Red Dead Redemption 2 is a disappointment. After a few hours with the cowboy simulator, I think it's an admirable creation, but I do not enjoy playing it. Now developer Rockstar Games is preparing to launch the Red Dead Online mode tomorrow on November 27th in a beta test and I hope all over again.
Rockstar has still not shown many details about Red Dead Online. So I think most people are under the impression that it is GTA Online with horses. That has some attraction, but it is not enough to bring me back. I also want Rockstar to make some substantial improvements to the underlying foundations of both Red Dead Redemption 2 and the GTA Online infrastructure.
Red Dead Redemption 2 has an archaic and complicated control scheme. I also have no expectation that Rockstar will do anything to remedy that. If it has done very little to modernize the controls since Grand Theft Auto IV. My assumption is that the developer thinks the scheme is okay as it is.
But I do expect Rockstar to improve the input lag.
The delay between moving the analog joystick and when Arthur Morgan starts moving in Red Dead is very noticeable. EA Motive animator Dan Lowe posted a video on Twitter and studied that delay, and he noticed that it was considerably higher than comparable games. This makes everything in Red Dead Redemption 2 slow or "deliberate" when you are generous.
But if a slow movement is annoying in a game for one player, the poison is for an online experience. If you die because you can not get your character out of the horse quickly enough, you get frustrated.
Faster loading times and better organization
I have not played a lot of GTA Online, and that is for a few reasons. Most striking is that the loading times kill the stimulation. I also think it is difficult to find reliable content outside the robbery. And even the robbery often feels broken, because if you do not have a full crew of four players, you have to rely on the notoriously poisonous and fickle Rockstar community.
For Red Dead Online I would like to see much less loading times. When I see them, I hope they are shorter than what you get in GTA Online. And most importantly, a lengthy loading screen should not put me back in the game for one player if Red Dead Online can not find any opponents to adjust me, something that GTA Online actually does.
Rockstar must also do something about how it brings out the different game types. In GTA Online you can search lists of different modes, but these lists contain almost no data to help you understand exactly what you want to deal with. Red Dead Online could use something like a more detailed community tagging system to deal with that.
And then I hope that Rockstar will reread the experience to do multiplayer raids or whatever the Red Dead equivalent is. In GTA Online you can not start certain Heist missions unless you have four players. And if one of your four players ends, you automatically fail the quest. The developer has done some work to reduce those requirements. For example, you can perform some of the most recent Heist missions as a squadron for two players. Hopefully Rockstar will continue to move in that direction.
Better systems for interaction with the world and other players
Finally, I want Red Dead Online to keep the promise of the world of Red Dead Redemption 2.
One of my biggest problems with the single player experience is that every moment contains a script. I never got the idea that Rockstar was transferring control of his systems to me so that I could go out and create my own pleasure. So that's what I want from Red Dead Online.
If this multiplayer mode is just a way to go out and do scripted missions with friends, you can unsubscribe me. But if Rockstar gives me ways to become creative, I am very interested.
For example, can I run a security racket in a city with my gang? And should I just go out and shoot a rival crew trying to mess with my stores, or can I easily ambush against them by placing a juicy, broken-off carriage outside their camp?
It does not have to work exactly like that, but I want some freedom to become creative. And this is Rockstar's chance to transfer that to us.