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Red Dead Redemption 2: gameplay, hunting, features, customisation, Red Dead Online and more

It feels like we’ve been waiting forever, but the cowboy hat-wearing silhouette of Red Dead Redemption 2 has finally appeared on the horizon.

As it slowly gallops towards us, we’re going to attempt to make the final hours of that wait a little less painful. With that in mind, here’s everything we know about Red Dead Redemption 2.

Red Dead Redemption 2 hunting gameplay

Hunting plays a big part in Red Dead Redemption 2, as you are living off the untamed land. Since you will have the option of scouring the land for meat and pelts, this massive world will provide bountiful opportunities. In fact, there are around 200 animal species, including a range of fish, birds, and land animals. Each animal will have its own unique behaviour, too - predators will hunt, nocturnal animals will hide away during the day, and the ecosystem will interact in surprising ways.

Here's the official blurb: "Deer, bison and pronghorn traverse the plains in large herds, scavengers quickly sniff out carrion, sockeye salmon leap upstream, wolves attack in packs surrounding their prey, geese fly in fixed formations, possums play dead, rodents scamper into tree hollows, grizzly bears bluff charge when threatened, and birds of prey soar on thermals. They all form part of a complex ecosystem and must continually fight for their place on the food chain. The wilderness is at once a bountiful and perilous place, for both man and beast, and any predator can quickly turn prey."

When hunting, you can follow tracks on the ground, as well as blood flecks in the snow from recently injured game. You also have to account for wind direction to mask your scent. The quality of the meat will also be affected by how clean the kill is, with the bow and arrow making the cleanest kills.

You can also fish in Red Dead Redemption 2, and selecting the right bait and lure is essential to catching different types of fish.

Red Dead Redemption 2 screenshots

We've collected together a big gallery of the best Red Dead Redemption 2 screens. Click that link for a closer look ahead of launch.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Horse balls and horse customisation

Rockstar has given fans what they really want in Red Dead Redemption 2: horse balls. Fans have marvelled over the inclusion of ever more realistic looking horse anuses for years and Rockstar has taken it a step further this time with horse balls that will shrink in the cold and have a generous swing about them - exactly what you need in a next-gen gaming experience on this scale.

You will also have full control over what type of horse you ride. Here's the official Rockstar blurb on horses and horse customisation in Red Dead Redemption 2: "There are 19 breeds of horse in Red Dead Redemption 2 from Appaloosas and Arabians to Shires to Mustangs, each of which handles differently with its own defined characteristics. Horses can be captured and broken out in the wild, purchased from stables or acquired by more underhanded means, of course.

"Your horse is your constant companion, and you will rely on them just as heavily as on any of your fellow gang members so it is important to take good care of your animal. By keeping it groomed and well-fed, you will start to see improvements in stamina, performance and handling and it will become less skittish as the bond grows between you. With 59 different styles of coat, and a huge range of customisable tack, including saddles, horns, stirrups, spurs, you can create a horse that is truly your own, and develop a personal and unique relationship as you explore the world together."

Red Dead Redemption 2 minigames

There are four minigames confirmed that will be available to play in Red Dead Redemption 2, as if horse balls and x-ray weapons targeting wasn’t enough to contend with.

Hunting and fishing are more than just survival tools; you’ll be handsomely rewarded for big kills and catches in Red Dead Redemption 2.

You’ll also be able to play card games, such as Poker, with friends and allies alike. Socialising with your campmates is recommended and bonding with them over a friendly-ish game of cards could be the way forward.

There’s a rumour that Dominos may also be featuring in the game, not least because Rockstar is selling a Red Dead Redemption 2 Domino set online.

Five Finger Fillet will also feature in Red Dead Redemption too which will hopefully come with a good targeting system to avoid any mishaps.

Red Dead Redemption 2 release date

The Red Dead Redemption 2 release date is October 26, 2018, for PS4 and Xbox One. Originally, the game was due out this Spring, but it was pushed back because Rockstar needed more time to get it up to standard.

Red Dead Redemption 2 customisation

You will be able to customise the look of Red Dead Redemption 2’s main protagonist, Arthur Morgan. You can have your guns engraved, change the look of some of your carried items and even change Arthur’s appearance. Arthur’s hair and beard grow in real time, so you can visit a barber a la The Witcher 3 to get a trim, style your beard and get a new look.

