a Red Dead Redemption set in Japan!
What all this adds up to is, I'm afraid, basically nothing. There is a strong logical case to be made for a new installment dropping next year, but as we all know, the gaming business is not bound by or necessarily susceptible to logic. Regrettably, the only hard fact that can be confirmed is that the Red Dead Redemption franchise is very much alive, but as for when the next installment will come, no responsible reporter can say.
[Images via Rockstar]