Red Dead Redemption 2

An astounding open world unlikely to be rivalled until well into the next gen, saddled by a throughline from the last.

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Join us for a Red Dead Redemption 2 spoilercast

And if you haven't finished the story, a regular episode too.

We're breaking from our usual fortnightly Eurogamer Podcast schedule to give you a bonus episode this week - a spoiler-filled chat about one of the year's biggest games, Red Dead Redemption 2 - with Martin Robinson discussing his thoughts on how the story wraps up and more.

Things can get tricky if you're unfortunate enough to share the same name as a controversial figure - especially if using the same name as that person on Twitter. Cases of mistaken identity are nothing new - take, for instance, the poor soul named John Lewis who regularly receives customer complaints about queues in a certain popular retail shop.

Having seen through the 60 hours or so of Red Dead Redemption 2's story, I'm now a dozen more into the meat of it all; the idling around a lush open world, picking up threads of stories here and there, tracking the trails of legendary animals in the wilds or following the rumours of supernatural goings on and seeing whatever dark forest they might lead to. It's the part of any Rockstar game I love the most, made all the more enjoyable when everyone's wading through those uncharted areas together, where whispers of strange NPCs or derelict households are shared online like tales around a campfire. It's where the freedom, brilliance and detail of these open world marvels really comes into focus.

FeatureRockstar's history of America

What do Rockstar games tell us about American history?

There is a familiar pattern to media coverage whenever Rockstar publishes a game. There is talk about how the developer has used its newest game to iterate upon and redefine the open world genre. There are almost always articles on how various Hollywood films influenced Rockstar's development process. And there are at least one or two polemics that attack the developer for transgressing established norms about what can and cannot be done in video games. This last type of essay inevitably concludes that video games are bad, and lead to an increase in interpersonal violence as well as the downfall of civilisation.

Red Dead Redemption 2 sales continue strongly

Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2 has earned itself the strongest second week UK physical sales of any game this year - even FIFA 19.

That's after earning the second-highest UK physical launch of the year last week behind FIFA 19.

There were a few other launches last week, but nothing to trouble Red Dead. The physical edition of Football Manager 2019 turned up in the UK chart in ninth position - impressive, considering the large bulk of its sales will be digital.

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Rockstar trumpets $725m Red Dead Redemption 2 sales

Rockstar trumpets $725m Red Dead Redemption 2 sales

Amid shocking revelations around the human cost of development.

Rockstar has trumpeted Red Dead Redemption 2's astronomical sales, claiming it to be the second-biggest entertainment launch of all time.

The sales success of the game comes hot on the heels of shocking revelations about the human cost of the development of Red Dead Redemption 2.

Rockstar said Red Dead Redemption 2, which came out on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on Friday, 26th October, generated over $725m in worldwide retail sell-through during its first three days, making it the second-highest grossing entertainment launch of all time behind Rockstar's own Grand Theft Auto 5, which made over $1bn in three days after it went on sale back in 2013.

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Digital FoundryHow could Red Dead Redemption 2 improve on PC?

Companion app data hack offers up some clues.

Will Red Dead Redemption 2 receive a PC version, and if so, what kind of visual upgrades could Rockstar deliver? The truth is that the existing console versions already possess high-end techniques sometimes reserved for high-end PC GPUs, so on the face of it, the options seem limited. And let's remember that Rockstar hasn't actually confirmed any PC version at all - though a data dump of the RDR2 mobile companion app seems highly indicative.

Red Dead Redemption 2 second biggest UK physical launch of the year

Red Dead Redemption 2 launched last Friday to predictably impressive physical sales, becoming the second biggest launch of 2018 so far - behind FIFA 19.

It's been eight years since Red Dead Redemption 1 launched - and in that time Rockstar's Western series has become a household name. Its no surprise, then, that RDR2 doubled the week one sales of its predecessor.

And that is, of course, without any digital sales counted - include those, and it will have outsold RDR1 even more.

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FeatureThe human cost of Red Dead Redemption 2

According to the people who made it.

