When Rockstar Games took the reins of Capcom’s wayward Red Dead Revolver back in 2002 it was clear that they could have used more time re-shoeing the title from an awkward Gun Smoke update to a title worthy of the highly respected Rockstar name. While Revolver is by no means worthy of Rockstar’s regret, Red Dead Redemption is a fitting title for an ambitious sequel that already looks set to eclipse its predecessor in every way possible.
Reflecting the time period’s evolution from the lawless Wild West into an organised federally controlled country, Revolver’s linear gun-slinging third person shooter has matured into Redemption’s sprawling sandbox of opportunity, relaxing that itchy trigger-finger allowing the player to carve out their own destiny in this fascinating period of American history. “Our ambition was to capture the essence of the time,” says Rockstar’s PR Manager CJ Gibson.
Set a good half a century on from Revolver, Redemption follows reformed outlaw John Marston as his attempts to live an honest life are ruined when The Bureau (who would later become the FBI) issue him a horrifying ultimatum – he must once again pick up arms and wipe out the remaining members of his former gang. Rather than a simplistic tale of good versus evil, the boundaries of right and wrong are blown open, left for the player determine.
The game world promises to be one of the biggest Rockstar have ever created, consisting of three massive areas – New Austin, West Elizabeth and Nuevo Paraiso – each one representing varying stages of civilisation in the rapidly evolving West. Our adventure begins in the bustling Nuevo Paraiso to the South, just across the America/Mexico border. Here John observes a region on the cusp of civil war, leaving the player to choose how much involvement they want have with either side.