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– by David Kozlowski

Video game fans are a pretty diverse bunch, and its rare to find consensus regarding favorite games or pivotal moments in the medium. However, if there’s one thing that just about every gamer can agree: Red Dead Redemption was one of the best games ever made. Rockstar Games, creators of the Grand Theft Auto series, shocked the industry back in 2010 when it released an open-world Western on Playstation 3 and XBox 360.

Players were thrust into the role of John Marsten, an antihero who bared a striking resemblance to both Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name and Charles Bronson’s Harmonica characters from classic Hollywood Westerns. In fact, Red Dead Redemption shared a lot more DNA with film than with its videogame predecessors. Players could choose to pursue careers as lawman, villain, bounty hunter, gambler, rancher, or even hunter/trader — each role, setting, and event in the game ripped from any of a dozen classic Western movies.

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One of the true joys in Red Dead Redemption was simply jumping onto your horse’s back and riding across the countryside, which transitioned from dawn to day to dusk to night, complete with blistering heat, freezing blizzards, and sudden downpours. Players felt completely immersed in Rockstar’s world, which spanned every possible eco-system and locale one could imagine across the legendary Old West.

Now, nearly a decade later (and a new generation of videogame technology), Rockstar is preparing to release Red Dead Redemption 2, and it looks absolutely stunning. The increased power of the PS4 and XBox One is enabling dense, authentic-looking saloons, stables, military outposts, and a truly sprawling countryside, which Rockstar claims is about one third larger than the original.

In this trailer we’re introduced to Morgan, a surprisingly nondescript white guy, who is apparently a full-on villain. Given the wide range of role-playing possibilities from the original, it’s likely players will have the chance to pursue the outlaw’s path or seek redemption as a lawman… and probably everything else in-between. I definitely appreciate the shift toward the outlaw, however, as Marsten spent way too much time deciding who he was, in RDR2 it seems we’re dropping all pretenses and just plain shooting folks while robbing trains, banks, and what have you.

The footage, characters, and action expressed in this trailer looks absolutely epic. Fans of the original (pretty much all gamers) are undoubtedly drooling over this trailer. In fact, the only people upset by this trailer are PC gamers, who are still waiting for a PC conversion of the first game!

Where do you rank the original Red Dead Redemption on your list of favorite games? Let us know in the comments down below!

Red Dead Redemption 2 hits PS4 and XBox One in 2018 (TBD).

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SOURCE: Rockstar Games

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.