Just five months from the game’s launch, we’re only just starting to get a more detailed look at Rockstar Games’ hotly anticipated sequel title, Red Dead Redemption 2. Today, the developer dropped a fairly meaty story trailer that took a deeper dive into explaining some of the narrative beats that tie this prequel tale to the previous game, as well as introduce the characters that will presumably all play a central role in the plot.
While it wasn’t the gameplay blowout that we were all hoping for, there are plenty of scenes from the trailer that certainly seem to allude to various main and side quest activities that players are likely to be spending their time doing.
Let’s break down two key takeaways from this latest trailer and discuss some of the features we think are most evidently going to appear in the final release:
The Tone is Dark and Sombre
We already know a fair bit about the history of Marston’s crew – the sons of Dutch – from Red Dead Redemption, but it appears as though the events that led to their downfall will form a central conflict in the narrative of this upcoming prequel. Tonally, the trailer invoked a sense that the followers of Dutch are at a crossroads, a transitory phase. Perhaps what we’re seeing is their close bond being tested, with Dutch’s leadership pushing them to commit ever more dangerous and morally questionable crimes.
Tying into this theme of change, the overall tone piece of the trailer seems to be teeing up the notion of transition from 19th to 20th century, with all the sociological and technological changes that follow in this era. The old west is done and the time of outlaws is numbered. There’s a real sense of futility that suggests the story might be driving toward a dramatic and somewhat hopeless end.
Perhaps the consistent references to fire, too, are hints that the finale of this tale is indeed destined to end in tragedy, or at least signifies the destruction of the status quo. Dutch states “You have to love yourself a good fire,” and then we’re later shown a scene in which a town is burning in the distance. There’s even another mention of fire as a member of the theater production we’re shown spews flames from their mouth. There’s surely a wider meaning to this that’s more than coincidence?
Yet fire might simply represent the changing technologies of the era and their impact on the landscape – at one point we also see a doctor administering a shot to a patient, after all, which was a puzzling inclusion. There’s no doubt that in the years surrounding the turn of the 20th century, a major shift toward advanced technologies began to alter society’s everyday lives, and was one of the key factors that brought an end to the frontier lifestyle that had ruled the region for one hundred years prior.