Thoughts on Red Dead Redemption II’s third trailer

A couple days ago, Rockstar released its third trailer for Red Dead Redemption II. I’m firmly planted in the RDRII camp, so of course I had to tune in (multiple times), along with millions of others. If you’ve not yet seen it for yourself, I’m happy to oblige.

Video from YouTube user Rockstar Games

With the trailer, Rockstar offer this welcome and expanded synopsis:

After a robbery goes badly wrong in the western town of Blackwater, Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang are forced to flee. With federal agents and the best bounty hunters in the nation massing on their heels, the gang must rob, steal and fight their way across the rugged heartland of America in order to survive. As deepening internal divisions threaten to tear the gang apart, Arthur must make a choice between his own ideals and loyalty to the gang who raised him.

It’s great to finally have a more solid sense of what RDRII will offer – it only makes me all the more excited for the game! – even if some things about the potential experience remain a little vague. Here are my reactions to the new trailer, in neat and tidy bullet form.

  • First, Blackwater. Ah, that firmly sets the game in a familiar place. RDR players may recall that this town, which was featured in the first game, was the site of the Blackwater Massacre of 1899. This event was only briefly referenced and remained a mystery, however now…
  • 1889 – oh ho, so that’s the RDRII’s timeframe. Putting two and two together, it follows that the events of RDRII spring from the Blackwater Massacre. Perhaps.
  • So the central focus is on Dutch van der Linde and his gang, of which Arthur Morgan, the only seemingly playable character to this point, is a member.
  • Morgan’s line, “we’re more ghosts than people,” is telling. And the game states outright that come the turn of the 20th century, the “Old West” was becoming older by the second.
  • Dutch’s (misplaced?) hubris seems to be about the only thing keeping his gang together. Pride goeth before the fall, and all that.
  • Back with the meddling feds, what with their spiffy vests and bowlers. Always trying to ruin everyone’s fun, they are.
  • Dutch has sure sure got a rowdy bunch on his hands, including, once again, that blonde woman…who seems rightly fierce with a knife. I previously pondered that she might be Bonnie MacFarland, but now I’m pretty sure she isn’t.  (Though, the story about the Blackwater Massacre goes that one of Bonnie’s brothers was killed during it, so she could still possibly turn up. Speaking of which…)
  • A young John Marston! It’ll sure be nice seeing him again, as well as learning more about his early role in Dutch’s gang. (Hopefully he’ll have more than a cameo, anyway.)
  • Came away with shades of GTA V in the possibility of playing as multiple protagonists…maybe? It’s seems so far that we’ll get to play as Arthur Morgan, but I got the sense that maybe we’d have the chance to play as Dutch, too?
  • It’s fairly obvious now that any multiplayer action will involve Dutch’s gang.
  • The game looks as gorgeous as ever. Definitely on par with what we’re seeing now in the new God of War. The characters, the settings, the environments — all are so very on point.

While I’m thrilled we received some new information about the game, I have lingering questions about its actual gameplay, the single-player experience, and how Arthur’s and/or Dutch’s stories may rise above what reads now as, frankly, a clichéd and slightly stringy “Old West” adventure. After all, we already know how things end for Dutch. For now, we’re back on the end of waiting for more, and with things like E3 looming, I can only imagine that Rockstar’s sure to deliver on that front.

(Source: Rockstar Games)

Lede image © Rockstar Games