Clothing now comes as single items as opposed to whole outfits and you can customise not only what Arthur wears, but how he wears it, such as deciding whether you want his trousers tucked into his boots or not. However, don’t be tempted to think you can go gallivanting into the snowy hills with a just a shirt with the sleeves rolled up - your stamina will be affected if you wear clothing that doesn’t suit the climate you’re in.

You also have the option of customising your base camp. You can bring back game, chat to fellow gang members around the fire and play cards with your pals. You can also choose to contribute positively to the camp, such as stocking up on food, supplies and medicine. Allies will comment on your deeds contextually and the responses will be different each time you visit, giving you the feeling that you’re doing something meaningful. Whether you contribute or not will affect morale, which can affect the outcome of quests, activities and people you can engage with.

You can also upgrade certain aspects of the camp, such as unlocking additional hitching posts, stocks of food, ammo and new fast travel points. Your sleeping area can also be customised with rugs, hunting trophies and more.

Red Dead Online

Rockstar has announced that there will be an online multiplayer segment in Red Dead Redemption 2 called Red Dead Online. It will initially be released as an open beta sometime in November and access to Red Dead Online is free to anyone with a copy of Red Dead Redemption 2.

Rockstar accidentally revealed that they will be selling a Red Dead Redemption 2 PS4 Pro Bundle which describes some online content as a “Timed Exclusive for 30 days” and that Red Dead Redemption 2 will require a minimum storage space of 105 GB, so it's time to start thinking about what games you'll be culling to make way for this beast.

Red Dead Online will feature narrative, competitive, and cooperative gameplay that can be enjoyed solo or with friends, much like GTA 5 online. Red Dead Online will support 2-32 players and uses the gameplay of Red Dead Redemption 2 as its foundation and will be updated and adjustment over time.

Rockstar says it wants Red Dead Online to be as in-depth and robust as GTA Online.

There has been no mention of a wild west battle royale mode yet, but a recent information dump mentioned that there would be multiplayer modes titled Revive and Survive, and Money Grab.

Red Dead Redemption 3

Rockstar might not have released the second game yet, but the developer says it might create Red Dead Redemption 3 if this one does well and the studio still has interesting things to say in the setting.

Red Dead Redemption 2 weapons

Weapons and gunplay in Red Dead Redemption 2 are set to be deadlier than ever. As a wanted man, Arthur Morgan has refined his skills to stay one step ahead of the law and anyone else who decides to cross him.

You’ll be able to carry a limited number of weapons when on foot, such as sidearms, rifles and bows. You’ll also have a hunting knife, throwing weapons, and a handy lasso. Your horse acts as your inventory cache and when you’re either riding or standing near the horse you’ll have full access to all your guns and gear.

The Dead-Eye targeting system returns to Red Dead Redemption 2, with five levels of lethality, including slowing time down to unleash a fury of bullets upon a group of enemies, and x-ray vision that lets you target vital organs for the ultimate gory takedown.

Weapon performance will degrade over time if you don’t maintain them properly - overuse or the environment can affect how effective your weapon is. If you keep wading through water and bogs, expect your weapons to rust quickly. You’ll also be able to add mods to weapons that can improve recoil, range and damage.

Arthur is skilled in fisticuffs and can use close range takedowns, both violent and non-violent. You can also fire a warning shot in the air to disperse wildlife or catch the attention of NPCs. You can also threaten folk with your gun, which is what you’d expect from a wanted man, really.

Red Dead Redemption 2 first-person

You’ll have the option in Red Dead Redemption 2 to play in either third or first-person, allowing you to get an even closer look at your surroundings and the finer details. When travelling by horseback, you can use a cinematic camera and hold X to travel to your destination automatically for when you want to take in the scenery.

Red Dead Redemption 2 preview

We were lucky enough to play a preview of Red Dead Redemption 2 and experience a few hours in the muddied boots of Arthur Morgan. Rockstar has created what is surely the closest example of what it was like living in the Wild West and developed a character who feels incredibly real. Every interaction leads to subtle and unique changes to your surroundings or comments from NPCs and companions.

Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay

This is the first look at six minutes of pure Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay. In it we see Arthur Morgan getting into fistfights, hunting, playing poker minigames and grooming his horse. We also get a good look at the gunplay and firepower at Arthur's disposal as well as a glimpse of the Dead Eye targeting system which returns for Red Dead 2.

This second video released by Rockstar showcases the Dead Eye targeting detail in action, as well as a closer look at the minigames you can play, an impressive looking beard and what the game looks like from a first-person perspective.

No doubt all of this will look and sound amazing as well. After all, Red Dead Redemption 2 has 300,000 animations and 500,000 lines of dialogue.

Red Dead Redemption 2 PC

Is Red Dead Redemption 2 coming to PC? We’re not entirely sure, but one of the game’s developers did list a PC version of the open-world game on their LinkedIn profile recently. It was removed once sites reported on it.

Rockstar had previous success by releasing GTA V towards the end of a console generation. Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming out just as rumours on the PS5 and next Xbox are heating up. We won’t be surprised if a PC version comes out a year or so later, alongside a next-gen version of Red Dead Redemption 2, in the hopes that people double dip.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition and Collector's Box Edition

If you’ve got a spare £179, the Red Dead Redemption 2 Collector's Box Edition comes with a metal lockbox stuffed with merch, but the game comes separately. It's only available at GAME, and the UK retailer has an offer on now where you can get the box and the game bundled together. Here’s what you get:

  • Metal tithing box with lock and key
  • Collectable challenge coin
  • Double-sided, 100-piece jigsaw puzzle
  • Six shooter bandana
  • Treasure map for in-game goodies
  • Pin set
  • Playing Cards.
  • Wheeler, Rawson and Co. catalogue
  • 12 cigarette cards

If you buy the Ultimate Edition, you get access to all these in-game goodies:

  • Talisman and medallion gameplay bonuses
  • Gameplay boosts, cash bonuses and discounts
  • The Nuevo Paraiso Gunslinger outfit
  • Free access to additional weapons: the Volcanic Pistol, a Pump Action Shotgun and the Lancaster Varmint Rifle.
  • Two bonus outfits for online:
  • Black chestnut thoroughbred horse for online
  • Free access to the Survivor Camp theme for online
  • The same free weapons as in single player
  • Rank bonuses

Red Dead Redemption 2 characters

Dutch van der Linde: “They’re chasing us hard, because we represent everything that they fear.”

The leader of a sizeable gang of outlaws and misfits. Idealistic, anarchic, charismatic, well-read, well-lived, but possibly starting to unravel under the pressures of the encroaching modern world.

Hosea Matthews: “I wish I had acquired wisdom at less of a price.”

A master con artist, gentleman and thief, Hosea has been Dutch's closest friend and right-hand man for over twenty years. Intelligent and quick-witted, he can talk his way into, or out of, just about anything.

Molly O’Shea: “You’re playing a dangerous game.”

A Dublin girl and the object of Dutch’s affection, for now at least, Molly is too high-strung for a life on the run and it’s all starting to take a toll on her.

Susan Grimshaw: “I swear half of you would just rot in your own filth, if nobody kept you in check.”

The undisputed boss and arbiter of justice in the camp, everything would have fallen apart years ago without Susan in charge. Tenacious and iron-willed, she stands for no nonsense.

Pearson: “The people are happy and well fed. I think perhaps we'll be okay.”

The camp’s butcher and cook, Pearson served a short stint in the navy that he likes to talk about at length. A loud, jolly degenerate who is somewhat in denial about the turn his life has taken.

Micah Bell: “I believe there’s winners and losers... and nothing else besides.”

A career criminal and hitman. Wild and unpredictable but he lives for the action.

Charles Smith: “The amount of hell we've raised, we're owed some back.”

A relatively recent recruit to the gang, Charles is quiet and reserved but extremely competent in everything he does and virtually unbeatable in a fight. A decent, honest man who also happens to be deadly.

Bill Williamson: “Don't try anything stupid and we won't do anything unkind.”

An ex-soldier discharged from the army, possibly dishonorably. Hot headed, he tends to act first and think later but is tough, dedicated and always ready to fight.

