RDR II: The Wild West’s Triumphant Return

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Red Dead Redemption II’s newest trailer has dropped, and boy does the game look good.

Sure, any marketing material for a video game has to be taken with a grain of salt these days, but between the narrative details that were showcased and Rockstar’s consistency with delivering acclaimed titles, it’s okay to get a little excited for RDR II.

Though Rockstar didn’t prevent too many plot details from leaking, the basic gist of the trailer is that it’ll star an outlaw named Arthur Morgan as its main protagonist.

Morgan will also be cast as a member of Dutch Van Der Linde’s gang, a group that appeared as some of the main antagonists in Red Dead Redemption. If Dutch’s gang is still a thing, this must mean that yes, RDR II is a prequel.

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Red Dead Redemption II’s impending release is cause enough for celebration, but the title will hopefully also ignite the return of Wild West shooters. Even though Red Dead Redemption is one of the best-selling video games of all time, it never triggered a wave of imitators hoping to cash in on that red dead dolla dolla bill y’all.

With only seldom exceptions like Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, there haven’t been any big-name Wild West shooters in recent years, and that’s a shame. Pop culture’s idea of the rugged, lawless West is a great setting for a shooter, and it helped drive Red Dead Redemption to enviable profit heights.

Despite audiences’ infatuation with Red Dead Redemption over its setting and characters, there wasn’t a boom of Wild West games the same way there was a wave of open-world crime games after the first few 3D Grand Theft Auto games. The reasons why are unclear, but hopefully RDR II provides the industry with enough of an umph to spur other devs into making Wild West titles.

As for RDR II, the trailer indicates that the sequel will have all the great hallmarks of a Rockstar game. The dev has stated that, like its predecessor, RDR II will be set in a vibrant open world. Players will be able to pursue story and side missions at their leisure, along with a host of other activities to occupy their time.

Finally, RDR II looks poised to deliver yet another tale of Wild West blood and revenge; the jury’s still out on whether it’ll be as good as the story of John Marston, but again, Rockstar isn’t known for mishandling its narratives.

If RDR II can pull off a decent narrative and fun open-world shooting, the game will be better positioned than any other to both bring the Wild West back into vogue and hopefully inspire other developers to make use of such a storied setting.

Sure, the Wild West is often romanticized and was not without its flaws, but its rugged image and relative lawlessness make it a grand, surprisingly under-utilized canvas for adventure. Here’s hoping that RDR II can leave its own mark on the Wild West, while also inspiring other young guns to do the same.