When future generations look back at the 2010s, it will be hard to miss the enduring power of Grand Theft Auto V, which sold more than 85 million copies. The 2013 game’s fanbase is unfathomably huge, with players still going back to it six years later for its excellent and robust online service, Game Theft Auto Online. Now, Rockstar studio is seeking to recreate the success of GTA Online by officially taking the training wheels off the Online mode of its other monumental title, Red Dead Redemption 2, the game that earned the largest opening weekend release in the history of entertainment.
The beta version of Red Dead Online has been in service for almost as long as the title itself. Released about two months after the sprawling single-player version of the game went out in October 2018, we called Online a formidable companion to the content of the main game, with a promising open-ended system that could undoubtedly lead to some reckless, root-tootin’, cooperative rabble-rousing.
And inspire Wild West lawlessness and carnage it did. So much so, in fact, that Rockstar is debuting a “Hostility System” in this new update that will make it harder for yellow-belly cowards to raise Kane and ruin your dewy night out on the country. Essentially, if you just want to use the Online mode to hunt, fish, and enjoy the Western frontier, you’re more than welcome to. If you want to lead a merciless life outside the law, it’s not going to be so simple anymore. “The Hostility System tracks aggressive behavior across both Playing Styles, making hostile players visible to others and helping to balance the needs of players who want to get away from others who habitually attack or kill during unstructured Free Roam gameplay,” Rockstar says.
The Hostility System isn’t the only update that Rockstar is rolling out with the official launch of the Online mode. There are a series of balancing and quality-of-life improvements, new guns, clothing, a territory-capture mode called Overrun Showdown, and, most significantly, poker. Yup, that’s right. You can now log onto Red Dead Online to just do some ol’ fashioned gambling. Yee-haw.
It took GTA several months to find its footing and deliver the Online experience it is lauded for today. Red Dead Online has been out for less than five months, so with this big official launch, it seems that Rockstar is about to put a lot more focus on refining its community experience than ever before.
And, the studio seems dead set on keeping RDR2 in the zeitgeist, with some summer content being teased already. According to a press release, a new “Roles” feature will premiere closer to the summer, where players can “take on the first three of a series of new roles.” You can choose to be a bounty hunter, hunt down treasure as a collector, or focus on the family business as a trader.