Of all the console games that never made it to PC, Red Dead Redemption is surely the most lamented. Rockstar’s Wild West epic has been gushed over for years, with the praise only pausing to welcome in a new chapter. As you probably know, Red Dead Redemption 2 has now officially landed, but the wait goes on for computer fans.
Despite huge demand, there’s been no news of a Red Dead Redemption 2 PC version. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Rockstar is keeping very quiet on the matter, however. Certainly, as the days tick by and Christmas looms closer, the chance of any kind of confirmation in 2018 looks slim. But it’s all not all bad news.
On the one hand, Rockstar is notorious for taking its time with PC releases. It took almost two years for Grand Theft Auto V to make it there. So, based on the studio’s track record, it is unlikely Red Dead Redemption 2 will make the jump any time soon. It makes the results of a recent app datamine rather intriguing.
Shortly after Red Dead Redemption 2 launched, it was joined by a free companion app for iOS and Android devices. The app lets players turn their phone or tablet into a second interactive map and engage with in game items off screen. The important thing, however, is what a deep dive into its data tells us about the game’s future.
Some clever computer bods managed to access the app’s parameters and they say some of its features are designed for PC graphics. According to Rockstar Intel, TXAA, anisotropic quality levels, particle lighting quality, grass quality, shadow distance, reflections and motion blur strength (to name a few) mean the app may be compatible with PC technology.
Not only that, but the following line of code was discovered: ‘CommandIsPcVersion(void) 000000000166A12C.’ Pretty interesting, huh? If that isn’t enough to get you thinking, how about the fact Oculus software is mentioned too. While it may well be a case of desperate gamers clutching at straws, it’s all we’re likely to get.
With Rockstar staying silent, speculation is all we’ve got to go for now. And these little references to PC compatibility are compelling evidence of future ambitions. It’s hard to see any downsides to a Red Dead Redemption 2 PC version. The fans are hungry for it. The console version of the game is already breaking records.
It’s been hailed as a masterpiece by critics from New York to Tokyo. We know it’ll be well received, so is it all a big tease? Rockstar is the black sheep studio. Despite being, arguably, the most influential game maker on the planet, it still feels dangerous. It refuses to play by the rules and that’s why it’s hard to make firm predictions.
Yes, a move to PC would be very lucrative for Rockstar. Is money a good enough reason to make the leap though? If the studio’s primary goal is to make cash, it wouldn’t have broken all the rules of modern gaming to release one of the slowest, most impressionistic titles to ever land on console. If one thing is clear, it’s that Rockstar won’t move to PC unless it really, really wants to.
To add to suspicions of a well-timed tease, there’s the fact one Rockstar employee listed the game as ‘coming soon’ to PC on his LinkedIn. It has since been changed, but it’s an interesting coincidence. Elsewhere, a PC version of the game was listed on a Dutch website. When asked about it, the retailer said it was just hoping to have a need for it one day soon.
If Red Dead Redemption does come to PC (and it’s a big if), it’s not going to appear for a while. Historically, Rockstar has been pretty sluggish with PC releases. GTA 4, for example, too seven months to make the jump. La Noire took six months. GTA V was by far the longest wait for PC fans, as it took a whopping 17 months to drop on PC after its release on PS3 and Xbox 360.
Despite all the caginess, thwarted rumours and teasing titbits, the odds are good for gaming fans waiting for a PC version of Red Dead 2. Skipping PC would be a curious misstep for Rockstar considering the strength of demand for a compatible version. Then, there’s the impact of virtual reality. Over the next few years, VR technology is predicted to take over as the most popular way to game.
The best graphics are found on PC, with devices like the HTC Vive offering unrivalled visuals and intuitive gameplay. If Rockstar wants to push the possibilities of its latest release even further, it needs to embrace the potential of virtual reality gaming. Then, this is Rockstar we’re talking about. It might snub the PC simply because it knows it shouldn’t.