Friday, 12 February 2010

Red Dead Redemption - The Old West is back baby, after 5 years of production that is.

The West is back, and I hope its good!
Some of you may recall a game released on the PS2 and Xbox, in 2004, called Red Dead Revolver:

Rockstar decided to make a sequel a year after the original release, in 2005, under the working tittle 'Old West Project'.  Now its only a couple of months away, under the moniker, Red Dead Redemption, and I'm itching for some Old West action.

With Rockstar in charge it can be one of my most rated or most hated games.  See, I love Westerns, Tombstone, Wyatt Earp, Gunfight At The OK Coral, Dances With Wolves, The Good The Bad & The Ugly, Back To The Future III (yes I do seriously like it as a Western as well as >), Westworld and Blazing Saddles. Yes there is quite a few there but I love them, the open lands, the kill or be killed life style, the gun fights, the atmosphere of the west and the art of the gunslinger is just so damn enticing to me.  I suppose its the same with my fascination with Sci-Fi, its escapism, a world I will never truly experience and one I find exciting and dramatic.    It really is thanks to my father I suppose.  His love for the Westerns was absorbed by me at a young age and it stuck.

With so much love for the Western genre am I setting my expectations for it far too high?

Short answer, no.  I may have a love for the genre but Rockstar have a huge opportunity to make something far bigger than Grand Theft Auto.  Not ingame map size, although it is possible, but in stature, critical acclaim and admiration.  The west is such a full and dynamic environment to set a game in.  Just think of all the Westerns you have seen, how many have not been deeply detailed, with rich characters?  I cant think of any and that's the biggest seller of a Western.  To be historically accurate and detailed as well as having a narrative that pulls you in and gets you caring for the characters.  If Rockstar can pull this off, there is a possibility to open up a whole new gaming demographic.  So far the Westerns we have been able to play have been OK at best on the current gen of consoles.  The FPS's, Call Of Juarez and its sequel were playable games, but were missing too much atmosphere and background to be a triple A title and Gun was not much better.

But Gun developer Neversoft had the right idea.

Two words: Open World

Yes the world created in Gun is small comparable to the expectations of today and it was a shoddy port of the old Xbox version, but its a huge step in the right direction.
I want a world I can wander around, ride my horse through a forest, set up camp by a stream, hunt for my food and skins, come across a high-jacking or robbery,  go to the local Saloon, enjoy the atmosphere, over hear drunken arguments over Poker, women even cattle deals gone wrong.  These are all stalwarts of the Western and I hope to the gaming God(s) that Rockstar understand this and find ways of including it all and more.  As I explained earlier, Westerns are always rich in character and have deeply detailed narratives that include a world filled with action and drama.  If Rockstar can truly transfer all the aspects of successful Westerns to RDR the world that we get to play in will be huge, dramatic and breathtaking to be a part of.

Rockstars Pedigree

Rockstar has a legacy of producing quality products, but repeatedly they have used a certain type of humour in their story telling.  Now I have enjoyed all of the previous GTA titles because of their humour, its what made them playable and unique, however GTA4 didn't have that same 'fun' factor for me.  They made it more serious, tried to make the game more of a simulation than arcade game.  For me, it didn't feel right for a GTA game, it still had humour but not in the same vain as the previous iterations.  Which leads me to be slightly hypocritical.  I think it will greatly suit the world of Red Dead Redemption.  A gritty, hard world that's unforgiving to those not strong enough to survive.

With a world full of potential, I am completely hopeful that Rockstar bring the out the big guns for this game.  The number of potential game mechanics available is huge.  Think hunting to earn your living, becoming an outlaw and robbing banks and stagecoaches or even becoming a deputy to prevent these crimes.  This game has the potential to blow all competition out of the water.

As you can see in the video below, Rockstar seems to be hitting the nail bang on the head.

Admittedly, without any hands on time with the game, we don't know how good (or bad) its going to be.  So all of these trailers only seem to be whetting our appetites for the main course.  But I cant help looking forward to this game, I'm already thinking of it as one my top 5 games of 2010.  There's not much else for me to say regarding my opinion.  I've made it clear I'm looking forward to it and that it has the potential to shock the gaming community with a game for exceeding any expectations any fans or critics could have ever had.

Here's some more videos from Rockstar showcasing the game:

So I'll leave you with this.
Just think if its really a Western Story, and not just a game set in the Old West, it will be a more impressive work than any GTA have been.

Red Dead Redemption will be released at the end of April on PS3 and Xbox 360


spruce said...

Hahaha I bet you're ready to cum oil over this one.

Good article, mate. How are you doing Sibz?

Sibboz said...

Ohhh boy am I!Hell I used to run a clan called Rebel Gunslingers hehe.Im good man,catch you onthe xbox soon for a catch up!