I used to be much more of a gamer than I am now. I’d play and replay the Halo trilogy or the Fable games all day long when I was a kid. Things change, though. One gets bored of being corralled through video game campaigns, or tired of the same old first-person shooter style. It’s natural.
But there are games that continue to bring me back into the fold. New collections like the Bioshock trilogy or the first two Arkham games are constantly being released with updated graphics and a few extra bonuses to keep gamers hunting in all the old familiar niches of games we loved. Beyond some of these collections, though, there haven’t been many new games in the last year or so that have encouraged me to forget my more practical and academic responsibilities (besides Battlefront, of course).
Fans of the long-running Kingdom Hearts series like myself have the third main entry (and the 14th actual entry) in the saga to look forward to. Seeing as it has been over a decade since Kingdom Hearts II’s release and over three years since Kingdom Hearts III was announced, at this rate it sounds like I’ll be married and have kids by the time I get my hands on the Disney/Square Enix masterpiece. So, besides that glimmering gem in the dirt, there didn’t seem to be much at all in the way of gaming for me to look forward to—until this past Tuesday rolled around.
It seems especially fitting with HBO airing its sci-fi drama about a grandiose Western-style theme park that reputable game developer Rockstar announced the continuation of its Red Dead series with Red Dead Redemption 2, to be released in fall 2017. For those unfamiliar with Rockstar games, it is the game publisher behind the worldwide phenomenon that is the Grand Theft Auto series. Even if you haven’t played any of its entries or aren’t directly aware of GTA’s style, you’ve definitely seen or heard a parody of or reference to the famous games at some point in your life. GTA is often held up as the shining example of unnecessarily violent and lewd gaming and, to a certain extent, that’s what people who play the series love about it.
For those unfamiliar with the Red Dead games, they’re practically GTA games with cowboys and horses. There have been two entries in the series so far: Red Dead Revolver and Red Dead Redemption. I personally never played Red Dead Revolver, since I was 9 when it came out and there’s no way in hell my mom would let me play it. But the game does currently sit at a 73 on the aggregate reviewer Metacritic, so it probably wasn’t a bad start for the series. I did, on the other hand, get my hands on a copy of Red Dead Redemption the day it came out back in 2010, and it’s easy to say that Redemption is one of my favorite games of all time.
Red Dead Redemption had everything going for it: some of the best scenery and graphics in its day, a complicated gunslinger protagonist with a rich and dark past, and intricate, unique gameplay that felt extremely suited to a game set in the fictional Old West. Jumping into shootouts and one-on-one duels provided me with some of the most immersive moments in my gaming history. Looking at what Rockstar did with the online portion of GTA V, practically giving players an open-world, fictional version of Los Angeles and Palm Springs to do whatever crazy s—t came to mind, it’s hard to fathom what the developers could do with a few more years, upgraded technology, and, honestly, a more compelling setting. Suffice to say, Rockstar is already guaranteed to have me playing Red Dead Redemption 2 the first second I possibly can.
Sometimes I ask myself when I think I’ll truly leave video gaming behind. To a large extent, playing video games is just mindless fun—a waste of time. Sure, there are a boatload of great stories to be had from games across the decades, but something about the stigma surrounding video games makes me feel that I’m more seriously wasting my time playing three hours of a video game than if I were watching a three-hour-long movie. As long as games like Red Dead Redemption 2 lie in my future, however, I won’t care enough to stop. Game developers will always have me coming back for more.
Featured Image By Rockstar Games