Red Dead Redemption is arguably this console generation’s finest game. Beautiful to look at with a gut-wrenching, emotionally charged storyline, it thrust you into the dark heart of the Wild West, and made playing the life of an outlaw an incredibly fun thing to do. It even had an amazing multiplayer component that made it possible to form posses and ride out, as well as take part in death matches.
While all eyes are now on Rockstar’s next crime sim GTA V, we’d put money on a sequel to Redemption being announced soon. Rockstar have hinted at it themselves, and with the game selling well over 12 million copies, it’d be ridiculous for Rockstar not to head back out onto the dusty prairie.
So saddle up as Tech Digest go through what we’d most like to see from the next Red Dead game.
A NEW ERA
Red Dead Redemption showed the Wild West in its twilight years, with industrialisation leaving the likes of our hero John Marston marginalised and on the run. But we’d argue it’s not the most interesting period of Old West history. How about the period of 19th century expansion that saw the remaining indigenous Native American populations displaced and massacred. It’s a period of American history often overlooked, and as Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian novel shows, thoughtful exploration of the era could result in a remarkable work of gaming fiction.
KEEP THE CARS OUT OF IT!
I still find it incredible that one of the most oft-requested features for Red Dead Redemption was the introduction of cars. We’ve already got Grand Theft Auto and a zillion clones, do we really need another joy riding sim? Red Dead Redemption had incredibly life-like horses of many different breeds, that handled in a way so unique as to really separate its gameplay from other open-world titles. You also and an emotional connection to your steed; push it too hard and it didn’t explode, it died. If you’d found a favourite, it was heart-wrenching stuff. More of the same here Rockstar, if you please.MORE CHOICE
Red Dead Redemption gave us a sprawling open-world to explore, and indeed there was plenty of freedom to uncover all the secrets that each corner of the beautifully realised fictitious state of New Austin. However, when it came to the actual missions, the story played out very linearly. Could we not have a bit more choice as to how missions play out, and which factions to align ourselves with? We really didn’t want to have to work for the Mexicans so keen on committing horrible acts against innocents. Sure, we realise that linear missions can help when writing a tightly crafted story, but Mass Effect has proven that choice and storytelling can be harmoniously matched.
LA NOIRE STYLE FACIAL ANIMATION
Red Dead Redemption had an amazing, emotionally charged storyline and superbly drawn characters. They looked great, with some of the best motion capture and lip-syncing we’ve seen, and when paired with the top-notch voice acting it lead to a truly cinematic experience. Imagine if it had been paired with the MotionScan facial scanning technology of LA Noire, another or RockStar’s properties? We admit to being a little torn here, with the ever-so-slightly caricatured art-style of Redemption being so great. But MotionScan would allow for almost photo-real faces, and there’s no way to better convey emotion than having that at your disposal.RED DEAD…RENAMED
If we do get a sequel, one thing’s for certain; it won’t be called Red Dead Redemption 2. Rockstar’s premier cowboy series kicked off with Red Dead Revolver, with the sequel being Redemption, rather than Revolver 2. Expect then any Redemption sequel to have a similarly alliterative name. Reloaded? Revolution? Forget the Matrix sequels; we like the sound of Red Dead Renegades.
When shooting and riding horses, Red Dead Redemption controlled like a dream. When on foot? Not so much. Built on the ageing GTA IV engine, John Marston felt realistically weighty when moving around, but also turned in quite a tank-like fashion. This is one area where we can forego a little realism in favour of fun. We hope Rockstar’s next western protagonist moves a little more elegantly.
Anyone who’s ever spent a weekend at a festival like Glastonbury will tell you that you DON’T need a perfectly flat stretch of land on which to raise a campsite. Can someone tell that to RockStar too? It was really frustrating jogging around looking for somewhere to settle down for the night.HUNTING AS PART OF MISSIONS
Red Dead Redemption took your standard collect-a-thon collectibles system and made it a really interesting mechanic with hunting. Collecting materials from beasts to sell in stores, hunting down the many species out on the plains was genuinely satisfying, especially when chasing down the legendary animals. Why not integrate some of the hunting into the main missions? Collecting food and supplies for some struggling settlements could make the hunting elements feel more vital to survival.
DLC ALIENS, NOT ZOMBIES
Undead Nightmare was a surprisingly smart expansion pack for Redemption. We thought we’d seen all that the world of zombies could offer, but Rockstar’s take on the genre was refreshing. Having said that, NO MORE ZOMBIES. They’re everywhere, almost like a real infestation. How about aliens this time around? The Nevada desert is notorious for its sightings, perhaps that B-Movie paranoia could be channeled. We recently saw the often-ridiculed Cowboys & Aliens, and found it to be far more entertaining than we’d expected it to be. Something along the lines of the action in that movies could be really good fun.
What do you think about our Red Dead Redemption sequel thoughts? Anything we’ve missed out that you’d like to see? Let us know in the comments below of via our Twitter feed @techdigestnews !
By Gerald Lynch | July 30th, 2012