Anyone who knows me personally would already know that I am a massive Rockstar Games fan. From racing through the seamless environments of Midnight Club, to the neo-noir detective masterpiece L.A. Noire, to the genre defining Grand Theft Auto series, the company have continually raised the bar when it comes to gaming. But ask me which is the best and I’ll quickly tell you that there is one game that stands above them all, and that is Red Dead Redemption.
For those of you not familiar with the game, Red Dead Redemption is an open world, western adventure shooter set during the decline of the American Frontier in the year of 1911. You play as John Marston, a former outlaw sent across the American West to capture or kill his former gang members. Think Grand Theft Auto, but a century earlier when cars (mostly) didn’t exist and horseback riding was the primary mode of transport.For fans of the game, you may know that Microsoft recently added Red Dead Redemption to its rapidly growing list of backwards compatible games. Such was my desire to play the game again, the day that the backwards compatible version went live, I spent the whole afternoon constantly refreshing the Xbox store waiting for the download to appear. I have since completed the main story for a third time, and while it still played well and looked gorgeous for its age, I couldn’t help but think how perfect this game would be as a remastered title.
First and foremost, the biggest appeal for a remaster of RDR would be the graphical improvements. While the game still looks great, there is clearly a huge gulf between the visuals of current gen titles compared to those on PS3 and Xbox 360. We have seen the visual improvements made in remastered titles such as Metro Redux, Gears of War and Grand Theft Auto V. The world of RDR is a vast, detailed and expansive sandbox, and there is so much visual potential to unlock.Just as equally important to me as a graphical upgrade, is a stable frame rate, both of which RDR has had its fair share of troubles with in the past. On Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the game’s framerate would regularly drop, particularly in busy settlements such as Armadillo and Blackwater. In addition, screen tearing was a major issue on these consoles. The good news is, the backwards compatibility on Xbox One has addressed these issues – screen tearing is a thing of the past now, and besides one shootout at Ridgewood farm, the game holds a constant framerate of 30fps. What I’d love to see however is this game running at 60fps. We’ve seen it done, with the remaster of the Metro series and The Last Of Us, among many other games – running at a glorious 60fps and gameplay benefits greatly for it. There is a real subtle beauty about a game that runs and holds 60fps, and a remaster would give Rockstar the opportunity to do that with RDR.
While we know that gamers would benefit greatly from a remaster of RDR, the commercial potential for Rockstar would be massive. In August 2015, RDR reached a total of 14 million copies sold worldwide. Then, the week Rockstar announced that the title would be available for the Xbox One backwards compatibility program, Amazon sales multiplied by nearly 5000%. Consider how amazing that jump is, while bearing in mind the game is 6 years old and the backwards compatible version offers nothing new besides a stable frame rate.
Now consider how many of those 14 million plus people would purchase a remastered, graphically improved, 60fps version of RDR? Gears of War, a decade old title, has sold nearly 3 million copies since it was remastered. Metro Redux outsold Metro: Last Light on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 combined. It is clear that, as long as the price point is set right, gamers are keen to buy remastered titles. Set the price around the $50 mark, and Rockstar would sell a LOT of copies of a remastered RDR. This has also been proven in the release of GTA V on PS4 and Xbox One, which sold tremendously.
With hype building around a potential announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2 at Gamescom in August, now would be an ideal time for Rockstar to dedicate some resources to a remaster of RDR. The success of the recent backwards compatible release, combined with the anticipation of an inevitable sequel, would see excellent sales of a remaster and truly please gaming fans alike.