Ever since the monumental success of Red Dead Redemption 2, fans have been eagerly awaiting any scrap of information about a potential Red Dead Redemption 3. The Western open-world franchise struck gold with its immersive storytelling, gritty gun-slinging action, and jaw-dropping visuals.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was one of the best-selling games of 2018 and received widespread critical acclaim, so naturally, fans are hoping Rockstar Games will return to the series for a third outing. However, concrete details about RDR3 have been few and far between.
In this article, we’ll break down everything we know so far about a possible Red Dead Redemption 3, from release date rumors to storyline speculation and gameplay features we hope to see. While Rockstar has been characteristically quiet about their plans, some promising signs indicate an eventual RDR3.
Red Dead Redemption Franchise Background
For those unfamiliar with the franchise, the first Red Dead Redemption, launched in 2010, focused on former outlaw John Marston attempting to win his family’s freedom by hunting down his former gang members. The game delivered an impactful narrative set in the dying days of the American frontier in 1911.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was a prequel to the original, with players controlling gang member Arthur Morgan. Set in 1899, RDR2 chronicled the downfall of Morgan’s gang as the lawlessness of the Wild West gave way to modern civilization. Praised for its story, open world, and action, RDR2 garnered numerous Game of the Year awards.
The series has collectively sold over 60 million copies worldwide across two main entries and a spinoff title, Red Dead Revolver. Clearly, the franchise resonates strongly with gamers and still has plenty of potential for more compelling stories to tell.
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Red Dead Redemption 2 Success
Red Dead Redemption 2 exceeded almost all expectations upon its 2018 release. Within two weeks, it had shipped over 17 million copies and grossed over $725 million. It is one of the best-selling PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games ever.
Critically, RDR2 was met with almost universal acclaim. Reviewers praised its expansive open world, multilayered characters, immersive storytelling, and staggering attention to detail. It directly competed with and even exceeded Rockstar’s crowning achievement, Grand Theft Auto V, in many ways. RDR2 set a new bar for narrative depth and technical accomplishments in gaming.
Given the commercial and critical success of RDR2, it’s no surprise fans are eager to jump back into the saddle again. However, Rockstar is also known for taking their time with releases. Grand Theft Auto V first launched in 2013, and fans had to wait five years for RDR2. We may be in for a longer wait regarding Red Dead Redemption 3.
Evidence Pointing to RDR3
While Rockstar has shared no official word on RDR3, there are a few signs indicating the possibility. For one, references found in RDR2’s game files mention Mexico locations, suggesting they originally planned for it to be playable. However, Mexico wound up locked. Including an expanded Mexico could be one way to set a third game apart.
Additionally, actor Rob Wiethoff, who portrayed John Marston, announced in 2020 that he was working on a secret project with Rockstar that got delayed. This led fans to speculate he may have recorded dialogue for an RDR3 appearance.
The massive success of RDR2’s online multiplayer also bodes well for a sequel. Reports indicated Red Dead Online garnered Rockstar over $900 million in revenue, proving online support can be hugely profitable. A new game with an expanded online mode seems like a logical next step.
Of course, this is still purely speculation and rumor. But Rockstar would be leaving money on the table not to leverage a wildly popular franchise at the height of its mainstream popularity.
Red Dead Redemption 3 Trailer
Here is an unofficial RDR 3 trailer we found on YouTube.
Potential Release Date
The biggest question surrounding Red Dead Redemption 3 is when we might see an actual release. Rockstar typically takes at least 4-5 years between major franchise installments. Grand Theft Auto V hit in 2013, and RDR2 released in 2018 after years of buildup.
Most optimistic estimates peg RDR3 will possibly be released in 2023-2024. However, considering the scale of Rockstar’s projects, a 2025-2026 target seems more realistic. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has also slowed many development timelines across the industry.
Early rumors claimed RDR3 entered production shortly before RDR2’s launch. If accurate, that gives the project a 4-5 year dev cycle, putting it on track for 2022-2023. But Rockstar may opt to wait longer so RDR2 has time to breathe.
Rockstar’s typical project pacing suggests a late 2023 announcement with a 2024 or 2025 release date. However, fans may need to wait longer for concrete details.
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Setting and Time Period Speculation
Where and when could a Red Dead Redemption 3 take place? Rockstar has stated they view the series as a trilogy chronicling the death of the Wild West. RDR3, therefore, could depict that final era transitioning into modern times in the 1920s or 1930s.
Having a setting later than 1911 would allow rides in early automobiles, biplanes, and other technological advancements absent in previous games. Imagine engaging in shootouts using Tommy guns or holding up banks in vintage cars.
RDR2 was a prequel framed around Dutch’s gang before John Marston’s adventure. A RDR3 sequel could bookend the trilogy after RDR1 following an all-new cast. Jack Marston, John’s son, could be a potential protagonist attempting to carve his own path.
Visiting the Prohibition-era Americas would be fascinating to see through Rockstar’s lens. They could weave a complex narrative set during a pivotal cultural shift, just as the first two games did.
Story and Character Rumors
No concrete details on Red Dead Redemption 3’s plot or characters have materialized yet. As mentioned, one possibility would be picking up where RDR1 left off focused on Jack Marston. Redemption 2 surprised fans by having players control a new character in Arthur Morgan rather than Marston. Rockstar may employ another fresh protagonist for a third chapter.
One popular theory claims an RDR3 story might follow the rise of a Dutch gang in its early days. Seeing moments like Dutch meeting Hosea and Arthur joining could add depth. However, that traversal into prequel territory again seems unlikely.
In terms of atmosphere, many fans want to see Mexico play a larger role. Both previous games teased the region but made it inaccessible. Having Mexico be a central setting could spice up the map.
