Red Dead

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Red Dead
Official Red Dead logo.png
The logo of the Red Dead series, since 2010[1][2]
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Publisher(s) Rockstar Games
Platform(s) of origin
  • PlayStation 2
  • Xbox
First release Red Dead Revolver
May 3, 2004
Latest release Red Dead Redemption 2
October 26, 2018

Red Dead is a series of Western-themed action-adventure video games published by Rockstar Games.[3][4][5][6][7] The first entry in the series, Red Dead Revolver was released in the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in May 3, 2004. Originally developed by Capcom, borrowing elements from their 1985 arcade title Gun.Smoke, which it was intended to be a spiritual successor to,[8] the project was scrapped in 2002.[9] Subsequently, Rockstar purchased the game and expanded on it.[10] Red Dead Redemption, developed by Rockstar San Diego who also worked on its predecessor, was released in May 2010 to critical and commercial acclaim. Selling over 15 million copies by 2017 and winning many year-end accolades from multiple gaming publications, the game was considered to be one of the best games of all time. Multiple DLCs were added, including Undead Nightmare, a single-player expansion later released as a standalone game. A Game of the Year edition of the game includes all of the additional content. Red Dead Redemption 2, developped by Rockstar Studios[a] released on October 26, 2018. The game was also widely acclaimed and considered to be the best game in the series. It also was an absolute commercial success as it has the biggest opening weekend in history of entertainment generating $725 million in revenue in just three days and selling 17 million copies in two weeks.


Timeline of release years
2004 Red Dead Revolver
2010 Red Dead Redemption
Undead Nightmare
2018 Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Revolver

Red Dead Revolver, set in the 1880s, follows bounty hunter Red Harlow, as he uncovers the plot that killed his parents and exacts revenge.[11]

Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption takes place in the year 1911, during the decline of the American Old West and the Mexican Revolution.[12] A spiritual successor to Red Dead Revolver,[13] the game follows John Marston, a former outlaw, while he sets out to hunt down his former gang members. Marston's wife and son are taken hostage by the government in ransom for his services as a bounty hunter. Having no other choice, he sets out to bring his three former gang members to justice.

  • Undead Nightmare is a non-canon expansion that follows the exploits of John Marston, as he searches for a cure for an infectious zombie plague that has swept across the American Old West.[14] A standalone disc, titled Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Collection, which does not require the original Red Dead Redemption game to be played, was released in North America on November 22, 2010.[15][16]

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 follows the story of Arthur Morgan, an outlaw and a member of the Van der Linde gang in 1899, in the waning years of the American Old West and extinction of the age of outlaws and gunslingers.[17] Among returning characters are John Marston and Dutch Van der Linde.[18][19][20] The game is a prequel to the 2010 title Red Dead Redemption and the third entry in the Red Dead series.[21][22]

Common elements


In each game in the franchise, the player takes the role of an outlaw in the waning years of the American Old West. Both three titles are third-person shooters (although Red Dead Redemption 2 gives you the option to play in first-person) yet there are crucial differences between them. The first game in the series follows a sheerly linear storyline with fixed, limited locations. Red Dead Redemption however provides the player with an open world setting and gives them various options for exploration, random encounters and side-missions. Red Dead Redemption 2 however is the biggest and most immersive of the three, providing far more options and activities for the player than in its previous titles. Combat and gunplay are a fundamental part in the franchise; players can cover, blind-fire, free-aim and can get into physical altercations with enemies. Kinds of weapons are introduced in both three games, typically rifles and revolvers. Horses, stagecoaches and trains are the primary methods of transportation in both three games due to the period in which they are set.

