Red Dead 2 Online Beta: What We Want To See In The Multiplayer Mode
By Chris Pereira and Matt Espineli and Phil Hornshaw on
All The Things We Want
Rockstar finally revealed more details about Red Dead Online. And don't worry, you don't have to wait long; the beta will be available to play this week. Owners of the Special Edition will have first dibs on November 27, while everyone else will steadily have full access starting November 30. It's hard not to be excited about the upcoming mode given how amazing the main game was. But can Rockstar do right by the mode and put out a substantial online component? Time will tell, and it'll tell us soon.
The lot of players lucky enough to jump into online early will enter Rockstar's new version of the Old West, populated by other gun-toting, lasso-flipping, online outlaws. However, two major questions still weigh heavily on those cowpokes, raiders, and gunslingers who eagerly await the multiplayer portion of Red Dead Redemption 2: what will it entail?
We have a vague sense from Red Dead Online's Trophies and Achievements that we'll be performing familiar tasks like gathering plants and hunting, but we've also caught whiffs of a mysterious posse system. According to Rockstar, Red Dead Online "blends the classic multiplayer of the original Red Dead Redemption with the best of everything we have learned since then about creating deep multiplayer experiences." The publisher states that it'll be an experience that will expand and evolve over time.
Rockstar continues: "With the gameplay of Red Dead Redemption 2 as its foundation, Red Dead Online transforms the vast and deeply detailed landscapes, cities, towns and habitats of Red Dead Redemption 2 into a new, living online world ready to be shared by multiple players."
There's still much we don't know about what we'll be doing while moseying around Red Dead Online. If Grand Theft Auto Online is any indication, we can guess that robberies, heists, and other outlaw-type activities will be a big part of the experience, and we might also do things like create homesteads and gather stables full of horses.
With so much unknown, though, we've taken a few minutes to think about all the Old West activities we'd love to see show up in Red Dead Online. There are plenty of ways the multiplayer portion of Red Dead 2 could expand on the game, and not just in the thievin' and killin' you might do with a bandanna wrapped around your face. We've put down a few of our favorite ideas, ranging from little tweaks and additions to pie-in-the-sky dreams.
And while you're waiting for Red Dead Online, there's plenty to do in the story mode of Red Dead 2--but finding everything can be pretty daunting. Luckily, we've got guides to help: whether you're new to the game, hunting Legendary Animals, trying to track down the best and rarest guns in the game, tallying Easter eggs, or getting into the business of breaking horses. And if you just want a series of handy shortcuts, check out these cheats.
Becoming The New Sheriff In Town
The West was full of outlaws, but it was also full of grizzled lawmen--and some of whom were closer to anti-heroes than actual heroes, like their outlaw counterparts. Red Dead Online might have something in this vein already baked in, but the ability to stroll into a town and pick the tin star off a fresh corpse as the desperate townsfolk beg you for help routing local bandits seems essential. There's some indication that Red Dead Online will let you form a posse, so making those posses composed of temporarily deputized players with plans to take down another gang's hideout seems like a no-brainer. Just as long as there are plenty of opportunities to look stern, maybe chew a piece of hay or spit, and tap that star on your chest with righteous judicial menace. -- Phil Hornshaw, Editor
GTA Online-Style Heists
For as frustrating as GTA Online can be--there's nothing like getting wrecked by an overpowered troll in a flying car with an orbital cannon at their disposal--it has also provided me with some of my all-time favorite online multiplayer experiences. Specifically, its heists, where you and three friends perform various set-up missions and then execute on some larger plan, have provided me with some unforgettable thrills.
Red Dead Online seems like a natural fit for heists of its own. It's not hard to imagine establishing a gang with some friends, carrying out set-up missions where you steal horses, carriages, or plans, and then each of you simultaneously performs your independent tasks as part of a complex, large-scale mission. One player providing cover from a hilltop, two breaking into an enemy encampment to steal something, and a fourth coming in at the last minute with the getaway horses sounds like great fun. And it's just the sort of focused missions that will nicely complement the more relaxing, low-key activities that are sure to make up much of Red Dead Online. -- Chris Pereira, Engagement Editor
The Ability To Act Out a Character
The assumption is that Red Dead Online will be a lot like Red Dead 2's story mode, but with other people. Already there are predictions of heists and train robberies, riding against other players' gangs, and other outlaw-type things. There's a lot more to the Old West than shootin' and robbin', though. A Red Dead Online that allows you to make your way in the world as a smooth-talkin' gambler, who never robs anybody (except of their chips), could be an awesome opportunity not often seen in video games.