Leopold Strauss: “It's a nasty world out there, and it's catching up with us...”

Originally hailing from Austria, Herr Strauss is responsible for keeping the gang’s books and running their money lending operation. A serious, somewhat shifty and unemotional man, he has all the qualities a loan shark needs.

John Marston: “Guess about all I got left now is doubts. Doubts and scars.”

Once an orphaned street kid taken under Dutch's wing at the age of twelve, John has always had to live by his wits. Shrewd, fearless and strong-willed, he and Arthur are Dutch’s proudest protégés.

Abigail Roberts: “If they so much as put one bruise on him I swear, I'll bring the fires of hell on them myself.”

An orphan who grew up scraping out a living in dive bars and brothels in the West, Abigail is a strong, straight-talking woman who has seen a lot of life and knows what it takes to survive against the odds.

Jack Marston: “Did you catch the bad guys?”

Young Jack has grown up with the gang, although everyone has done their best to shield him from the more nefarious elements, especially his mother Abigail. He loves everything about nature and the outdoor life, and is carefully watched over by his many aunts and uncles.

Karen Jones: “Running scams, robbing banks, screwing over the rich and horrible.”

A consummate scam artist and trigger woman who can drink pretty much anybody under the table. Bold and full of fun, she loves the outlaw life and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Javier Escuella: “If we have to fight, we fight. If we have to run, we’ll run. If we must die, we’ll die, but... we’ll stay free.”

A notorious bounty hunter and Mexican revolutionary. Javier immediately had a strong connection to Dutch’s ideals. Very committed, passionate and loyal.

Tilly Jackson: “Most of us grew up hungry and scared and alone, one way or another.”

An outlaw from the age of 12, Tilly ran with another gang before joining up with Dutch. Savvy, resilient and dependable, she can more than handle herself and isn’t afraid to speak her mind.

Uncle: “People call me lazy. I'm not lazy. Just don't like working. There's a difference.”

A hanger-on and good-time guy, Uncle is always around when the whiskey is open and never around when there’s any work to be done. If he wasn’t so entertaining, Dutch would have cut him loose years ago.

Mary-Beth Gaskill: “Gentlemen, I think I’ve got something good.”

A kind, good-natured young woman, which makes her the perfect criminal. By the time people realize they’ve been duped, Mary-Beth is already on her way home with the money.

Lenny Summers: “Living free out here, like this... I wouldn't have it any other way.”

Young Lenny has been on the run since he was 15 years old after killing the men who murdered his father. Smart, educated, competent and ambitious, he is always ready to do his part.

Josiah Trelawny: “How can romance ever be silly? It's all we have.”

A flamboyant conjurer, conman and trickster, Trelawny is a very hard man to pin down but he’s always able to bring good leads.

Reverend Swanson: “I had real suffering and I lost everything, my vocation, my faith, my family…”

An ex clergyman now lost to debauchery, Swanson has fallen a long way from the standards he once set himself. If he hadn’t saved Dutch’s life in the past, it’s unlikely the gang would have kept him around for this long.

Sean Macguire: “Just leave it to me. I can talk a dog off a meat wagon.”

A cocky young Irish thief and stick-up man who comes from a long line of criminals and political dissidents. He always wants a piece of the action and believes in himself…perhaps a little too much.

Sadie Adler: “Nobody’s taking nothing from me ever again.”

A widow who is hellbent on taking revenge upon those who killed her husband. Relentless and afraid of nothing and no one. The wrong woman to cross, but very loyal to those she loves.

Arthur Morgan: “We're thieves, in a world that don't want us no more.”

Dutch's most dependable and capable enforcer since he was a boy, the outlaw life is all Arthur has ever known. Sharp, cool-headed, and ruthless, but with his own sense of honor. A man who gets the job done.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Bank Robbery and Gang Hideout

Included in the Special Editions of the game, Bank Robbery and Gang Hideouts are exclusive content and will not be available for people who buy Red Dead Redemption 2 vanilla. These story missions were created specifically for people who shell out more cash for the Special Editions of the game, according to Rockstar.

Red Dead Redemption 2 story and setting

Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place in America, 1899, at the end of the Wild West - outlaws are hunted across the country as the old makes way to the new. As Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang, you must try survive this transitionary period while attempting to make your fortune.

