I know, it’s absolutely crazy to imagine that the sequel to Red Dead Redemption could be released this year. It’s now almost August and the game hasn’t even been officially announced or acknowledged by developer Rockstar. The only info that we have about the highly anticipated sequel is a supposed leak of the world map and that’s it. Well, there’s also that rumour that it was supposed to be revealed during Sony’s E3 press conference but was scrapped last minute in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting that happened prior to E3. Is it possible that Red Dead could release this year and if so, why would it be a brilliant move by Rockstar?
Last year, Bethesda revealed Fallout 4 at E3 and released it 6 months later in November of 2015. It was in direct contrast of how many games are revealed and how the hype is built up for a game. Usually a game is announced 12 to 18 months before their release date and suffer a delay or two along the way. Rockstar’s own GTA 5 suffered from this as it was definitely announced much too soon. There seemed to be an incredibly long waiting period from announcement to release, on top of that, it was delayed to fall 2013 after a spring 2013 release window was given.
Red Dead Redemption sold over 13 million units over its lifetime, what benefit is there by announcing the game a year before release? There is absolutely no need to build up hype for the game and Red Dead is one of the few games that can pull off having a quick turnaround from announcement to being released and sell millions of copies. In fact, the length of time between announcement and release can actually have a detrimental effect on the hype and excitement for a game. It leads to the initial wow factor and newness wearing off and leaves the game open to being scrutinised heavily on every level by fans and critics alike, especially insignificant aspects that are used in online discussions among eager fans and internet trolls.
Rockstar would lose nothing by announcing the game in September and releasing it in November. By doing that, they could capitalise on the fever pitch hype that already surrounds this game. Red Dead Redemption was the most wanted game for backwards compatibility since Microsoft announced the initiative last E3 and the launch of the game being BC on Xbox One had all the excitement of a new game release as sales of the game rose over 6000 percent earlier this month. It also benefits from not being an annualised sequel like so many games, it’s been six years since Red Dead Redemption and fans are salivating for more Red Dead goodness.
If Rockstar announced the game in September or October alongside a fantastic trailer and ends it with a November release date, social media and the rest of the internet would lose its mind. The fact that the game would be releasing in a month or two would be all the marketing the game would need. Everyone went crazy last year when Bethesda announced Fallout 4 six months before release and Rockstar is the one company that could release a game whenever they want, going up against any competition, including big sellers like Call of Duty, and have nothing to worry about as their games will destroy any game in their release window sales wise. This is a company that makes billions of dollars off their releases in days and Red Dead 2 has the potential to be their most successful game yet, yes, even more so than Grand Theft Auto.
Imagine a scenario where the game is announced and for a month new info is released on a consistent basis. Weekly gameplay videos by the developer showing all the new mechanics or describing the long development process. One year of marketing could be crammed into one month leading up to what could potentially be Rockstar’s biggest and most successful game launch of all-time.
Will any of this actually happen? I feel like there’s a 50/50 chance, but am more inclined to believe that a spring 2017 release date is more likely, however, I would not be surprised at all if we get a 2016 release date in the coming weeks.