Red Dead Redemption 2 - An October release date, John Marston's return, a possible PC leak and everything else we know

Red Dead Redemption 2 pre-orders have gone live, so you can officially hop aboard the hype wagon. We wouldn't be horsing around if we told you that Rockstar's Wild West sequel was one of the most anticipated games of 2018, and with good reason. Along with a lavishly recreated world of prairies, forests and mountains we get to see the Van der Linde gang in action and, just maybe, a GTA Online style mode.  

We'll have to wait a little longer to know anything for sure - Rockstar stayed quiet during all the E3 hubbub - but Red Dead Redemption 2 will arrive on PS4 and Xbox One on October 26. A new leak has even suggested we might see it on PC too, if someone's badly thought out LinkedIn update is anything to go by. 

Until then, here's everything you need to know about this game of the year contender.

Fast facts

  • Red Dead Redemption 2 release date: October 26, 2018
  • Formats: PS4, Xbox One
  • Developer: Rockstar
  • Price: $59.99 / £49.99

John Marston's definitely making an appearance in Red Dead 2

Rockstar hasn't actually said that John Marston is in Red Dead Redemption 2, but in the latest trailer there's no mistaking those scars. Take a look at the screen from the trailer on the left below, and the image of John from Red Dead Redemption on the right. If they're not the same person we'll eat our stetsons. 

John Marston vs John Marston

Looks like we'll finally be finding out how John got those scars, although they look like some big old bear's had its paws on him. It even looks like John's wife Abigail Marston is going to make an appearance too. Just take a look at this lady compared to (an older) Abigail from Red Dead 1 and tell us we're wrong. 

Abigail Marston in Red Dead Redemption 1 and 2

Feast your eyes on the latest Red Dead Redemption 2 screenshots

Image 1 of 13

Image 2 of 13

Image 3 of 13

Image 4 of 13

Image 5 of 13

Image 6 of 13

Image 7 of 13

Image 8 of 13

Image 9 of 13

Image 10 of 13

Image 11 of 13

Image 12 of 13

Image 13 of 13

There's plenty to admire in the latest batch of screenshots straight from Rockstar, not least the handsome looking wolf pulling off a perfect instagram pose. We know you're probably busy, dear Rockstar, but I'll say it now. PLEASE LET ME HAVE A PET WOLF.

The major Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer teases more about the story

Although we already knew Red Dead Redemption was going to be a prequel, it's good to know it takes place exactly 12 years before Red Dead Redemption. The trailer's blurb gives us a date for the story and reads as follows:

"America, 1899. The end of the wild west era has begun as lawmen hunt down the last remaining outlaw gangs. Those who will not surrender or succumb are killed.  After a robbery goes badly wrong in the western town of Blackwater, Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang are forced to flee. With federal agents and the best bounty hunters in the nation massing on their heels, the gang must rob, steal and fight their way across the rugged heartland of America in order to survive. As deepening internal divisions threaten to tear the gang apart, Arthur must make a choice between his own ideals and loyalty to the gang who raised him."

Give it a watch above, but it seems like Arthur is going to have to make some seriously huge decisions as to where his allegiances lie in the game. 

Elsewhere in the trailer, we get glimpses of GTA 5 style heists in the form of pistol-patrolled bank robberies, train chases, good ol' fashioned horse and cart fights, and even explosions and stabbings. This is the Wild, Wild, West after all. You'd expect nothing less.

The Red Dead Redemption 2 release date is confirmed as October 26, 2018 for PS4 and Xbox One

We have a confirmed Red Dead Redemption 2 release date of October 26, 2018 with publisher Take Two CEO Strauss Zelnick saying he was 'confident' there would be no more delays. This isn't the first time the game has been pushed back, however. When Rockstar first announced it was pushing back Red Dead Redemption 2’s release date from Fall 2017 to Spring 2018, our inner outlaws were crushed. Hadn't we waited long enough for a sequel to the 2010 masterpiece? The developer cited the upcoming sandbox sequel “needs some extra time” to get it up to the standards we all expect from the first game out of the studio since Grand Theft Auto 5. Since then, an earnings call with Rockstar’s parent company shed further light on the reasons behind the delay. 

Speaking to investors in late May 2017, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick was adamant that Red Dead Redemption 2 has merely been delayed to ensure can Rockstar “deliver the most extraordinary [experience] we’re capable of providing.” When an analyst subsequently asked if the delay signaled the epic Old West adventure is suffering development woes behind the scenes, Zelnick was quick to shoot down the suggestion. 

"We have not run into particular issues," Zelnick said. "We are building a new game from the ground up for the first time for new-generation consoles. And the pressure that we put on ourselves to deliver excellence and to delight consumers is extraordinary.”

Zelnick went on to add that Rockstar has the full backing of Take-Two over the delay. "We support emphatically the label's decision, and we are utterly confident that it will prove in time to be wise first and foremost creatively and artistically, economically as well." Turns out, when your previous game sells over 70 million copies (and counting), a publisher is going to back you no matter what. 