Dead Eye

The trademark game mechanic of the series is the Dead Eye system. For a short period, it allows the player to aim at his targets in slow motion for better accuracy. After painting your targets, time goes back to normal as you then attack with a flurry of bullets in rapid succession. The Dead Eye system in Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2 has been refined, as it levels up as the game progresses, giving the player more options when using it.[23]


Red Dead Redemption brings a new mechanic to the franchise that has been improved in Red Dead Redemption 2: a morality system where the player gains positive or negative "honor". Good deeds like saving townsfolk from danger will level up the player's honor, while malicious actions like harming innocents or committing theft will lower the player's honor. The player should be considerate of the honour system, as it can influence how the world interacts with the character.[24]


All three games have a similar Western setting, as they have canyons and towns that are pretty much alike. Red Dead Revolver's game setting is quite transient as Red usually moves from town to town throughout the game. Red Dead Redemption offers the player a more significant interaction with the environment, and its location is bigger than the previous game. It ranges from canyons to deserts, but the player is unable to reach to the outer limit due to the borders surrounding the area (mountains and deep ravines). There are several towns and settlements that the player can visit, each with their own citizens (of whom the player can interact with). Red Dead Redemption 2's world is greatly expanded compared to its predecessor's. It is far bigger, more immersive, lifelike and responsive, and also includes its map. [25]Each game is set in the U.S. The first two games also include Mexico.


Each protagonist in their respective games do have a particular thing in common: they are all gunslingers. Red Harlow and John Marston, while completely unrelated, share similar traits such as their facial scars, hats and their commitment to their family. Arthur Morgan and John used to run in the same gang of outlaws. Red Dead Redemption 2 shows the relationship between the two, and even features John as a playable character in its epilogues.



Red Harlow: The protagonist in Red Dead Revolver, Red Harlow is the only known son of Nate Harlow, a gold miner, and his wife Falling Star. Through his mother, he is a descendant of the Red Wolf Native Americans tribe, and one of the grandchildren of Running Moon, the tribe's current chief. Years after the death of his parents, Red trained to become a deadly gunslinger and a feared bounty hunter.

Red is also cousin to Red Wolf member Shadow Wolf, and the two of them used to play together before the deaths of Red's parents.

Governor Griffon: The main antagonist in Red Dead Revolver, Griffon was Nate Harlow's partner and co-owner of the Bear Mountain gold claim. Griffon was trying to cross a river at which General Javier Diego was engaged with the Mexican Army. Griff was brought before Diego and was to be executed until he offered gold for his life. He offered half the gold and explained that his partner had the other half of the claim. This betrayal cost Nate his life and essentially set the plot of the game in motion. Over time, Griffon would become the governor.

Javier Diego: An antagonist in Red Dead Revolver, Javier Diego is General of the Mexican Army.

Colonel Daren: Darren was Diego's right-hand man. Diego sent Daren and some members of his army to kill the Harlow family. Daren succeeded in killing Nate Harlow and his wife, but Nate's son, Red Harlow, took his father's burned Scorpion Revolver and shot off Daren's arm. After Daren loses his left arm, Diego paid out of his own pocket to have it replaced with a compact, shoulder-mounted mortar.

Redemption (1/2)

John Marston: The protagonist in Red Dead Redemption as well as an eventual playable character in Red Dead Redemption 2, John Marston is a former member of the broken Van der Linde gang who has sought to leave his life of crime as an outlaw behind to live safely with his wife and son Abigail and Jack. Blackmailed by the federal government as they kidnap his family, John Marston must bring wanted people, formerly members of his old gang, to justice, in order to save his wife and son.

The events of Red Dead Redemption 2 show a younger John and how he used to live with the Van der Linde gang. In the epilogues, he's seen leaving his broken gang behind as he attempts to lead a normal life with a younger Abigail and Jack. He eventually finds former allies, kills Micah Bell, pays off his loans with the money from his old gang and marries Abigail.

Dutch van der Linde: The leader of the Van der Linde gang in Red Dead Redemption. Red Dead Redemption 2 shows him as a younger and charismatic leader of the Van der Linde gang, to which he considers its members as family. Throughout the game, he slowly grows more violent and paranoid as they keep facing numerous problems, until he finally betrays his allies and parts ways with them.

In Red Dead Redemption, he is one of the dangerous fugitives John Marston has to hunt down.

Arthur Morgan: The protagonist in Red Dead Redemption 2, he is an outlaw, one of the first members of the Van der Linde gang as well as Dutch's right-hand man. Ever since the botched robbery at Blackwater, the Van der Linde gang has been facing several problems. As the game progresses, Arthur begins to question his loyalty to Dutch as the latter gradually descends into violent behavior.