Morgan and the rest of the gang are forced to flee across America following a botched robbery. The group is falling apart, and it's up to you where your loyalties lie.

It’s a prequel to the first game and will feature familiar faces, including the first game’s protagonist, John Marston, who himself is a member of the Van der Linde gang. Considering Arthur Morgan isn’t mentioned in the first game, we’re not expecting a happy ending to his story.

Red Dead Redemption 2 will feature some of the locations from the first game, including Blackwater and Armadillo, but the map is much larger and more varied.

Red Dead Redemption 2 locations

Valentine, New Hampshire

A small Heartlands town that attracts traders, ranchers, cowboys, gamblers, outlaws, and prostitutes, so prepare for trouble.


Coal mining is a bustling business in this town despite the terrible pay and death rate amongst the workers.

Saint Denis, Louisiana

Saint Denis lies on a key trade route where people from all backgrounds and livelihoods live in harmony. The crime rate could be better, though.

Mount Hagen, Massachusetts

This snowy town is strategically-located near a mountain pass between Beartooth Beck and the Dakota River, which we’re sure is no coincidence.


A peaceful town that is caught in the crossfire of two warring plantation families that you’ll obviously become embroiled in.


Strawberry’s new Mayor – an “East Coast eccentric” – is transforming the town into a tourist attraction. The locals aren’t exactly impressed with this liberal approach to their humble abode.


You can find this settlement in the Bayou swamps. Most of its citizens live off the land and keep to themselves, which an outlaw might find useful from time to time.

Red Dead Redemption 2 survival mechanics

You are escaping from the law. It makes sense, then, that you have to live off the land. Red Dead Redemption 2 features survival elements and you have to keep yourself and your camp fed.

You can do this by hunting and turning the sustenance back in at your camp. Be careful, though - that food won’t last forever. Red Dead Redemption 2 features a degradation system where dead things slowly rot and attract carrion. There weren’t any freezers in the Old West.

Red Dead Redemption 2 battle royale

According to rumours, Rockstar is adding its own take on the battle royale phenomenon to Red Dead Redemption 2’s online portion. The alleged leak places Battle Royale mode next to modes called Revive, Survive, and Money Grab.

It works with the survival mechanics mentioned above. Perhaps a steam train drops everyone off. After all, I don’t think they had parachutes back then either.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Honor System

Rockstar confirmed that the Honor System from the first RDR will return, and will affect how Morgan is treated by the NPCs and merchants in towns and settlements. The scale ranges from honorable to outlaw, and it’ll be interesting to see how this morality manifests itself in the final game. As reformed outlaw John Marston, it made sense that you could either try to maintain your integrity or relapse into lawless rebellion. As Arthur Morgan though, it seems like you’re still waist-deep in the degenerate lifestyle of a renegade. How “good” can a righteous playthrough be if you’re still robbing banks and killing people?

We also know that, based on your reputation from the Honor System, shopkeepers with alter their pricing and people will treat you differently. It’s possible that certain quests will only be available to upstanding members of the community, while others will require a less discerning gentleman, so to speak.

You’ll also be able to approach different situations in different ways, which will contribute to your reputation. The example used in previews has been where Morgan is looting a fishing settlement. When a fisherman appears and asks if Arthur would kindly put back the things he’s knicked, you can either whip out your six-shooter and gun him down, take the shoelace express and hightail it out of there, or menace the man into keeping schtum.

The time of day, location and any partners you choose to bring with you can also affect the outcome of quests.

Red Dead Redemption 2 guide

If you're afraid of missing anything in Red Dead Redemption 2's huge world, there's an official guide available. Acting as a companion on your journey, the guide will talk you through all the quests, sidequests, and collectables.

The Rockstar-endorsed guide comes in two variations; Standard Edition and Collector’s Edition, with the former having nicer paper and an “exclusive character art gallery”. Check out our dedicated post for pre-order details and price.

Red Dead Redemption 2 and GTA Online crossover

GTA Online will feature crossover events with Red Dead Redemption 2, allowing you to unlock weapons for taking part in missions. The most recent allows you to unlock a stone hatchet in Red Dead Redemption 2 for completing certain activities in GTA Online.

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