Red Dead Redemption was not only one of 2010’s best selling games, it was one of the most critically acclaimed games of the year. The compelling story, detailed game mechanics, and the vast swathes of dangerous wilderness kept players invested for years after its release. The sandbox world of the wild West gave players their own version of Westworld to explore, free to capture bounties holed up in the mountains or aid revolutions south of the border to their heart’s desire. The random encounters riddled across the map kept players on their toes while making the world feel more real and chaotic. And that was all only in the single player version of game.
Red Dead Redemption’s Online component also set a new bar for sandbox multiplayer games. The ability to create and organize gangs as well as engage in intense shootouts with other skilled players set the framework for what would become GTA V’s amazing multiplayer experience. And who could possibly forget the genre changing DLC expansion, Undead Nightmare, that turned to the American West into a zombie infested hell hole, complete with rideable demon horses.
Due to all of this, it is of no surprise that Red Dead Redemption 2 is gearing up to be one of 2017’s most hotly anticipated games of the year. Despite Rockstar’s pristine record of releasing great quality games, they’ve set quite a high bar for themselves in attempting to outdo the lightening in a bottle they caught with RDR. However, if they stay true to the atmosphere and tone of the first game, and follow this advice, they’ll be releasing an even more legendary game than its predecessor.
15 Multiple Player Characters
When it was first announced that GTA V would have three player characters, it seemed like a bit more of a gimmick to deviate from its previous games than a truly enhanced gameplay experience. But those thoughts were quickly silenced once players saw how much fun having multiple characters could be. Having the freedom to play with different special abilities, personalities, and intersecting stories makes this feature an absolute shoo-in for Red Dead Redemption 2. Judging from Rockstar’s pattern of releasing larger, and larger sandbox maps with each new title, having multiple characters scattered across the map could make for a much easier and more natural way of exploring it, than simply fast traveling. The vast lands could unfold as the player uses each character from the regions of the different regions of the map.
14 Director Mode For The Wild West
The Wild West is the perfect setting for Rockstar’s Director Mode. Director Mode, made popular by the ridiculous videos created on GTA V, gives players the ability to reload clips and edit the camera to turn playthroughs into cinematic mini movies. With online capabilities, friends would be able to film intense and intricate stories. Getting to recreate scenes from classic Western movies would be a joy. Whether it’s a shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone or a drawn out train robbery, players are going to feel like the stars of their own Western action movies. Players should even be able to record multiplayer deathmatches and races and turn their closest victories into suspenseful shorts. What better way to show off and brag to friends about sharpshooter skills?
13 Revamped Hardcore Mode
The hardcore mode in Red Dead Redemption left a lot to be desired. Instead of shifting the gameplay focus to survivalist activities, (hunting, finding shelter) it mostly just made it harder to kill enemies. A mode that would force a player to stock up his saddle with food or be prepared to hunt or steal for a long journey across the map would make for the ultimate Western experience. Simply trying to stay alive for a couple of days should be a challenge as plays fend themselves off from bandits, starvation, bobcats, and the weather. It would also make beating the game in Hardcore mode that much more rewarding. While it may come off a bit too “simulator” to some, it would offer versatile game play and better replay value.
12 Natural Disasters
What makes the Wild West one of the best settings for a videogame is that there's constant danger around every corner. Cowboys and pioneers had to be prepared for whatever the frontier threw at them. Not only were bandits and predators a threat, but the very land and weather itself. The American West is home to some of the United State’s most intense natural disasters. Tornadoes, sandstorms, mudslides, wildfires, flash floods, and even earthquakes could cause devastating amounts of damage in moments. If Red Dead Redemption 2 captures even one of these phenomena as a random encounter, it would completely change the way players would think about the map, knowing full well the ground below and the sky above them could kill them. Players might think twice about crossing Tornado Alley.
11 More Wildlife
Perhaps the most defining characteristic of the Wild West is the vast amounts of wildlife that call it home. Red Dead Redemption did a great job of introducing this by giving players the opportunity to hunt (or get hunted by) animals like bears, coyotes, and wild boars. It would be amazing to see Rockstar expand upon this feature. Imagine the player not only being to able to bait a falcon, but then be able to train it and help the player hunt and explore. Maybe the player could also break in unorthodox animals to ride, like a moose or buffalo. Or instead of just coming across a black bear or two, get to see a large sloth of them moving across a meadow knowing full well if they sense you, you’re dead.
10 Destructible Environments
Rockstar has been creating sandbox style games for an extremely long time now. Since creating the hustle and bustle of Liberty City in GTA III, Rockstar has been releasing incredible maps for players to explore. While each map has gotten bigger and more detailed with each new sandbox game Rockstar released, they have yet to solve the problem of a structure standing perfectly fine after having a sticks of dynamite thrown at it. Destructible environments is a lot to ask for, so it would be unfair to expect an map to be completely destructible, but it’s time Rockstar started to add as much detail to building and environmental damage as they do to cars in in the GTA series. Besides, getting to blow a hole in the side of a bank or a jail to get inside or out would be a blast.
9 Undead Nightmare 2! (or Similar DLC Expansion)
Undead Nightmare not only bought along a whole new storyline for the player to beat, but changed the mechanics of the game to give an entirely different and addictively fun set of challenges to survive. Not taking themselves too seriously, Rockstar took the fairly solemn story of John Marston and his family and turned it on its head, making it a zombie themed nightmare. By changing the gameplay and how danger occurred, Rockstar gave their game incredible replay value. Due to its popularity, Rockstar would be remiss if they didn’t include a game changing DLC like this one. Whether they want to go back to the living dead, or go a different route, like an alien invasion, it will surely add hours of more fun to their game.
