Few games have impacted, or divided, people in the way Red Dead Redemption 2 has. But the road travelled to this point was an interesting one with much learning. We asked an old games journo to recount his experiences with both Red Dead Revolver and Red Dead Redemption, while he's yet to play Red Dead Redemption 2, for unique reasons.
This is a personal story about how a world -- and genre-respect -- can hogtie someone to the nines.
Here's an excerpt from this wonderful piece:
Well in my mind it's simple: the metamorphosis from its early form of Red Dead Revolver to Red Dead Redemption 2, has been transformative for the Western genre as well as for the development of open-world gameplay. A genre, I might add, that could have been perfectly epitomised by a rolling tumbleweed in a vast desert when Revolver hit retail. That metamorphosis then, perfectly pinpointed the cross-section of technical mastery and immersive storytelling this genre had waiting in the wings. And because of that, it truly resonates with players. It resonates with anyone who has ever dreamed of traversing the wide plains of Wild West America, being a deliverer of justice; icon and a pariah rolled into one.
Click here for Andy's love letter to a genre-in-waiting he now can't play
But, obviously, Red Dead Redemption 2 didn’t come from nowhere, it is the culmination of the lessons learnt since the start of the Red Dead series. It started with the tumultuous production of Red Dead Revolver, before Rockstar purchased early developers Angel Studios and had them continue with the release of Revolver under the name of Rockstar San Diego, where they would go on to also create the powerful RAGE engine that not only powered Red Dead Redemption, but Grand Theft Auto also.
If you remember Revolver it was more of an arcade-style Western. While you played the role of different characters it was ultimately a traditional Western story of revenge. Revolver was an important step, not because it was the first game, but because of the elements it thought to bring in. The protagonist was a loner of mixed race who seeks revenge -- a classic combination of outsider with a moral compass. It represented both the theme of Once Upon a Time in the West and Fistful of Dollars.