In fact, the possibility of a bunch of Western roles being available in Red Dead Online gets exciting in a hurry. What about buying a ranch and working it, occasionally fending off wolves and (probably more often) cattle-rustlers, as you try to lay claim to a small chunk of America? Or turning away from the trail and the law to become not a gunslinger, but a gunslinging entertainer like Wild Bill Hickok? Or making a fortune panning for gold (or freezing to death one winter in the attempt)? Or becoming a robber baron railroad tycoon other players would work to take down? It's easy to expand the scope of Red Dead Online to the point of being impossible to support, but even some inkling of the possibilities of the West that go beyond duels at high noon could be really fun and different. -- Phil Hornshaw, Editor
Lots Of Free Roam Events
One area where Rockstar has made some terrific advancements with GTA Online are in the events that periodically take place in the open world, without any matchmaking or loading. It's all well and good to decide you want to queue up for a particular mode or activity, but having things seamlessly unfold while you roam the world provides some dynamism and unexpected fun the world would otherwise lack.
My favorite things in Red Dead Redemption 2's single-player campaign are the stranger encounters and other events you happen upon without formally starting up a mission. I hope to see these same types of things littered throughout Red Dead Online's world, but I also want to encounter low-commitment, silly competitions that include the dozens of players in your session. While Red Dead might not lend itself to many of the events that GTA Online offers (many of which rely on flying vehicles or fast cars), there's still room to spice up your time in free roam. -- Chris Pereira, Engagement Editor
Owning And Taking Care of a Homestead/Farm
One of the major features of Grand Theft Auto Online was property ownership. It was mostly a cosmetic element of the game and existed more for your own satisfaction than for gameplay. While I'd like the same for Red Dead Online, it would be awesome if there was more of a management system attached to it. This would be well-suited if you were able to purchase land to operate a ranch, farm, or even a homestead you can manage alongside multiple players.
What I'd love even more is if the game made it completely viable for you to spend all of your time managing your property and doing the daily tasks required to maintain it. You could raise crops, tend to livestock, purchase supplies and materials in town, and just take care of the folks who live on the property.
But what I really mean to say out of all this is that I'd love to be spending all my time managing a pig farm only for one day to have another player ride through on horseback asking me to help him fulfill a bounty. I'll then respond, "I ain't like that no more." He'll then tell me where I can meet him should I change my mind before riding off. After giving it some thought, I'll decide that I do in fact want to take that bounty and end up getting caught in a deeper drama that ultimately has my once peaceful farmer avatar falling back into a world of violence. And before you ask: yes, I just described the plot of Unforgiven. -- Matt Espineli, Editor
Since I made such a big deal about how much I liked hanging out with the Van der Linde gang members in the story mode of Red Dead 2, I'd be remiss not asking for something similar to make its way into Red Dead Online. It looks as though players can band together in posses, but can they form gangs? Hopefully so, complete with their own well-defended hideouts where they can hang out, get drunk, sing campfire songs, and generally cut loose in the same relaxed capacity that Red Dead 2 leans into on the story side. A social space where groups can lounge around together in-game would be pretty nice, especially if it contains some of the cool things the Van der Linde camp does, like spots to play Poker and Five-Finger Fillet together. -- Phil Hornshaw, Editor
Play as Other Members of The Van der Linde Gang
Arthur Morgan is cool 'n all, but there were times when I was playing Red Dead 2 where I really wished I could play as other members of the Van der Linde gang. While I fully support the artistic decision to have you play as only Arthur the whole way through, it didn't stop me from desperately wanting to inhabit characters like Lenny, Charles, and Sadie. I'm hoping Rockstar can figure out a fun way to implement playing as them--maybe as unlockable skins or during the competitive multiplayer activities. -- Matt Espineli, Editor
Quick Draw Duels
It wouldn't feel right if Red Dead Online didn't allow you the ability to engage in quick-draw duels with other players. While it was lightly featured in Red Dead 1's multiplayer in gang shootouts, it never quite reached the same cinematic highs as the ones in single-player. With the improved quick-draw mechanics in Red Dead 2, it would be awesome if you could challenge any player to a duel--should they wish to accept it, of course. While it won't stop folks from indiscriminately shooting each other, it would be a much-appreciated gesture to at least have the option to fight one another in the only civil way that cowboys and outlaws know how. -- Matt Espineli, Editor
A Horde Mode Like In RDR's Undead Nightmare DLC
While I'm all for having in-depth heists and other activities to do with friends online, I also want something that lends itself to turning my brain off. Red Dead Redemption's zombie-themed Undead Nightmare DLC had just the ticket with its Undead Overrun mode, a co-op affair where you fight off waves of enemies. It's mindless, but that's what I'm hoping for here.