Red Dead Redemption 2 leak from TrustedReviews points to three new online modes, vehicles and multiple open-world activities

We'll talk in more detail about the rumoured new online modes below, but the volume of open-world distractions listed by Trusted Reviews sound promising. Activities include herding, fishing, a poker mini-game, gold mining, and a variety of shooting challenges. Rumour is you'll constantly receive rewards for your adventures e.g. for travelling a set distance, and the world will feel much more alive, with shopkeepers packing away their stalls at the end of the day. Plants and herbs can be collected, as per the previous game, and you'll be able to upgrade your tents, much like GTA Online's apartments. There's also talk of an official companion app, plus vehicles such as handcarts, minecarts and horse-drawn carriages; with hints you'll be able to ride a train. As plausible as it all sounds – and the Trusted Reviews leak did contain two new images which look fairly authentic – this is far from confirmed. Watch this space.

The second Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer finally validates all those prequel fan theories  

Meet your new Red Dead Redemption 2 hero: outlaw Arthur Morgan. Our first introduction doesn't exactly present him as the 'take him home to mother' type. We're sure there's more to him than threatening people and robbing banks, but right now, all we know is he's rough around the edges and in the employ of original RDR antagonist Dutch van der Linde - which sets the game's timeline firmly in prequel territory. 

According to the information overlords at Rockstar, the new game is "the story of outlaw Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang as they rob, fight, and steal their way across the vast and rugged heart of America." We also get to see a few new faces: a woman who looks strikingly like the original's Bonnie MacFarlane - leading some fans to wonder if it's her mother - and a Native American character who advises Morgan on needing extra firepower. We also see another familiar face: Bill Williamson, a known member of Dutch's gang, and the first outlaw John Marston is set to track and kill in Red Dead Redemption. 

All the Red Dead Redemption 2 trailers so far show Rockstar’s most visually stunning open-world ever 

No one does lonely Wild West spectacle quite like Rockstar. Just rewatch the Red Dead 2 trailers. Golden prairies that stretch as far as the eye can see. Cavernous valleys where eagles dominate the skies. Simmering deserts that immediately recall the iconic sights of Monument Valley. Alligators lurking in swamps; snowy, treacherous paths. Rockstar sandboxes always contain exquisite lighting and insanely incidental detailing, and its latest world looks like it’ll top everything that’s come before.

Red Dead 2 has strong foundations to build on, too. If you’re lucky enough to have the hardware, play GTA 5 on PC at 4K and tell us it’s not one of the most consistently gorgeous games ever made. Now consider that the engine has benefitted from a few subsequent years of development, aging like a particularly sumptuous (and super shooty) wine, and there's every chance Red Dead Redemption 2 will be the prettiest open-world game ever made when it launches towards the start of 2018. At the very least, the trailer hints at a beautifully varied sandbox, filled with epic canyons, dense forests, and spectacular Old West vistas.

The Red Dead Redemption 2 map looks like it’s already been leaked

This looks pretty legit. Early last year, a Red Dead 2 map was leaked on (RIP) NeoGaf. The fidelity of the design - and specificity of the names on said map - only lend further credence to this being an accurate blueprint of the Western world we’ll hopefully all be roaming around next year.

Look closely at the leaked map, and you can see an area labelled ‘The Great Plains’. This significant chunk of prairie real estate was one of the most visually striking locales from the first Redemption - remember that sweeping valley with all the grazing buffalo?

The presence of islands and caravan sites on the leaked document are also interesting. Couple the former with the trailer shots of the canoe, and it would seemingly all but confirm that boat travel is in Red Dead 2. The inclusion of caravan sites also suggest this is a less-populated take on the Old West than the original Redemption’s. Again, this points towards Red Dead 2 taking place before Marston’s adventure, during a time when the American Frontier was still being discovered by European settlers.

Red Dead Redemption 2 multiplayer is definitely influenced by GTA Online 

Red Dead 2 multiplayer details are thin on the ground; all the official site promises is a "brand new online multiplayer experience." However, the recent Trusted Reviews leak – if correct – suggests we can look forward to modes including Battle Royale (like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds or Fortnite), Revive and Survive and Money Grab. Revive and Survive is apparently like team deathmatch, but you have limited opportunities to revive teammates. Money Grab sounds similar to Battlefield Hardline's Blood Money mode.

It's hard not to believe that Red Dead 2's multiplayer will ape GTA Online. Rockstar’s breakout phenomenon has netted the studio over half a billion dollars in just over three years, a figure fuelled by folk constantly buying in-game currency with actual money. GTA Online has been so stratospherically successful that it seems unthinkable Rockstar wouldn’t want something similar for Red Dead Redemption 2. 

The original Redemption was already blessed with a terrific (if overlooked) online mode. Though It doesn’t get talked about much, saddling up in eight-player posses, robbing stagecoaches and messing about in that pristine Western wilderness was a hoot. Whether Red Dead 2’s online multiplayer is seamlessly woven into the single-player campaign remains to be seen (just imagine - drop-in / drop-out co-op would make for some fantastic missions). Perhaps Red Dead 2’s multiplayer will be its own separate entity, like GTA Online? Regardless of its final form, there’s little doubt that multiplayer will be a huge deal in Red Dead 2. Half a billion bucks is a figure Rockstar and publisher Take-Two simply can’t ignore.

