Red Dead Online Turns 5, But Rockstar Never Realized Its Potential

It Could've Been Amazing!

Story Highlights
  • Red Dead Online first launched in November 2018 as a beta game mode.
  • Since then, Rockstar has disappointed the fans on numerous occasions, falling to expand the game in meaningful ways.
  • Most of the studio’s focus has gone into GTA Online support, leading to Red Dead Redemption 2’s online offering being ignored.

Rockstar is always looking to impress the industry, whether through the incredibly successful GTA Online or the genre-defining Red Dead Redemption 2. The latter turned five years old recently and has sold 57 million copies to date.

However, unlike GTA 5, this title’s online mode never lived up to its potential. Red Dead Online, the multiplayer component of Red Dead Redemption 2, celebrated its fifth anniversary recently, but Rockstar’s treatment of the game is quite disappointing.

Why it matters: This game mode had the potential to become another major live service project for Rockstar, lasting for many years with content updates and quality-of-life improvements.

YouTube video

Five years later, it is clear that Red Dead Online is not Rockstar’s favorite online mode. With the bulk of the attention going toward GTA Online, the studio’s latest online offering feels barebones and lacking in comparison.

The fact that Red Dead Online lacks a basic solo lobby function says everything one needs to know about the state of this game mode. Where Rockstar absolutely nailed a beautiful single-player story, the studio’s online mode is still lacking an identity in 2023.

With repetitive missions and unfulfilling rewards, this online mode ignores the possibilities unique to a setting like the Wild West. Instead of allowing players to experience new stories or own properties like a ranch, updates like Blood Money ended up being quite insignificant.

The developer also stopped releasing major updates for this mode in 2022. Looking at fan opinions, it is clear that a similar sentiment is echoed across the community.

Shared disappointment at wasted opportunity
byu/scabling inRedDeadOnline

 

Comparing the state of this online mode to GTA Online, the latter has received several heists since its 2013 launch.

Characters from the story mode have also been featured in various updates that expand their stories, capturing the essence of the live-service model that works so well for an ongoing game.

Despite these flaws, Red Dead Online is still a fun game mode. For fans looking to explore Red Dead Redemption 2 after the initial story mode playthrough, this mode can be a catalyst for a few more hours of gameplay. As fans of the title, however, are saddened that it never got the love it deserved.

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