Rockstar announces Red Dead Online, forthcoming beta

Red Dead Redemption 2 is getting multiplayer.

Red Dead Online will be the online multiplayer component in Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2, and will operate in a similar manner to Grand Theft Auto Online. It will drop players into the full size, open world map of Red Dead Redemption 2, catering for massive lobbies of players, all of whom are free to travel where they please and kill who they want.

So, really, just imagine Westworld.

The announcement comes with some allusions to what we can expect from the online experience. Red Dead Online will involve an update cycle, again similar to that of GTA Online, in which content is regularly added over the course of the game’s lifespan to keep it fresh and interesting. Rockstar says this model will “grow and evolve this experience for all players”.

We have not, obviously, seen what Red Dead Online will look like yet in terms of gameplay — and on that score, we’re putting our hype in a holding pattern for now. I’m having flashbacks to Heists controversy in Grand Theft Auto Online, a mode that took years to find its way into the game, despite Rockstar’s regular reassurances that they were “coming soon.”

As exciting as the news of a beta is, we’re still feeling some trepidation, especially when we remember what a mess GTA Online was at launch. Being able to ride around the map of Red Dead Redemption 2 with your friends will be fun, but as an ongoing multiplayer experience? Potentially less as much. Grand Theft Auto Online rakes in a lot of money for Rockstar, but little else beyond community criticism today for its tired, grindy model, reliant on players buying in-game currency to avoid burning themselves out.

Hopefully, on that front, Red Dead Online will be far more successful. It sounds as if Rockstar are more open to community criticism, and will be looking to the community for feedback during the Beta.

Red Dead Online will be free to everyone who purchases Red Dead Redemption 2. The game will launch in Novembera few weeks after the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 on 26th October 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Sadly, still no news on the title coming to PC. We live in hope.

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