Exclusive: Red Dead Online Devs Offer First Details of RDR2 Multiplayer | Gaming News
The perfect source for gaming uptodate news
Rockstar recently revealed Red Dead Online, Red Dead Redemption 2’s multiplayer component, will launch in November 2018 (initially as a public beta). Considering the many questions we’ve had about the nature of Red Dead 2’s up-til-now mysterious online mode, we asked Imran Sarwar, Director of Design at Rockstar North, and Josh Needleman, Senior Producer at Rockstar San Diego, to go into a little more detail about Rockstar’s evolution in the realm of multiplayer.
The pair elaborated on what elements of GTA Online will appear in RDO and how it will differ, as well as why they aren’t launching it alongside the single-player mode and the lessons learned from GTA Online’s rocky start and subsequent success as an online game.
Tech: What can players expect from Red Dead Online? Will we have as much open-world freedom as we do in the single-player component?
Imran Sarwar: Of course. Red Dead Online will use the world and gameplay mechanics of Red Dead Redemption 2 as a jumping off point for a new world of cowboys (and cowgirls) and outlaws that combines multiplayer and cooperative gameplay and narrative components in a huge open world. Players will be able explore alone or easily join with friends or other players to compete or work together. We’ll take full advantage of the entire world, as well as all the aspects of a 19th century setting that make Red Dead Redemption 2 unique and fun.
Tech: What do you want players to get out of Red Dead Online? What ambitions does Rockstar have in terms of evolving their idea of online open worlds?
Josh Needleman: Red Dead Redemption’s multiplayer was a real leap forward for us at the time. It was the first game that hinted at the real opportunities for open world multiplayer beyond cities, where the world was open as a place to create your own freeform gameplay, while at the same time was as a sort of living lobby for other, more structured kinds of game modes. Red Dead Redemption 2 will take those ideas much further and combine that with everything we’ve learned in the years since then with our favorite elements from Grand Theft Auto Online about how to make really fun and complex competitive and cooperative experiences in open worlds, and how to introduce narrative elements into multiplayer.
Tech: Why aren’t you releasing Red Dead Online alongside Red Dead Redemption 2’s single-player experience?
Imran: There are a few reasons for this. The first is that even though Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online share the same gameplay mechanics and geography, we see them essentially as separate products that will grow and evolve independently of each other.
We love story-based, single-player games and they are the foundation of everything we do. Red Dead Redemption 2 is an absolutely massive story-based game that we hope people will be lost in for a long time and we want people to experience everything that world has to offer before we build on that with the Online experience. Not to mention, playing through the story and getting to know the controls and mechanics of the game is the best way to get ready for playing inside the world of Red Dead Online.
Also, as we have learned from experience when launching Online games at this scale, there are bound to be a few issues and we want to ensure that we have time to gradually roll out the game and make the experience as smooth as we possibly can for everyone. We believe this way of rolling out will give people the best overall experiences with both single player and multiplayer.
Tech: Aside from the obvious – the 21st-century setting/vehicles/tech/etc – how will this experience be different from Grand Theft Auto Online?
Josh: One of the biggest differences between GTA and Red Dead universes is that you’re often speeding through or flying over a GTA world, whereas in Red Dead Redemption the change of pace elevates the intimacy of the overall experience. Like the single player game’s story of Arthur Morgan, we want people to settle into their online characters and feel like every activity makes sense for the character, the setting and the time. This should feel intimate and personal while still feeling fun and action-packed from moment to moment.
We’ve tried to take the best elements and best content packs from Grand Theft Auto Online and use them for templates for what we are making here. We feel Grand Theft Auto Online really only found its feet creatively with Heists. That pack, along with After Hours, The Doomsday Heist, Gun Running and a few others represent the best of Grand Theft Auto Online, and provided the template for what we wanted to use here, (not in terms of content, obviously, but how they combined narrative, gameplay, modes and other content into a cohesive thematic whole) alongside all of the elements we liked from the old Red Dead Redemption multiplayer.
Tech: What have you and the rest of the team learned from your experiences launching / designing / updating / supporting Grand Theft Auto Online?
Josh: The biggest problem with the original Red Dead Redemption’s multiplayer was that every update we released fractured the audience. As the game got bigger, we separated our player base. Avoiding this was the inspiration behind Grand Theft Auto Online – we are obsessed by keeping the audience complete and experience beyond perpetual. Beyond this, after lots of trial and error (!!!), we feel we have found a way to make multiplayer games that feel like Rockstar experiences, combining personality, gameplay, style, narrative and variety into the packs. That did not really begin to happen until we released the first Heists pack. Our aim this time is to hopefully get there a bit more quicker, but still be responsive to what people enjoy playing and evolve as we go.
Tech: What happens to Grand Theft Auto Online after Red Dead Online launches?
Imran: We still have big plans for Grand Theft Auto Online and we will continue to roll out updates for the foreseeable future. We vaguely plan to stagger the updates of both games so that players can switch between the two, but our development plans may not always allow this! We think there will be a lot to love about Red Dead Online for fans of Grand Theft Auto Online, but we think that Red Dead Online will generate its own audience ready for something entirely new – however, exactly what form Red Dead Online will take as it finds it’s feet, we are not sure ourselves, but we think really want a focus on role-playing and morality. That may all change as the game comes out, but that’s the direction we are heading in now! And we are going to be working together on that with our incredible community to make this online experience into something amazing.
You can see the official announcement from Rockstar here, and check out everything we learned about the mechanics of Red Dead Online from its Ultimate Edition pre-order bonuses.
JR is an editor at Tech who really hopes that we see jetpacks on horses someday. You can usually find him spouting such nonsense on Twitter.