Red Dead Redemption 2: What Rockstar Learned From GTA 5

With the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 edging closer and closer, players are still have little information on what to expect from the game. Rockstar has only released a single cinematic trailer for the title and a short paragraph’s worth of vague information. Even so, we might divine some of what is to come based on the previous work of Rockstar Games, a previous major title, GTA 5 and the accompanying multiplayer component GTA Online.

We know for a fact that Red Dead Redemption 2 will have a multiplayer mode similar to that of GTA 5. Chances are this mode will be very similar to GTA Online in terms of structure, taking place in an open world where a number of players can interact freely, and engage in a number of activities, while other jobs will be instanced separately.

One very important improvement over GTA Online that could be made in respect of Red Dead Online would be a different server architecture. GTA Online works on a peer-to-peer basis instead of having a centralised server run by Rockstar. The problem with this system is twofold: firstly, the stability of the game for everyone in the lobby will only be as good as that of the weakest link and disconnecting from the game due to someone else’s poor connection is common. Secondly, hacking is easier to do, as injecting a script client-side is much easier. PC players suffered most due to this, with the situation only having been relatively cleared up recently.

Red Dead Online would greatly benefit from running on a centralised server, which would greatly improve stability. Granted, the point on hacking isn’t all that relevant in this case, since Red Dead Redemption 2 will only be released on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, neither of which have been cracked yet.

Another major gripe players have with GTA Online is the weapon management system. All players carry all weapons with them at all times, and while this might seem convenient at first glance, the way you can access these weapons is pretty unintuitive. The entirety of your inventory is crammed into a weapon wheel divided into eight sections, each of which has a category of weapon.

If you want a specific weapon, which you generally would since not all guns are made equal, you’ll need to scroll through all guns you own in a given category, which will usually be over a dozen. In the heat of combat, you don’t want to spend seconds trying to fish out your preferred weapon from that interface, and there is no way to customize your loadout or set favorites in each category. A recent DLC added a weapons locker which allows limited customization, but only in Freeroam, not during missions – when it would be the most crucial.

Red Dead Redemption 2 ought to include a weapons locker from the get-go, and one which affects all scenarios, meaning you’ll be able to tailor your loadout for all missions and activities. GTA Online’s weapon wheel is such an inconvenience that it’s been singled out as one of the most consistent criticisms for the game. As such, Rockstar would do well to learn from this particularly glaring mistake and get a proper weapon management system into RDR2.

Something Rockstar got very right in GTA 5 and Online, and something we’re really hoping to see again in Red Dead Redemption 2, is the vibrant, lively open world that’s absolutely overflowing with detail. The NPCs go around doing their own thing without needing the player’s input. The world isn’t simply there to react to the player’s actions, but to live a life of its own. In fact, just going to a busy corner in Los Santos and putting the controller down for a few minutes will show you just how little the game world actually cares about you. Interesting things will happen without you in GTA 5, and it’s a kind of weird, humbling experience after being conditioned by reactionary games in the AAA sphere.

In fact we suggest trying the above, which should provide you with some of the most tranquil moments you’ll experience in GTA 5, right before you unleash chaos with a rampage across the city. Simply load up the invincibility, give weapons and explosive ammo cheats and then run around causing wanton destruction. These two contrasting moments combined can be the ultimate stress release and Rockstar would do well to include similar (albeit probably unintentional) “features” in RDR2.

All in all, the developers of GTA 5 have plenty of experience to draw upon and we’re quite confident they’ll release an even more polished and impressive title with RDR2 than last time.

Here’s to anxiously waiting to immerse oneself in the Wild West!

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