Rockstar Games has moved out West for its next game, Red Dead Redemption. The question is whether the company can bring the magic of Grand Theft Auto (whose last installment generated $500 million in its first week of sales in 2008) to the Wild West.
This original third-person shooter game from Rockstar, which is owned by Take-Two Interactive, debuts on May 18. It is a major effort by the company to diversify beyond Grand Theft Auto into an “open world” style shooting game set in the Wild West. If it works, then Take-Two Interactive has another billion-dollar franchise on its hands. If it’s a hit, Take-Two will be having a pretty good year; it has already sold millions of copies of BioShock 2, which I considered one of the best games this year.
If it doesn’t …, well, I’m sure it wasn’t a cheap game to produce. But it’s not likely to be a dud, as this is the latest from the anti-Nintendo hardcore bad boy developers of the game industry. They rarely miss their targets.
From the look of the trailer, the game looks great. Like Grand Theft Auto IV, it’s a mature-rated game and there is plenty of blood in the game’s many shootouts. As in other open world games, you can wander around a big space and do just about anything you want. You can go on missions and follow a story, but how you complete tasks is up to you. You can go off and hunt buffalo if you want, or try your luck in the saloons with poker. You can ride horses and chase down train robbers.
This game has some interesting marketing behind it. On May 29, Fox will run a half-hour special that is focused on in-game footage, telling some of the story of main character John Marston. The game is a successor of sorts to the 2004 game Red Dead Revolver. As with Grand Theft Auto, there is a morality system that changes the course of the game, based on your honorable or dishonorable behavior. If you shoot civilians, the law will hunt you down.
The company released the trailer below today. It has music from the game’s official score, composed by recording artists Bill Elm and Woody Jackson. The game will be available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.