Rockstar Games set the world ablaze with one blood-drenched tweet.
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) October 16, 2016
Then within a 24-hour period we got this.
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) October 17, 2016
Rockstar has confirmed a Red Dead Redemption 2 is in the works for Fall 2017. At this stage, the true nature of the next Red Dead game — including its title — is anyone’s guess. Will it be a direct sequel, with players picking up the story in the shoes of Jack Marston. The son of Red Dead Redemption protagonist John Marston? Perhaps not. The few shreds of evidence we’ve collected point to the game being a prequel to its predecessor.
Let’s take a closer look.
Seven armed men are walking over a hill, with a fiery sunset illuminating a mountain ridge behind them. They sure look like a mean, wild bunch of outlaws. And the guy in the center looks familiar, doesn’t he?
Bless my soul could that be John Marston?
Sure, the silhouette’s cowboy hat has a dented crown instead of a flat one. But notice the prominent holster on his right thigh, and the Winchester rifle that’s held in his hand rather than slung over his back.
Now look at the man directly to the right. Bill Williamson is that you?
There’s not much to go on here — we can’t tell if Williamson is wearing a long coat in this screenshot, although he is holding a rifle. Having said that, one detail appears to be a dead giveaway: Williamson sports a distinctive cowboy hat with the left side of the brim turned up, and the silhouette’s Stetson looks identical.
The other five figures don’t easily map onto characters we know from Red Dead Redemption. But we do know from Maston’s story that he was a member of the notorious Dutch’s Gang. A group of criminals that also included Williamson, Javier Escuella and ringleader Dutch van der Linde.
If the teaser image indeed features Dutch’s Gang — which was disbanded by the time Red Dead Redemption takes place. Then it stands to reason that the next entry in the franchise will be a prequel.
Imagine playing as Marston while he was even more of an antihero than in Red Dead Redemption. A cold-blooded murderer who terrorized the Old West with his fellow outlaws. Dutch’s Gang was renowned for robbing banks; what if this new Red Dead title were to focus on planning heists à la Grand Theft Auto 5?
Wouldn’t that be something? Well, we should note that there are a couple of major caveats to all this theorizing.
Rockstar Games titles tend to introduce different protagonists with new entries in a franchise. For instance, no two Grand Theft Auto titles feature the same playable characters. The only exception being the Max Payne series.
[Note: The following contains spoilers for Red Dead Redemption.]
On the other hand, people who have finished Red Dead Redemption know that John Marston dies shortly after the climax of the story. During an epilogue set three years after the events of the game,we play as Marston‘s 19-year-old son, Jack Marston. Jack tracks down and kills Edgar Ross, the federal agent who betrayed and murdered his father. So it’s certainly possible that the next Red Dead title will simply continue Jack‘s story.
Those are a couple of things to ponder about while we wait for Rockstar to reveal more about Red Dead Redemption 2.