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Red Dead Redemption 2 Fans Have Been Let Down

Red Dead Redemption 2 was a modern day classic. It is one of the best games of the last generation, and one of the best selling too. It sold more than twice the copies of God of War. So why the hell has its post-game support been so lousy?


The final nail in the coffin came this week when Rockstar revealed it has pulled devs from Red Dead Online to work on Grand Theft Auto 6. There will be no more major updates – as though there ever really was in the first place.

And I speak as someone with less than zero interest in the online elements of this game. Friends tell me it had potential, but never really popped. I can believe it.

But the single player potential was huge. There was an entire world to explore, and a hungry fanbase who would’ve paid almost whatever for a return to it. And don’t forget this game’s holy grail: Undead Nightmare. Almost no other franchise commands the potential hype for a piece of DLC than Rockstar – and they didn’t bother.

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Red Dead’s system upon system upon system made it difficult to add to, or the content that was in the game existed despite the world it exists in, not because of it. Perhaps the sometimes mixed reaction from casual gamers upset some exec somewhere, and they were worried that more content would just help people confirm that issue. There are countless maybes here. And we’ll never know.

The cynical reading is that execs wanted a repeat of Grand Theft Auto Online’s success and it just never came. So they took their toys and went home. I hope that’s incorrect, but it probably isn’t.

Red Dead Is Dead

The saddest hint at that also came in the last few days. It was rumoured that remasters of Grand Theft Auto 4 and Red Dead Redemption were cancelled because of the negative reaction to the GTA Trilogy.

Well first of all, it sold over 10m units. So “negative reaction” is ridiculous. But secondly, and probably more importantly, that negative reaction was a result of doing an awful job at porting PS2 games to modern devices. It wasn’t because the games were old, it’s because we wanted them to be treated with the respect they deserve.

That executives can look at that situation and see it as a slight against them is worrying, but unsurprising. Their job is to feed the machine – how dare the machine demand food, instead of gruel?

I think Grand Theft Auto 6 is going to be a different beast than we’re used to, and I’m genuinely worried for it. My usual reaction would be to say the old games are still there, but they’re not. They were removed to make way for the latest ports. Red Dead Redemption 2 hasn’t had an update to unlock it from the last-gen consoles and maybe never will. Thankfully it released on PC, not something we’ve always been able to take for granted.

Red Dead Redemption fans have been let down, but that’s just the start. This is the new Rockstar, and there is enough disappointment to go around.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott