Today the public got its most in-depth look at Red Dead Redemption II to date with a six-minute gameplay trailer that highlighted the many new features coming to Rockstar's first game built from the ground up for the current-generation consoles. The richly detailed world – from striking vistas of pristine landscapes to densely packed shelves in the general store – proved the famed open-world developer is taking its craft to the next level.
The six-minute clip gives us a lot to digest, so we cut up the trailer to highlight the features we're most excited about.
Insanely Detailed Weapons
Max Payne 3 featured some of the most detailed gun design ever seen in third-person shooters, and this aspiration for authenticity carries over to Red Dead Redemption II. In this trailer alone, we see unique reload and shooting animations for revolvers, repeaters, and shotguns. Morgan even takes time to polish one of his six-shooters, giving players a nice view of the weapon detail. Looking at the guns of the fellow outlaws, it looks like some have unique custom handles as well. We hope the gunsmiths let you tailor the look of your firearms.
The Tiny Combat Reticle Returns
Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer the subtly of this small reticle to the giant, complex ones you see in many modern third-person shooters. It keeps the action looking cinematic and also gives you accuracy to the pixel. I'm glad to it carries over from Red Dead Redemption, as well as the X mark on the map that shows you where there are dead bodies to loot.
Another Gang Member With Dead-Eye Aim
It looks like Arthur Morgan is just as talented as his partner in crime, John Marston, when it comes to shootouts. The famed dead-eye system from Red Dead Redemption returns with a new sheen.
Improved Melee Combat
Hand-to-hand combat has never been a focus of Rockstar open-world games, but it looks like Rockstar is taking a major step forward with its fisticuffs in Red Dead Redemption II. In the few fistfights we see in the trailer, you can see block, kick, grapple, and shove mechanics.
Varied, Intricate Vistas
The attention to detail and draw distance in the environments is remarkable in and of itself. Then, consider how many different biomes Rockstar has created in Red Dead Redemption II. In this trailer alone we see a modernizing Blackwater city, dusty cattle towns, bustling villages with abodes sprinkled around the main street, dense forests, mountains covered in deep snow, arid deserts, and everything in between. Each of these looks more lifelike and authentic than the original game thanks to minor details and impressive lighting. To keep the environments front and center, it appears Rockstar has opted for a minimal HUD as well.
A Dynamic Ecosystem
Based on this clip, it looks like various wildlife that wanders the vast expanses of open terrain in Red Dead Redemption have their eyes on more than just the humans wandering into harm's way. Various animals square off against each other dynamically, and you may just stumble upon a fight that leaves you a healthy heap of animal skins to sell.
A Reactive World
This small clip demonstrates how the world can react to your actions. As Morgan pulls the trigger and downs an enemy by the barn, we see bats disperse from the rooftop. You also get a glimpse of this reactive dynamic in an earlier sequence where Morgan is thrown through a saloon window. He lands in the mud, which leaves his clothing soiled exactly where he landed. As his aggressor approaches in the thoroughfare, a crowd naturally gathers around them to gawk at the fight.
A Man and His Horse
Rockstar has previously detailed how it wants to create a strong bond between horse and player in Red Dead Redemption II. We see some of that in action in this trailer, as Morgan takes time to tame a wild stallion, brush his steed, and store extra weapons in his saddlebags. Some horses are better off being used for certain tasks, which should drive a healthy economy if you like taming horses and selling them off for profit. The horse animations look dramatically improved as well; I particularly love the moment where a horse bucks off its rider as Morgan buries a bullet in him.
More Varied Interactions With Strangers
As with Marston in the previous game, you don’t need to make Morgan an irredeemable outlaw. The honor system returns and takes into account how you react to strangers you come across. Sure, you can intimidate witnesses to your crimes or even rob them, but you could also choose to walk away from fights and diffuse tense situations and build relationships instead. This system works both ways, so don’t be surprised if your bad (or good) reputation precedes you as you walk into a new town and are recognized for your past transgressions (or good deeds).
Another Collection Of Interesting Side Characters
Red Dead Redemption boasted several memorable interactions with characters like Nigel West Dickens, Landon Ricketts, and Bonnie McFarlane. This gameplay trailer teases some of the varied personalities we can expect to come across in the follow-up, including what appears to be a man of science, brothel madame, and a man who likes to think of himself as an oilman.
Parlor Games Return
Sometimes you want to take a break from all the gunplay and relax with some good old-fashioned gambling. RDR included era-specific parlor games like liar’s dice, blackjack, poker, and five-finger fillet, so it’s only fitting the next game in the series carries forward that tradition. Here we see Morgan playing cards with some fellow Van der Linde gang members using currency amounts that make way more sense for the time period than the hefty sums gambled in Thieves’ Landing last time around. Perhaps these moments can act as bonding activities (or lead to serious fallout) with your fellow outlaws.
Organic Side Missions
One of the ways Red Dead Redemption stood out from other open-world games was you never had an overwhelming to-do list of side missions. This could be carrying forward in the sequel. As we see Morgan interact with his compatriots, the trailer indicates this is how many side missions may organically arise within the game. The lady putting her hand on Morgan’s also could imply romances may develop among the camp members.
Taking Friends Along For The Ride
Not all activities in Red Dead Redemption II are about living the outlaw life; sometimes you just want to relax (or help out the camp’s food situation) by hunting or fishing. Judging from this trailer, you can invite camp members along for these activities should you want some company.
Enjoying Camp Life
In addition to performing various tasks to keep the camp running, you can also enjoy some downtime with your partners in crime. These moments may provide an incentive to rush back to camp every night to hear character backstories or enjoy some song and dance in between all the gunfights and heists. We even see a happy young family sitting around the campfire that appears to be John Marston, Abigail, and young Jack.
Living On The Run
With lawmen and bounty hunters always in pursuit, the Van der Linde gang can't stay in one place too long before finding a new place to hide. The trailer shows the outlaws picking up camp and moving out. Since they have some big wagons in the cavalcade, it appears the group is at great risk of ambush during these sequences. I'm curious to see how much say the player has in where they decide to make camp down the road.