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Looks like Rockstar is teasing Red Dead Redemption 2

UPDATE: More artwork. It's happening.

UPDATE 2PM: Dispelling any speculation this was a Rockstar Table Tennis tease, Rockstar has now revealed a second piece of Red Dead Redemption concept art, 24 hours after the first.

Here it is:

Seven figures - a Magnificent Seven reference? Seven playable characters? We'll leave you to speculate - but you can find all the available details and rumours over in our guide to everything we know about Red Dead Redemption 2.

ORIGINAL STORY 8AM: At last, it looks like Rockstar is ready to start talking Red Dead Redemption 2.

You know it's happening, we know it's happening. But up until now we've been forced to rely on leaks and veiled hints from the developer.

Yesterday, however, Rockstar signalled its readiness to discuss its much-loved Western once more via this teasing Twitter post:

There's... not much to go on. Okay, there's nothing to go on. But let's take at what we know so far.

Grand Theft Auto 5 came out more than three years ago, and while the game's multiplayer mode has been kept constantly updated (and has made a mountain of cash), Rockstar has never produced any single-player expansion.

The past couple of years have seen Rockstar quiet even by Rockstar standards on what the bulk of its team is up to, but it has dropped the occasional hint it is indeed now working on a Red Dead Redemption follow-up.

It's worth noting this period also saw the departure of Rockstar North boss and long-time company stalwart Leslie Benzies. His role in the company often fell in the shadow of its Houser brother founders, but emails that emerged in the wake of Benzies' subsequent $150m lawsuit against Rockstar showed he was a key creative brain on both the first Red Dead and the GTA series - and one who may be difficult to replace.

But work has undeniably been progressing. The largest Red Dead Redemption 2 leak saw the game's map supposedly spilled online. It suggested a couple of things: the next Red Dead will be set chronologically before Redemption (which makes sense, as RDR portrayed the dying days of the Wild West) and that there would be a small amount of overlap with the Redemption map.

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Both the Tall Trees and Great Plains areas will apparently make a return, meaning another visit to the town of Blackwater. But as the game will be set further in the past it looks like Blackwater could be more akin to Redemption's opening settlement Armadillo.

History fans will know it makes sense the game's map is geographically set further to the east. As a prequel, the Wild West's frontier will have been less advanced at the time.

This also fits with Blackwater not having a railway (sorry, "railroad") on the new map - although new areas further east will.

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Red Dead Redemption and the new map combined and redrawn for clarity.

Setting the game as a prequel may also allow fans to meet characters from the first Red Dead Redemption - many of whom did not make it to the game's end (*sniff*).

The new map is larger than that of Red Dead Redemption, although a fair portion of it is made up of water (you can see a clearer version just above, redrawn by MrTibbs). Previously you couldn't swim, although the introduction of underwater areas in GTA5 and the existence of islands on this new map suggests you will be taking to sea.

Another interesting thing to note is the largest settlement on the map: New Bordeaux - a fictional version of New Orleans - seen just recently in Mafia 3, another 2K-published title, although in the 1960s.

A map key denotes towns, settlements, caravan camps, gang hideouts, landmarks, homesteads and robbery locations.

Ranches, dams, coves and cabins all make appearances on the map, along with an island that hosts a prison.

A box-out appears to indicate a very small section of the game will be set further south in Mexico (after the complaints about Redemption's Mexico portion last time around it's unsurprising to see the country will feature in a far smaller capacity).

Red Dead Redemption 2 - trailer, rumoured map and location, returning characters and everything we know Every shred of info we have on the upcoming Rockstar Red Dead sequel. Red Dead Redemption 2 - trailer, rumoured map and location, returning characters and everything we know

Red Dead Redemption is, of course, now available to play on Xbox One via the console's backwards compatibility service - which Digital Foundry found was by far the best way to experience the game.

PlayStation 4 owners? Well you can now pay to download the not-great PS2 game Red Dead Revolver if you so choose - but it's nothing like Redemption.

Of course, slight note of caution. Rockstar still hasn't promised anything. This could be a teaser for a new PS4 remaster of Redemption. It may be a new Rockstar Table Tennis. But GTA5 was revealed on 25th October 2011 - five years ago next week.

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