8 More Agile Player Character
For such a stoic man, John Marston, the protagonist of Red Dead Redemption, was a bit for a clutz. Despite being a frontiersman that should’ve been adapted to the rough terrain of the West, players found their character stumbling around like a drunken fool at the slightest notion of uneven land. It didn’t seem like John Marston had much ability to explore anything other than flat firm ground. Getting a player character that can climb up can ledges and swim across rivers would make for a much more realistic Western character, ready to take on whatever the terrain throws at them. He doesn’t need to have Assassin’s Creed style free running, jumping from tree to tree like a flying squirrel, but a bit more natural movement and flexibility over what terrain the player can traverse would make for a better character and experience.
7 Controllable Boats
While the map has yet to be released for Red Dead Redemption 2, one can assume that there will be many bodies of water featured, much like in the previous game. Unfortunately, the bodies of water that were featured, mainly the San Luis River, were pretty static and mostly just served as barriers to parts of the map yet to be unlocked. The truth is, during the time of Frontier’s men, boats were an essential mode of transportation. Getting to paddle down river in a canoe as a giant casino ferry boat passes by would make for a much more fun and immersive experience. Getting to then hijack and send that giant casino ferry boat over a waterfall would just be the violent cherry up top.
6 New Austin Redux
While it’s great that Rockstar is probably creating a whole new map for Red Dead Redemption 2, it would be a lot of fun to revisit a location from the previous game to see how it’s changed. While it’s still unclear whether or not Red Dead Redemption is a prequel or sequel, either way it would be fun to see how towns like Blackwater and Armadillo have changed. If it’s a prequel, maybe players could see the early settlements of Blackwater, or a time when Thieves Landing wasn’t just filled with brothels and, well, thieves. If it’s a sequel, it would be amazing to see how a town evolved, like Armadillo, either grown to a hustling town like Blackwater or turned to a ghost town by bandits. Getting to explore areas that players did before would not only be a fun shout out to the original game, but help cement the world that Rockstar is trying to create.
5 More Interiors
Much like destructible environments, Rockstar’s incredible maps leave a bit to be desired when it comes to interior locations. The feeling of having your character stand at a high lookout point, letting the player see just how much freedom they have to explore gets muddled once the player wanders into a city and realizes that ninety percent of the structures have no way to enter them. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a great opportunity to start opening those interiors up. Unlike the GTA series, with skyscrapers and an uncountable amount of buildings, the map would have far less interiors to create with hardly any exceeding two stories. Instead having a countless shootouts at each of the saloons over and over again like in the first game, getting to hole up in almost any interior and defend yourself from invading bandits or lawmen would be amazing.
4 Customizable Hideout
Every good protagonist needs a great hideout. Whether the protagonist from Red Dead Redemption 2 will be a bandit butting heads against the law, or a lawman tracking down bandits, they’ll probably need a good hideout or home base to get the job done. It would be great to choose from a few locations and then customize them from there. Imagine a bandit’s hideout cave only accessible by going through a waterfall, with a stockpile of guns and ammo ready to go. Or maybe the player could have the ability to buy and customize their own ranch, getting to add stables or chicken coops to bring in money. It would be a small feature that would have a big impact on how the player views the map, knowing they have a place to call their own.
3 Bigger, More Detailed Map
In terms of creating large maps without them feeling too empty or crowded, Rockstar sets the standard. They’ve seemed to hit the sweet spot of having huge swathes of land to explore without it becoming too repetitive or empty, supported by the random encounter missions that keep things interesting. That’s why players should expect nothing less for the next Red Dead Redemption map. It should be larger than the previous map, giving an even more vast feeling that the real Western United States does, but also hold even more details and interaction to make every nook and crannie of New Austin a reward to explore. While the first game did a great job of capturing many different classic regions of the West, there are still so many to choose from, including the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.
2 Story Mode Co-op
Isn’t funny how when televisions finally get large enough to comfortably support couch co-op without players having to sit a foot from the screen, it seems to get yanked from every title and replaced by online Co-op? Not, really. While couch co-op for Red Dead Redemption 2’s story mode would be wildly entertaining, even an online co-op mode would make for an extremely fun new feature. If Red Dead Redemption 2 decides to go with multiple player characters as previously mentioned, this could be fairly easy to implement, with players controlling main story characters as they appear in the game. Then, you and your buddy could team up to take on the dangers of the West. After all, every Butch Cassidy needs his Sundance Kid.
1 More Immersive Multiplayer Experience
The online component to the previous Red Dead Redemption game was fun, but merely a shadow compared to what GTA V’s online component has evolved into over the years. Red Dead 2’s multiplayer needs to have the same creative freedom and energy around it to give players that same feeling of endless possibilities. While they can’t exactly create stunt races for a Western themed game, exploring the Western map with a total of 31 other online players would be much more exhilarating than the few, players would find scattered across the map in the previous game. Players would actually spend more time creating spontaneous shoot outs and chases in the larger open world lobby, than simply trying to join the next shoot out mission. If Red Dead Redemption 2 is able to capture the chaos and madness of GTA V’s online experience, than Red Dead Redemption 2 is set to be greatest game to game to come out for years to come.