Saddle up, gunslingers, because Red Dead Online is upon us.
The multiplayer component of Rockstar’s wild west epic is scheduled for launch tomorrow on PS4 and Xbox One. Hold your horses, however, as it’s set to be staggered rollout. Owners of the Ultimate Edition will be able to jump in first, on Tuesday 27 November, followed by launch day players on Wednesday 28, then launch week players on Thursday 29, and finally everyone else on Friday 30.
This incremental rollout is likely an attempt to minimise the risk of a complete server overload as millions of players try to log in at once. After the cataclysmic failure that was the launch of GTA Online, it’s easy to see why this is a wise move. Regardless, expect the service to suffer teething problems during the initial week and until player numbers stabilise.
Despite going live tomorrow, very little is known about Red Dead Online. The only confirmed details reveal that it combines narrative and cooperative gameplay and shares the same colossal open world featured in the main game. You’ll be able to create your own custom cowboy or cowgirl and undertake a variety of missions and side activities, as well as participate in ambient events. You can expect more of a focus on RPG elements, too, and, tantalisingly, moral consequence to your actions. Unfortunately, it’s unknown at this time whether or not your horse’s testicles will continue to shrink and expand depending on the temperature. Rockstar, please. This is critical information.
It’s important to note that Red Dead Online is launching in beta form, positioned to grow independently alongside the single-player experience. Player feedback will shape the future of development and the game will continue to evolve in much the same way as GTA Online. It remains to be seen how Rockstar intend on monetising Red Dead Online, though, as the 19th century setting puts significant limitations on customisation. Spinner rims for your carriage? Chrome spurs? We’ll have to wait and see.