Red Dead Redemption 2 launched at midnight last night and, right now, millions of people around the world are playing. It's been a long wait - a friend told me recently they'd placed their pre-order over two years ago. The reviews, as expected, are positive. I can't wait to play it.

Red Dead Redemption 2 looks and plays best on Xbox One X

PlayStation 4 - and latterly, PS4 Pro - have taken centre-stage in Red Dead Redemption 2's pre-release marketing campaign, meaning we have a pretty decent idea of how Rockstar's latest epic presents on Sony hardware. Today, we can discuss the Xbox One versions of the game, and the key takeaway is this: if you're looking for the very best RDR2 experience, Xbox One X is the go-to platform for this game. Rockstar's stunning technological achievement runs at native 4K on the X, and also delivers the smoothest performance. Bearing in mind just how far Rockstar is pushing current-gen hardware, that's a stunning achievement.

With that said, while there are key differences between the four different console versions, the level of commonality in terms of the visual feature set is worth emphasising. Long-time Digital Foundry readers may remember that the original Red Dead Redemption saw a reduction in environment detail - specifically with foliage - on PlayStation 3, with Xbox 360 delivering richer landscapes. There are no such differences that we could spot with the sequel. Environments are equally as lush on all platforms, rendering effects are almost a complete match, while draw distances and pop-in are just as solid regardless of the machine you play it on.

Read Eurogamer's Red Dead Redemption 2 review

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Red Dead Redemption 2 is a landmark technical achievement - and the end result of a unique development situation. With Grand Theft Auto 5, Rockstar has already developed the top-grossing title in the history of the games industry - and with that comes the confidence to invest all of the time, money and resources required to realise its vision for the ultimate game. The final product is technological masterpiece, matching and arguably exceeding the very best first-party efforts of this generation.

Red Dead Redemption 2 review - a peerless open world, and a story in the shadow of its predecessor

It's one of those cute ironies that Rockstar Games, most famous for the virtual cityscapes of the Grand Theft Auto series, would create what many consider its masterpiece when working with the dust and dirt of the wilds. When it launched in 2010, the open-world western Red Dead Redemption was as refreshing as a chill blast of mountain air: a bucolic, melancholy counterpoint to the madcap urban caricature of GTA. And so it's fitting that the sequel, Red Dead Redemption 2, makes its greatest strides in its world.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Developer: Rockstar Games

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Four days before launch, Red Dead Redemption 2 suffers its first gameplay leak

UPDATE 2 - 24th Oct 2018: Rockstar is working to take down Red Dead Redemption 2 video leaks on YouTube.

A raft of videos that emerged today, including the one Eurogamer reported on this morning, are now unavailable on YouTube.

UPDATE 1 - 24th Oct 2018: Red Dead Redemption 2 has suffered another leak - this time apparently from Russia.

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PS4 owners get a timed-exclusive Red Dead Redemption 2 horse

Sony has detailed the timed-exclusive items coming first to PlayStation 4 owners of Red Dead Redemption 2, 30 days before Xbox One.

It's fair to say none of this stuff is going to affect your playthrough too much - there are no exclusive missions or characters, for example - but it's enough that Sony clearly wants to celebrate.

Available from day one of the game's launch is protagonist Arthur Morgan's wool-lined Grizzles Outlaw Outfit, which will also be available for you to wear in November at the launch of Red Dead Online.

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Red Dead Online arrives this November as a public beta

Red Dead Online arrives this November as a public beta

"There will inevitably be some turbulence at launch".

Rockstar has announced that Red Dead Online, the multiplayer component of its upcoming Wild West sequel Red Dead Redemption 2, will arrive in public beta form this November.

Red Dead Online utilises the core gameplay of Red Dead Redemption 2 and offers, according to Rockstar, an "evolution of the classic multiplayer experience in the original Red Dead Redemption". It's said to feature a blend of co-op play and narrative elements, and the mode is due to expand and evolve over time through regular updates and adjustments - presumably in a similar fashion to the enormously successful Grand Theft Auto Online.