Edgar Ross: The main antagonist in Red Dead Redemption. Formerly agent of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and then director of the Bureau of Investigation, he holds John Marston's family away from him, and promises to free them in condition that John tracks down former members of the Van der Linde gang. He eventually betrays John as he sends an army of men to ambush the Marstons, who fight back. John dies at the end of the attack as he is shot down by numerous men while his family escapes. Edgar is then found three years later by Jack, who kills him in a duel.[26][27]

Micah Bell: The main antagonist in Red Dead Redemption 2. He was an experienced criminal that has been in the Van der Linde gang for a couple of months. Micah was disloyal, secretly working for the Pinkertons and is the primary cause of the demise of the Van der Linde gang.

Andrew Milton: An antagonist in Red Dead Redemption 2, Milton was Edgar Ross' partner in the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Both he and Ross were hired by Leviticus Cornwall, a wealthy businessman and industrialist, to take down Dutch for robbing his train.

Colm O'Driscoll: Colm O'Driscoll was a longtime notorious outlaw around the Old West. He had a sort of a partnership with Dutch, and they would both found gangs named after them. Their partnership soon turned to rivalry after Dutch killed Colm's brother, to which Colm retaliated by killing Annabelle, a woman Dutch dearly liked. Over the following years, Colm's gang has been largely expanded, turning into one of the largest criminal organisations in the Old West.


Aggregate review scores
Game Metacritic
Red Dead Revolver 73/100 (PS2)[28]
74/100 (Xbox)[29]
Red Dead Redemption 95/100 (PS3)[30]
95/100 (X360)[31]
Red Dead Redemption 2 97/100 (PS4)[32]
97/100 (XONE)[33]

The Red Dead series, particularly the second and third games, are critically acclaimed. Red Dead Redemption, averaging 95% on both review aggregate websites Metacritic and GameRankings, won numerous awards, including Game of the Year by GameSpy and GameSpot,[34][35] and is considered to be one of the greatest games of all time.[36][37][38][39][40] Reviewers praised the visuals, music, acting, open world gameplay and the story. A Game of the Year edition containing all additional content was released in October 2011.[41]Red Dead Redemption 2, averaging 97% for both platforms on Metacritic, was also widely acclaimed by critics, who praised the same aspects as well as its significant level of detail. It received multiple excellent scores. [42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49] and is currently nominated for 8 awards from The Game Awards 2018, one of them for Game of The Year.


While not as best-selling as its sister franchise Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead is still a financial success. Red Dead Revolver sold 920,000 copies in North America as of July 2, 2010.[50]Red Dead Redemption absolutely broke the records of its previous game, having shipped over 11 million copies by August 2011.[51]Red Dead Redemption then shipped over 15 million copies by February 2017.[52]Red Dead Redemption 2 however, marked the franchise's commercial achievement. In three days, the game generated $725 million in revenue, officially having the largest opening weekend in history of entertainment as well as being the second highest-selling entertainment launch, behind Grand Theft Auto V, another widely popular title from Rockstar Games. Two weeks after launch, the game already shipped over 17 million units, thus exceeding its predecessors' lifetime sales.[53]