Introducing some complexity would be fine, but I'm not looking for an experience along the lines of Call of Duty's Zombies modes. All I want is a relatively basic co-op mode where my friends and I can dispatch waves of enemies (whether they're zombies, rival gang members, or something else) with little regard for much beyond weapon choice and ammo count. This isn't what I want from all of Red Dead Online, but as one option among a variety of activities, it would be a welcome way to kill some time. -- Chris Pereira, Engagement Editor
More Campfire Songs To Learn, Along With Musical Instruments
When it comes to campfire songs in Red Dead 2, we need more. There will never be enough. For that matter, I want to be able to buy a guitar, get my character to learn a few chords, and become the Javier or Uncle of my outlaw band--always at the ready with a song on the trail and by the fire. The campfire moments in Red Dead 2 are pretty great in general, and those long horseback rides will always be a little better if you can strike up a song session with your buds to pass the time. Playing your own music was one of the best features of another cooperative outlaw multiplayer game, Sea of Thieves, and Red Dead Online could take it even further.
What's more, it'd be great if part of the experience of exploring Red Dead Online's multiplayer Old West included the ability to learn new songs, and maybe even teach them to friends and other players. Coupling that with the capability to find and equip some musical instruments, including and beyond just the guitar mentioned above, and Red Dead Online could become a perfect trailblazing multiplayer experience. -- Phil Hornshaw, Editor
More Gun Twirling Animations
I mostly highlighted my love for gun twirling in our feature on what we love about Red Dead 2, but let me reiterate it here. When it comes to what constitutes some of the best moments of Western films, the quickdraw duels are often the first to be mentioned, but the coolest is what follows them when the lone gunfighter on-screen twirls their revolver back into the holster of their gun belt. It's stylish flourish that's almost cocky, but gosh, don't I just adore it.
One of my biggest wishes for Red Dead Online would be for more gun twirling animations. I could definitely see them implemented as possible emotes to use after duels or just when you're hanging around with friends. Though, if it were up to me, I'd just be linking together twirling animations to look like Revolver Ocelot from Metal Gear Solid. I can see it now: just lil' ol' me juggling revolvers on the side of the road. -- Matt Espineli, Editor
A Ton Of Easter Eggs From Every Western Ever
The number of classic Western films is really enormous, giving Rockstar the opportunity to slip all sorts of fun references and callbacks into the Red Dead Online world. I want an emote that makes me cough like Doc Holliday, a chance to stumble across a blacksmith shop (or tombstone) belonging to one Doctor Emmett Brown. While a bunch of callbacks to westerns might have been a little distracting in the story mode of Red Dead Redemption 2 (not to mention potentially taking away from the sombre tale the game tells over its runtime), Red Dead Online is a perfect playground to go nuts with mentions of all sorts of things, from Rooster Cogburn to a particular poncho-sporting desperado who shall remain nameless. Finding the Easter eggs would be fun, but getting an excuse to check out each of the westerns to which they pertain would be even better. --Phil Hornshaw, Editor