ROCKSTAR HAS OFFICIALLY announced Red Dead Redemption 2 after its third day of cheeky image tweets gave a date of "fall 2017" and a promise of a trailer on 20 October.
The game is expected to be available on the Xbox One and PS4, and seeing as the original Red Dead Redemption never hit the PC, fans of that platform are probably hoping for good news too.
The firm has teased us about the game over the past few days. In Rockstar's typically smug ‘We'll just leave this here ...' kind of way the firm began at 2pm on Sunday by tweeting the developer logo against a red background.
A day later, at 2pm on Monday, we were greeted by gun-toting silhouettes walking towards or away from a sunset scene.
There are few fan theories we can posit that are very original about what the resulting game may be about. Read Dead Redemption was about the collapse of the Old West into the modern, mechanised age of steam trains, telegrams and semi-automatic weapons (and many people in the story ended up dead), so it would certainly make more sense to set the game further in the past.
In terms of the artwork, the obvious Magnificent Seven reference in the silhouettes could, if Rockstar is having a creative off day, suggest that the game will feature Read Dead Redemption protagonist John Marston running with his old gang, members of whom he spent obliterating in the game.
Only five members of the gang are currently known, including the disillusioned Dutch van der Linde, Marston, his eventual wife Abigail and a couple of others, but Rockstar could easily invent two more.
And with Grand Theft Auto V sporting three playable characters, why not push the boat out for seven?
We'd also like to see truly emergent situations coming out of a game world running on current-generation hardware. We can still remember the Kool-Aid chugging PRs at RockStar London telling us, and every subsequent hack who passed through the preview turnstile for the original game, that the bit when the coyotes attacked the passing horseman was "something they'd never seen before".
Imagine how chumpish we felt when every subsequent write-up contained the same 'unique' occurrence. Endless NPCs faking carriage crashes to try to rob you, as well as hunting the same six animals for scant rewards, made Read Dead Redemption feel a fairly hollow experience between its well-written dialogue sequences in many ways. We'd love to see a world that truly feels alive this time around.
In terms of geography, the game is expected to follow what appears in the increasingly legit-looking 'leaked' map that came out around the same time that the company was fighting a $150m legal battle against a former creative lead.
It appears to connect to the previous game's map, i.e. the variety of places around the Mexico border town of Armadillo and a swathe of Mexico itself, but it seems that much of the sequel may focus around a swampier, New Orleans-like place.
Coincidentally (or not) publisher 2K has just released Mafia III, a game set in a swampy, New Orleans-like place, except in the 1960s.
If a Read Dead Redemption sequel did end up reusing game assets from Mafia III we could only hope that this may help to avoid another situation like that of the 'Rockstar Wives' on Red Dead Redemption.
The women complained about a "crunch period on that game that led to clinical depression, dishonest deadlines and general enforced absence of partners at home as they were manipulated by certain hands that wield the reins of power in Rockstar San Diego".
Anyway, mass suffering of dev teams aside, we're sure you'll see more red things casually leaked from Rockstar in the days to come. µ
Could face hefty fines and ban in Russia if it fails to comply
What next?! Self-driving planes... oh wait
It's expected to last for 'a number of weeks'