Red Dead Redemption 2 characters could be swappable, like GTA 5 

We may have met our protagonist, but the artwork so far definitely leans on the idea of the classic Wild West posse. With so many strong characters appearing in the latest trailer, it wouldn’t be that much of a shock to see Red Dead 2 follow on from GTA 5 with more criminal-swapping missions.

Controlling and switching between multiple characters worked brilliantly in Los Santos, and the prospect of potentially hopping between various outlaws in Red Dead 2 is tantalizing. Would Rockstar have the stones to allow you to control every one of the seven figures seen storming into the desert at the end of Red Dead 2’s first trailer? Mechanically, it would be a big ask. Swapping between upwards of five characters could become a logistical nightmare, but Rockstar is nothing if not ambitious.

Alternatively, the posse play could be a big part on the online world that will come with the game. Start deciding which of your friends you can trust with a horse and a six shooter now. 

The Red Dead Redemption 2 setting will feature more water 

John Marston was not a strong swimmer. Hell, if the outlaw so much as dipped a toe in the waters of New Austin, swift (and decidedly soggy) death awaited. Thankfully, it looks like Morgan will get along swimmingly - sorry - with the wet stuff in Red Dead Redemption 2. Rewatch the trailer, and about thirty seconds in you can quite clearly see two figures paddling upstream in a canoe.

Water played a big part in GTA 5 - whether it was daring, submerged scuba dives to bust into secret government facilities, or scanning the ocean floor for nuclear waste in a mini-sub - so it wouldn’t surprise us to see river-based missions play a substantial role in Red Dead 2. Even the last game had a fantastic river quest: remember We Shall Be Together in Paradise? It saw Marston venture into Nuevo Paraiso for the first time, his Mexican adventure kicking off in style as Irish helped the charismatic cowboy paddle upstream on a raft against a hail of bandito gunfire. 

If the original Redemption can give us a great on-water mission - in spite of Marston’s suck-ass swimming skills - surely Red Dead 2 and its canoes can serve up some H2O treats? Providing another mode of transport other than horse riding would certainly make traversing Rockstar’s latest sandbox more diverse, too.

Red Dead Redemption 2 probably isn't going virtual reality (in case you were wondering) 

Sure, Rockstar is currently hard at work giving LA Noire the virtual treatment - but don’t expect Red Dead Redemption 2 to have any PlayStation VR-specific bonus modes for now. Speaking at a Take-Two telecom conference on May 31, Zelnick sounded pretty down on virtual reality games and their ability to generate cash. “So far there is not a significant entertainment market for VR software," said Zelnick. "I think that’s a factual statement.” Unless LA Noire in virtual reality sets new sales records, don't get your hopes up over Red Dead squeezing in some VR six shooter battles. 

Red Dead Redemption 2 pre-order details

Pre-orders are now live for Red Dead Redemption 2 on Xbox One and PS4.  If you place your order early you get the War Horse - a pretty iron-grey-colored Ardennes steed - and Outlaw Survival Kit, which gives you items to replenish Health, Dead Eye and more.

If you pre-order the Special Edition you'll get the above plus exclusive content for Story Mode including a Bank Robbery mission, a Gang Hideout, a 'Dappled Black Thoroughbred', Talisman and Medallion gameplay bonuses, gameplay boosts, cash bonuses and discounts, and the Nuevo Paraiso Gunslinger Outfit, plus free access to additional weapons. 

The Ultimate Edition gets you all the above again, but with extra online bonuses like bonus outfits for your online character, rank bonuses, a black chestnut horse, free access to the Survivor Camp theme and more. Plus an exclusive Ultimate Edition printed map and collectible steelbook. 

This isn't even to mention the physical Collector's Edition (£89.99/$99.99), which is basically a giant "Metal Tithing Box" complete with (among other things) playing cards, bandana, and an actual puzzle. You can currently only pre-purchase this from the Rockstar Warehouse, and it doesn't actually include a copy of the game itself (boo!), but the studio has promised that select retailers will also be selling the product in time for release.

Real Rockstar diehards will want to grab the Collector's Edition which doesn't actually include the game - you'll download that anyway right? - but does come with an insane amount of real world goodies like playing cards, a cowboy bandana, a collectable coin, a sturdy lockbox, a treasure map and more. 

The real-life outlaws behind Red Dead Redemption 2 that make Dutch van der Linde look like a good guy

"Make her playable": Check out these Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer reactions

Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer breakdown - every revealing detail you might've missed

Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer breakdown - what's hidden in that reveal?

Will John Marston ride again in Red Dead Redemption 2? Check out these character theories

Red Dead showed us the death of the Wild West - here’s what should happen next

Forget the Old West, partner - Red Dead Redemption 2 should be set in the modern day

Red Dead Redemption was Rockstar's masterpiece... and still is