Charles Smith, Sadie Adler, or other supporting characters could also take the reins. But Rockstar may lean towards crafting someone entirely new to lead the next gun-slinging adventure.
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Gameplay Features We Want to See
Gameplay-wise, Red Dead Redemption 2 raised the bar with its level of interaction and immersion. Simple tasks like cleaning guns, brushing horses, and selecting outfits grounded players worldwide. Expanding these features even further would only boost immersion.
Fans would also love to see more frontier activities like prospecting for gold, panning rivers, logging, homesteading, and hunting/fishing mechanics expanded. Owning properties to generate income or gain benefits is another popular request.
RDR2’s random encounters made the world feel alive. Having even more ambient events like wagon crashes to investigate or strangers needing help would ensure a lively, open world. Stranger missions and side activities should offer plenty of opportunities separate from core story events.
Combat and gunplay options could also see tweaks, such as dual-wielding weapons. RDR2 mainly focused on horses for travel – having playable bikes, cars, or boats would add diversity. Features like these would help a RDR3 stand apart from its beloved predecessor.
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Red Dead Online proved extremely profitable for Rockstar, so expect them to put major resources into expanding multiplayer for RDR3. Adding owned properties and businesses would give online players more goals to work towards.
Letting players form their own gangs or factions offers endless role-playing potential and creates a compelling online experience. Players can customize gang hideouts, recruit members, and compete with other player-formed groups for resources and territory control.
Expanded online combat options like battle royales could appeal to wider audiences beyond the core Western themes. Imagine 100 players engage in pistol shootouts across a sprawling frontier map.
If GTA Online is any indication, an RDR3 multiplayer universe has the potential to evolve continuously over the years beyond launch. Robust online support combined with engaging single-player content would offer incredible value.
What Rockstar Games Has Said
Rockstar Games has been predictably quiet regarding any details on a new Red Dead Redemption game. They seldom openly discuss future projects until they are ready to reveal full details and trailers.
In a 2018 interview following RDR2’s launch, Rockstar’s Jennifer Kolbe hinted the developer may revisit the franchise someday. When asked about continuing the series, Kolbe stated, “That’s what we all want too,” but noted Rockstar will likely work on something new next.
So, while Rockstar hasn’t confirmed a Red Dead 3, they have not closed the door or denied the possibility either. Reading between the lines, it seems likely they will come back to the outlaw frontier – but only when they feel they have an exciting new direction and story worth telling.
Why a RDR3 Announcement Hasn’t Happened Yet
With no concrete word from Rockstar, some fans feel frustrated by the lack of RDR3 announcements or information. However, there are likely a few valid reasons Rockstar is holding off on revealing anything just yet.
First, Red Dead Redemption 2 is still selling well even years after launch. Announcing a sequel too soon risks slowing those consistent RDR2 sales. Allowing RDR2’s impressive momentum to continue undisturbed takes priority.
Rockstar also supports existing games with frequent online content updates. With regular new Outlaw Passes and missions added to Red Dead Online, their focus remains on RDR2 for now. They won’t rush into a new project and divide resources until the time is right.
Quality is paramount for Rockstar. They will wait until technology has progressed enough to meet their lofty standards. RDR2 pushed technical boundaries – they’ll want a noticeable leap for a third entry.
Ultimately, if RDR3 is indeed in early development, Rockstar likely wants to wait for an ideal window to reveal details to maximize hype and sales formally. But that official announcement could still be a ways off.
What to Expect Next From Rockstar
While fans anxiously await updates on Red Dead Redemption’s future, Rockstar still has plans to support existing games for some time. 2022 and 2023 will likely see additional online content for Red Dead Online and GTA Online.
A long-rumored Grand Theft Auto VI is undoubtedly Rockstar’s current flagship project. But concrete details on that have still not materialized. Speculation points to a 2024-2025 timeframe for GTA 6 at the absolute earliest.
Rockstar will likely alternate between showcasing different franchises. Once GTA 6 finally arrives and has its time to shine, the door may finally be open for RDR3 details to emerge. But that is admittedly optimistic speculation.
In the meantime, fans can only savor every last detail of RDR2’s epic world and watch for leaks or rumors about the franchise’s next move. With Rockstar, big surprises could be right around the corner – or a few more years later.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the greatest games of the modern era. It will be incredibly hard to follow, but the overwhelmingly positive response to the series proves players are hungry for more adventures in the gritty Western landscape.
Developer Rockstar Games has not acknowledged a Red Dead 3 yet, but given time, they seem likely to return to the frontier. Exactly when that might happen is unclear. It could be two years away or five or more.
But the pieces seem to align for another staggering step forward whenever Rockstar is finally ready. For now, anticipate many sleepless nights around the campfire, hoping to hear any small tidbit of new information. Red Dead Redemption 3 is on the distant horizon, and the wait promises to be agonizing yet thrilling.
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Frequently Asked Questions
When will Red Dead Redemption 3 release?
No official release date has been set yet. Estimates range from 2023-2026 based on Rockstar’s typical development timelines. But it could take even longer.
What will the RDR3 story be about?
It’s unknown so far, but it could feature a new protagonist and setting post-RDR1. A storyline based around Jack Marston is one popular fan theory.
Will RDR3 have an online multiplayer mode?
Yes, almost certainly. Red Dead Online has been highly successful and will likely be significantly expanded in a new game.
Is there a trailer for RDR3?
No. Rockstar has not announced RDR3 yet or released any official trailers.
Will RDR3 be on PS4 and Xbox One?
Unlikely. The game will probably launch exclusively on newer consoles like PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S sometime in the next several years.