Red Dead Redemption 2 and What the Latest Trailer Shows About Our Return to the West

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As the follow-up to the acclaimed Red Dead Redemption, the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2 from Rockstar Games looks like it is set to bring players back into the beautiful and violent world of the Wild West once more. Coming off the game’s reveal trailer from last yearRed Dead Redemption 2 got a brand new trailer earlier this week to provide another beautiful glimpse at the open-world Western game. While the game isn’t set to arrive until sometime next spring, there are still plenty of new details to gleam from the latest trailer and, more importantly, how it connects to the original game.

Where the first trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 was more atmospheric in nature — highlighting the beautiful and serene Western landscapes on display — the second trailer provides some more context for the story and characters that we’ll meet. Specifically, the new trailer gives more concrete evidence than ever that Red Dead Redemption 2 will, in fact, be a prequel to the previous game, and should make for an intriguing setting in the pre-John Marston times of Red Dead Redemption.

One of the biggest details that the trailer provided was the introduction of (what appears to be) one of the game’s main protagonists, Arthur Morgan, who did first appear in the previous trailer, but has a much more prominent role this time around. Compared to John Marston in Red Dead Redemption, who was a former outlaw trying to outrun his life in a gang, Morgan still appears to be very much tied to criminal activity in the West, serving as an apparent debt collector who frequently is seen in the trailer hustling up victims for unpaid debts.

Whether or not Morgan will be the only playable protagonist remains to seen, as I think it would be more than likely Red Dead Redemption 2 might feature Grand Theft Auto V‘s multiple protagonist system and let you switch between different members of Morgan’s gang. This time around, it’s clear there will be a big cast of characters to interact with throughout Morgan’s journey, but it’s apparent that Arthur Morgan will be at the center of it all.

That of course ties in to one of the other prominent details that the second trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 provided with the appearance of Dutch Van der Linde, the leader of the Van der Linde gang that definitely should ring a bell for Red Dead Redemption players as the gang that John Marston rolled with prior to the events of that game.

Of course, that means we’ll more than likely see some of those events play out here in Red Dead Redemption 2, given that Dutch has a slightly more youthful appearance here than in Red Dead Redemption: compared to his middle-aged, salt-and-pepper-haired appearance in the previous game, he definitely looks much more spry in Red Dead Redemption 2.

Red Dead Redemption 2 and What the Latest Trailer Shows About Our Return to the West

Dutch Van der Linde as he appeared in Red Dead Redemption (2010), versus his appearance in the latest trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018).

Dutch’s inclusion in Red Dead Redemption 2 definitely presents some interesting details about where and when Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place, alongside a few other familiar faces that pop up in the trailer, such as Bill Williamson and (possibly) Bonnie McFarlane. Given that players saw most of these characters’ fates in Red Dead Redemption, the bigger question (I think) is how closely Red Dead Redemption 2 will trail to the events of the previous game, and whether or not we’ll solely stay in the past, or flip between two different timelines.

John Marston didn’t get a mention at all in the trailer, but I’d think that including so many familiar faces from the previous game would have to mean that Marston will appear at some point in the game, and detail why he ultimately went on the run from Dutch’s gang (and in turn, what drove the gang to disband prior to Red Dead Redemption).

While an exact time hasn’t been confirmed yet for when (or where) Red Dead Redemption 2 will take place, my best guess would be somewhere around 10-15 years before the previous game, which would put the title’s setting somewhere around the turn of the century. Red Dead Redemption took place in 1911 and (notably) featured some of the more modern advances that were claiming their stake in the American Frontier at this time, such as the introduction of the first automobiles.

However, in the trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2, there is still a prominent feeling that the American West is still in its prime before modern technologies began working their way into American life, and that wilderness is still (largely) untamed and wild.

Red Dead Redemption 2 and What the Latest Trailer Shows About Our Return to the West

That being said, the second trailer provided greater details than before about where Red Dead Redemption 2 fits story-wise and confirming the long-rumored fan theory that it would be a prequel. Aside from the story elements though, the trailer also provided some greater context for the new gameplay features and environments that we’ll likely see from the sequel, and there’s definitely much I’ll be looking to in Red Dead Redemption 2 because of it.

Specifically, as seen in this and the previous trailer, Red Dead Redemption 2 seems like it will once again display the American West in a way that fully exemplifies its beauty and danger. With plenty of sweeping mountain ranges and Western vistas, one of the more notable details provided in the trailer was that it appears we’ll see some sort of season changes throughout the adventure, as Morgan and his gang travel through snow-covered hills about halfway through the trailer.

Likewise, Red Dead Redemption 2 (I would imagine) will feature multiple locations that takes the player across the West like in the first game, as Morgan mentions that the gang “has lawmen in three different states after us.”

Red Dead Redemption 2 and What the Latest Trailer Shows About Our Return to the West

Even more apparent is the shot in the trailer where Morgan and his companions are trudging through an alligator-infested bayou that bears much more of a resemblance to the deep South than what we’ve seen in Red Dead Redemption, which took players through several parts of the West and took an excursion into Mexico for a good portion of the journey.

Here, it seems like players might be taking a trip down South for a segment of the game, in an environment that looks pretty close to portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama. Louisiana seems the most likely though, given its fairly close proximity to Texas/Mexico where the previous game (largely) took place.

Likewise, the latest trailer also provides some more gameplay-oriented details that look to improve upon what players could do in Red Dead Redemption 2. Specifically, the inclusion of dual-wielding pistols seems to be making its way into Red Dead Redemption 2, while the shot of Arthur Morgan hunting wildlife with a bow and arrow shows that players will seemingly have a greater variety of weaponry to use other than just pistols, rifles, and shotguns.

Red Dead Redemption 2 and What the Latest Trailer Shows About Our Return to the West

However, a larger clue given in the trailer points towards what might be Red Dead Redemption 2‘s equivalent of Grand Theft Auto V‘s heist missions, as we see towards the beginning of the trailer that Morgan and his gang are preparing to ambush an oncoming train; later on, we see them assaulting what appears to be a bank vault of some sort.

Given that the Heist missions were such a highlight of Grand Theft Auto V (including their introduction in GTA Online), it’s no surprise at all that there might be some form of them in Red Dead Redemption 2, but seeing how Rockstar can expand on them further in the game’s period setting makes me incredibly excited to play literal “Cowboys & Robbers” in this massive open-world.

While Red Dead Redemption 2 did get delayed from its intended window of a fall 2017 release to spring 2018, the latest trailer from Rockstar Games definitely showed much to be excited about for our return to the studio’s Wild West. Red Dead Redemption holds a special place in my heart (and I’m sure in the hearts of many) for its world that was both astonishingly violent and breathtakingly beautiful, and with the few glimpses of the game that we’ve seen from its two trailers (and several screenshots), I’m as much excited for the prospects of putting on my cowboy hat again as much as I am curious about how far back Red Dead Redemption 2 will take us.

It’s clearer than ever before that we’ll be going back in time before Red Dead Redemption, but now I’m even more curious about how Red Dead Redemption 2 will push its story forward in the past.

Red Dead Redemption 2 will release for PS4 and Xbox One in Spring 2018.

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