Everything We Know About Red Dead Redemption 3
Saddle up your horses and tip your stetsons because Rockstar Games is far from done with the Red Dead story. While the acclaimed developer is largely known for the Grand Theft Auto games, its other big franchise is the rootin' tootin' Red Dead. It's been nearly three years since Red Dead Redemption 2 drew its pistols and shot its way to the top of the charts, but what's next?
Aside from calls for Rockstar to revisit Manhunt, calls for an official Bully sequel, and vague hopes that we'll be able to play GTA 6 before 2025, the developer moving ahead with Red Dead Redemption 3 makes a lot of sense.
This GTA-inspired trip to the Old West has been a huge hit since Red Dead Redemption reinvented the often-forgotten Red Dead Revolver, and it's clear that two games have only just scratched the surface.
What has Rockstar said about Red Dead Redemption 3?
At the time of writing, Rockstar hasn't actually confirmed Red Dead Redemption 3. Perhaps the closest we've got to anything resembling an official word comes from Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser before Red Dead Redemption 2 even came out. In 2018, Hauser said to Vulture, "If this one does well enough, and we think we have other interesting things to say", there could be another entry.
Considering RDR2 shattered records and went to have the second-biggest entertainment product launch of all time by generating $725 million in its opening weekend, we'd say Hauser can tick that box. Unfortunately, Hauser has since left Rockstar and left brother Sam in charge. We imagine Sam has the same thoughts as Dan, and despite the odd controversy, RDR2 also wiped the floor in the critical stakes too.
Elsewhere, voice actor Rob Wiethoff played coy about the possibility of a threequel. Wiethoff is known for voicing John Marston in both Redemption games and told ComicBook.com, "If they ask me, of course, I will. If they don't, I'm sure it will be a really, really cool, great game, just like the other two. If it were only up to me, in a second".
Red Dead Redemption 3 story
In terms of where we go next, there's a Grand Canyon of possibilities for storylines. While Red Dead Redemption closed the door on Marston's story, RDR2's convenient timeline placement in 1899 (12 years before the first game) meant we got a new protagonist and the odd nod to Johnny boy. Arthur Morgan could return if we did another prequel, and the Red Dead series could work in reverse by continuing to travel back in time.
The problem is, pushing into a tale set after Red Dead would take us into a very different world. The epilogue of the 2010 game was set in 1914 - which puts it just before the start of the First World War. A game based on Jack Marston is a likely scenario thanks to the cliffhanger of Red Dead. Doesn't it all feel a little too easy, though? Looking at how the GTA games have continued to adapt and reinvent, a third game where just trot around the desert as another male protagonist could become a bit stale.
We could bring someone new into the fold, and just like there are rumours of a female protagonist for GTA 6, there's plenty to discuss in the idea of a female gunslinger - picture Annie Oakley or Calamity Jane. There's also a chance to explore different parts of the Old West. Imagine a cowboy game where you get to take on the role of a Native American to give a twist on the Cowboy and Indians trope.
Red Dead Redemption 3 release
Looking at the release date of the first two games, it means Red Dead Redemption 3 could technically come out in 2026. Then again, there's a lot going against it. Remember that GTA V released in 2013, and apart from the upcoming Expanded and Enhanced version, we're no closer to the release of GTA 6. Let's also remember that Red Dead Online only released in 2019 as its own entity.
Any idea of Red Dead Redemption 3 would presumably be teased long before its arrival, and in 2021, there's not even a whisper that another game is on the way. Well, apart from the odd John Marston cameo in GTA Online. Just like we hope GTA 6 releases on this generation of console, we'd probably have to look ahead to the PlayStation 6 and Xbox Series X/S successor for Red Dead Redemption 3.
Let's remember that Rockstar has a lot of franchises to attend to, and that's before we even get to the fact GTA 6 will almost definitely take priority. GTA V is the most profitable entertainment product of all time and is still going well some nine years later. Assuming that Red Dead Redemption 3 would follow this formula, the fact RDR2 is still selling well means we're nowhere near getting a sequel.
All of the above is before we even get to criticisms of a "toxic" culture at Rockstar. Hauser stepped down after RDR2, amidst claims staff were worked to the bone to get the game out on time. Although we've been promised that things are getting better, it's thought that also played a part in GTA 6's extended wait.
As much as we'd love for it to be pistols as dawn, the concept of Red Dead Redemption 3 is just that - a concept. For the time being, the doors to Smithfield's Saloon are closed, and we're given an extended stay in the Valentine jail. Red Dead isn't dead yet, but it's a long way from crawling back into our lives like Undead Nightmare.