We would forgive you for presuming that Red Dead Online was a fully fledged multiplayer experience, and not an early access Beta with its own growing pains and pre-launch schedule, but Red Dead Redemption 2's online accompaniment has technically been in prototype form since it released in November of 2018.
But that's about to change, as Rockstar has finally announced that the Red Dead Online Beta is no more, and the multiplayer mode is launching in full across all available regions today, which you can watch the new trailer for below. While this change in categorisation won't have a huge impact on the core experience, it does mean that a whole host of brand new content is available to play right now, which we'll run through here.
First, a new co-op series of missions are available in the form of "A Land of Opportunities" which continues the ongoing story of your in-game character, and climaxes with a dangerous showdown in the town of Blackwater. The arrival of new NPC characters will also introduce new Free Roam missions for both dishonourable and honourable outlaws, while more competitive modes and dynamic events have been added to the game world.
On top of that, Poker has been rolled out as a fully playable mode in which you can compete with friends and strangers for cash, and poker tables can be found at various towns and points of interest around the vast map. The latest Red Dead Online patch notes update also introduces new weapons, cosmetics, and a gift of 15 Red Dead Online Gold Bars to anyone who jumps into the game this week, while a flood of hotfixes and balance updates (including the promised overhaul to the playing style and hostility systems) have arrived with it.
Beyond today's release, Rockstar has also teased big things for the future of Red Dead Online, most notably the addition of "Roles" later this summer, which will allow players to either "track down wanted criminals as a bounty hunter; search the world for treasure, and other exotic items to sell as a collector; or build a business at camp as a trader and more." Each role will come with its own "unique gameplay" experience, along with exclusive cosmetics, weapons, and more, so stay tuned for more information on that exciting development soon.
Whether Red Dead Online's transition beyond its testing phase allows Rockstar to focus the majority of its resources on the inevitable GTA 6 is unclear, but in a recent Take-Two earnings call, the publisher alluded to next-gen hardware like the PS5 and Xbox Project Scarlett, saying that their impending release won't be "disruptive" to the studio's current development plans.
Read up on our best Red Dead Online tips to become a legend of the Wild West, or watch the video below for a guide to everything else that's out this week.