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  2. ^ "Red Dead Redemption". Rockstar Games. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
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  4. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (20 October 2016). "Red Dead Redemption 2 PS4 Players Will Have First Access to Some Online Content". Gamespot. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  5. ^ McKinney, Jessica (18 October 2016). "Rockstar Games Confirms 'Red Dead Redemption 2'". Complex. Complex Media, Inc. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  6. ^ Koller, John. "Red Dead Redemption 2: PlayStation and Rockstar Games Announce Partnership". Playstation Blog. Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. Archived from the original on 23 June 2018. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  7. ^ Parker, Ryan (20 October 2016). "'Red Dead Redemption 2' Teaser Released". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  8. ^ Parish, Jeremy (October 26, 2016). "Red Dead Redemption's Curious 8-Bit Origin Story". USgamer.
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  10. ^ Crist, Ry (8 August 2016). "Red Dead Redemption 2: Everything we know". CNET Magazine. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  11. ^ "The Legends and Killers of Red Dead Revolver: Part One". Rockstar Games. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  12. ^ Tamburro, Paul (2 May 2018). "When Does Red Dead Redemption Take Place? RDR 2 Time Period". Game Revolution. Mandatory Media, LLC and Evolve Media, LLC. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  13. ^ Mills, Adam (5 February 2018). "Red Dead Redemption 2 Release: 5 Things to Know". Gotta Be Mobile. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  14. ^ Venom Raptor (17 March 2013). "Violently cleansing the wild west frontier and wilderness from the walking dead as John Marston is gory entertainment". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  15. ^ "Red Dead Redemption Original Artwork: Horse Racing with Combat (From the Undead Nightmare Collection / Liars and Cheats Pack)". Rockstar Games. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  17. ^ Gurwin, Gabe (16 October 2018). "'Red Dead Redemption 2': Everything you need to know". Digital Trends. Designtechnica Corporation. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  18. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (May 4, 2018). "Red Dead Redemption 2 Trailer Shows John Marston And Van Der Linde Gang". GameSpot. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  19. ^ Orry, Tom; Cryer, Hirun; Wallace, Jamie (June 12, 2018). "Red Dead Redemption 2 Release Date, Pre-Order Bonuses, Editions, Trailers, Characters, PC Version - Everything we Know". USgamer. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  20. ^ "Red Dead Redemption 2: Who is Arthur Morgan?". IGN Entertainment, Inc. Ziff Davis, LLC. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  21. ^ "Why Red Dead Redemption 2 Is More than Just a Prequel". IGN. Ziff Davis, LLC. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  22. ^ Pereira, Chris (May 23, 2017). "Red Dead Redemption 2's New Release Window Narrowed Further". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
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  27. ^ Sarkar, Samit (24 October 2018). "A refresher on Red Dead Redemption 2's returning characters". Polygon. Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  28. ^ "Red Dead Revolver". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. 3 May 2004. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  29. ^ "Red Dead Revolver". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. 3 May 2004. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  30. ^ "Red Dead Redemption". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. 18 May 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  31. ^ "Red Dead Redemption". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. 18 May 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  32. ^ "Red Dead Redemption 2 for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  33. ^ "Red Dead Redemption 2 for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  34. ^ "GameSpy Game of the Year 2010". GameSpy. IGN Entertainment, Inc. 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  35. ^ "GameSpot Game of the Year 2010". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc. 2010. Archived from the original on June 19, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  36. ^ "The 100 best games of all time". GamesRadar. Future Publishing Limited. February 15, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  37. ^ "The 20 best games of Edge's lifetime". Edge. 2013. Archived from the original on 11 December 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  38. ^ "The 100 Greatest Video Games of All Time". Empire. 1 June 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  39. ^ "Metacritic Game Releases by Score, All time". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  40. ^ "IGN's Top 100 Modern Games". IGN. Ziff Davis, LLC. 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  41. ^ Kasten, Emmy; Lewis, Alan (13 September 2011). "Rockstar Games Announces Red Dead Redemption: Game of the Year Edition Release on October 11, 2011". Business Wire. New York. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
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  50. ^ Alexander Sliwinski (July 2, 2010). "NPD on the Red Dead, Alan Wake, and Split/Second retail showdown". Joystiq. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
  51. ^ Graft, Kris (August 8, 2011). "Take-Two: Red Dead Redemption Ships 11M Units". Gamasutra. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  52. ^ Makuch, Eddie (February 7, 2017). "Red Dead Redemption Shipped 15M Copies; Take-Two Promises Major Marketing For Sequel". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  53. ^ Sarkar, Samit. "Red Dead Redemption 2 tops 17 million copies shipped". Polygon. Retrieved 7 November 2018.

Further reading

  • Hester, Blake (October 17, 2018). "How the Red Dead franchise began". Polygon. Retrieved October 21, 2018.

External links

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