Red Dead Online is scheduled to launch this November 2018 and will be available to anyone that owns Red Dead Redemption 2 on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Rockstar is classifying its initial release as a public beta, noting that, "As with most online experiences of this size and scale, there will inevitably be some turbulence at launch".

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Red Dead Redemption was as much about its wilderness as it was John Marsten. The dusty main street of Armadillo, the dense pines of Tall Trees, the plains which separated your farmstead from the creeping modernisation in Blackwater.

Digital FoundryHow Red Dead Redemption 2 uses the power of PS4 Pro

Examining Rockstar's enhanced console debut.

Last week's Red Dead Redemption 2 reveal turned out to offer more than a look at gameplay alone - it was our first chance to check out Rockstar's first work on the enhanced consoles, the entire trailer captured in-game from the PlayStation 4 Pro build. So how is the developer using the console's hardware and based on our findings here, what should we expect from Xbox One X?

Here's our best look at Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay yet

Rockstar's released a new gameplay trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 and it offers the best look at the developer's open-world cowboy epic so far.

The video below (captured entirely from in-game footage on the PlayStation 4 Pro, according to Sony), shows off exploration, horse riding, shooting and fighting as well as a variety of mechanics including hunting, confrontation management and base camp life. You can talk your way out of tense situations, intimidate people, form relationships with NPCs and even groom your horse! It all looks seriously impressive.

Red Dead Redemption 2 comes out 26th October on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For more, check out our Red Dead Redemption 2 guide.

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Rockstar reassures fans over Red Dead Redemption 2's exclusive special edition story missions

Rockstar has responded to fan concerns regarding the exclusive story mission content found within the various special editions of Red Dead Redemption 2.

As revealed yesterday, the £54.99 standard edition of Red Dead Redemption 2 is joined by a £74.99 Special Edition and an £89.99 Ultimate Edition, variously containing exclusive boosts and items for story and online mode. There's also a separate £89.99 Collector's Box, featuring assorted Red Dead paraphernalia, but no game.

Although the more expensive packages' wide array of boosts and items have raised eyebrows, most of the ire has fallen on Rockstar's decision to keep two story missions - Bank Robbery Mission and Gang Hideout - as exclusive to Red Dead 2's Special and Ultimate Editions.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 now has October release date

Red Dead Redemption 2 now has October release date

"We apologise to everyone disappointed by this delay."

Red Dead Redemption 2 will now launch on 26th October for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One - several months later than was previously announced.

It's a significant delay for Rockstar's Wild West sequel, which was previously pegged for a vague "Q1/Q2 2018" date. Before that, it was originally due to arrive in late 2017.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Rockstar apologised to fans waiting for the game and blamed the wait on a need for extra development time:

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FeatureRed Dead Redemption 2's state-of-the-art technology analysed

Digital Foundry on how Rockstar's RAGE engine shines on current-gen consoles.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a truly significant release - not just for Rockstar, but for the entire console generation. It's the first title designed from the ground up for PS4 and Xbox One, after all. Sure GTA5 received an impressive upgrade when it landed on these machines, but it was still very much rooted in last-gen technology. RDR2 goes much further, showcasing many key upgrades added to Rockstar's in-house RAGE engine.

Here's the first Red Dead Redemption 2 story trailer

Rockstar's released a new trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 - and it reveals story information.

The game tells the story of outlaw Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang as, according to the official blurb, "they rob, fight and steal their way across the vast and rugged heart of America in order to survive". That confirms Red Dead Redemption 2 is a prequel, then - you put Dutch Van der Linde's gang down in Red Dead Redemption 1.

The video, which Sony said was captured on PlayStation 4, is heavy on cutscene and light on gameplay. There's plenty of era-appropriate dialogue, some impressive face animation and gorgeous environments.

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If you ignore the lawlessness, the poor irrigation, the ubiquity of dysentery, the backward attitudes on race and oh yes, the abominable treatment of the indigenous population, the wild west was great. Red Dead Redemption was my game of the last generation and I am very much looking forward to revisiting that world when the sequel launches next year.