Red Dead Redemption was a marvel. It took a setting rarely used in games - the gun touting, horse-riding Wild West - and crafted one of the finest open-world experiences of the past few years around it.
Cowboys are cool; they have revolver duels, smoke cigars, wrangle horses, hunt on horseback, always look dapper, and have that squinty eyed twitch to show they mean business. Red Dead Redemption might not have been perfect but we think Rockstar was as close to it as gaming has ever been.
We're more than ready to play cowboy in Wild West again, Rockstar hasn't announced a sequel yet but that hasn't stopped us from thinking about it constantly (in fact we've been thinking about it for over a two years now). What needs to happen? What changes need to occur to keep the frontier fresh?
We've come up with some more ideas we'd love to see Rockstar try. As always tell us what you'd like to see in the comments.
The overwhelming beauty of Red Dead's world was its most memorable triumph. Of all its stunning moments, trotting happily into Mexico for the first time while Jose Gonzalez's acoustic hummed quietly in the distance is a moment that's stuck with us to this day. Despite being mostly barren, Red Dead Redemption's landscape was had a tangible sense of place, a wonderful atmosphere and jaw droppingly pretty sunsets.
For Red Dead 2 to drive home the same effect drastic change is needed to keep things really fresh. Don't get us wrong; we still want cowboys, revolvers and horses, but everything around those fundamental elements needs to feel different enough to keep us compelled.
For example, we personally thought the town of Blackwater in Red Dead Redemption was a bit of a disappointment. Having wondered what we'll find all the way through the first two-thirds of the game, it was hardly the vision of a bustling city on the verge of modernisation that we expected.
Why not take us further on in time to the point where industry had almost extinguished life in the Wild West altogether. Cities beginning to take shape while the remnants of the frontier collapses around them. Red Dead played around with the prospects, occurring in 1911, but a more substantial look at the turn of an era would keep our eyes peeled wider than a Wild West hooker's legs.
To contrast part of it could also go back in time to when the cowboys were more relevant. Rockstar would have far more freedom to play around with the world and landscape, focussing on the Wild West at the height of its brutal reign instead of at its demise.