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Why Rockstar Won't Remake The Original Red Dead Revolver

Wild West adventure title "Red Dead Redemption" is arguably one of the best open-world games of all time, leading to a sequel that changed gaming and brought the series to new heights (and greater sales figures).

Given the success of the franchise, it may come as a surprise to players that the first game in the wildly successful series, "Red Dead Revolver," looked quite different than the games that came to follow it. Though the "Redemption" games are known for their deep, thoughtful plots, engaging gameplay, and nearly endless open-world possibilities, the 2004 title that started it all is bare-bones in comparison.

Though "Red Dead Revolver" unequivocally pales in comparison to the "Redemption" games, the title still holds its own as a simple third-person shooter with generally positive reviews from critics and fans alike. So now that the "Redemption" games that follow it have blown up, would Rockstar ever consider remaking the original title? Though anything is possible, it seems unlikely that a "Red Dead Revolver" remake will see the light of day for many different reasons.

Revolver's Retro Gameplay Requires Modernizing

There are rules every "Red Dead Redemption" game has to follow, nearly none of which were part of "Red Dead Revolver." Fans of "Redemption" love the handcrafted open world, intentional voice acting and scripting, and cinematic, historically informed story that interweaves seamlessly with gameplay.

"Revolver" boasts none of these iconic series elements. One of the only things that makes it stand out from the others is its timed mission function, which was eventually cut from "Red Dead Redemption." Otherwise, it's a completely different animal much more closely resembling the arcade game "Gun.Smoke," which it was originally based on. While throwback fun is certainly something that could strike a chord with players — especially as the franchise has grown in popularity — it wouldn't make sense for Rockstar to replicate the simplest and least popular game in the series.

It would be possible for Rockstar to re-envision "Revolver" by applying the "Redemption" norms to the older title, but it would essentially mean making a whole new game. For those hoping this means "Red Dead Redemption 3" is around the corner, it'll be disappointing to learn that a third "Redemption" title likely won't be out for a long time, if at all. This is due to historically long development cycles, other Rockstar projects keeping the team busy, and the continued success of "Red Dead Redemption 2" and "Red Dead Redemption Online" that's keeping fans occupied.

Recent Redemption Games Still Need Updates

Though the latest "Red Dead" installments have performed well, they've also left players wanting more in the years since the 2018 release. Rockstar hasn't done much to meet the demand for more "Red Dead Redemption 2" and "Red Dead Redemption Online" content updates yet, but potential updates could keep the crew busy for some time.

Most notably, in June 2020, "Red Dead Redemption 2" fans put together a petition asking Rockstar for single-player DLC which didn't pan out as hoped. As much as the sequel satisfied players, the lack of additional content for "Redemption 2" even after it was requested left many fans feeling sour. Though an update for the game was released in Dec. 2020 which mitigated some disappointment, it wasn't enough to change the general impression that Rockstar hasn't put in the work to keep the games fresh. Fans are going to great lengths for new content, and they're clearly still enjoying the recent "Redemption" titles. In the absence of any official DLC, modders recently resurrected an unofficial version of the beloved "Red Dead Redemption" zombie expansion "Undead Nightmare" for the sequel in November 2021. 

Disappointment for "Red Dead Redemption Online" has been persistent as well, so much so that players protested the lack of significant updates in July 2020 in a unique way. It didn't help that the December 2020 online update messed up the game's prior streak system, which sent gamers into an uproar once again. If Rockstar can't keep up with its current games, a remake seems even less likely.

Development Timeline Trends Point to No

For many of the same reasons Rockstar probably won't release "Red Dead Redemption 3" soon, if ever, it seems unlikely that a remake of "Revolver" would come to light anytime soon given the fairly recent releases of both "Red Dead Redemption 2" and "Red Dead Redemption Online" in 2018. Considering that gaps between releases have been in the 6-8 year range, a possible full new title or remake has got to be far in the future.

If history is any guide, Rockstar will likely trickle out additional updates over the next few years, whether or not they fulfill the appetite players have for new content. While the company could capitalize on this desire for more by pursuing a "Revolver" remake, it seems pretty unlikely since the developers haven't kept up with the demands players have for more "Red Dead Redemption 2" and "Red Dead Redemption Online" content. Though there's still good reason for players to anticipate a possible "Red Dead Redemption 3" release in due time, the hands-off approach Rockstar has taken with its previously-released titles suggests a remake is even less likely than a brand new title. On top of that, November 2020 rumors of a "Red Dead Redemption" remake haven't materialized, and "Revolver" rumors are currently nonexistent.

GTA is Keeping Rockstar Occupied

Rockstar is clearly busy with things other than "Red Dead" these days. The latest "GTA" game is off to a rocky start; So far for the November 2021 GTA remaster "Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy — The Definitive Edition,"  meaning that Rockstar might not have the resources to confidently deliver a "Red Dead Revolver" remake. "GTA: The Trilogy" was eagerly anticipated, yet let fans down right out of the gate with glitchy graphics, dozens of missing songs that had been promised, and more significant challenges along the way.

If Rockstar is using the "GTA" trilogy remaster as a litmus test to see whether or not gamers are interested in more remakes, the possibility of a "Red Dead Revolver" remake looks even slimmer. The company clearly has its focus on "GTA" at the moment, and it is continuing to reap the benefits of 2018's "Red Dead" games' success with or without fan-desired updates. As much drama as there has been around "GTA: The Trilogy," Rockstar seems unaffected by fan feedback, so even if players end up making a push for a "Red Dead Revolver" remake or another new title in the series, the company will go at its own pace. That is, if the highly anticipated release of "GTA 6" – still yet to be announced — is to serve as an example.

Budgeting Could Be a Burden

Practical concerns and other priorities for Rockstar could be a big reason a "Red Dead Revolver" remake isn't on the agenda at the moment. Even if a remake was seen as desirable to the company, it would be a huge investment.

Considering "Red Dead Redemption" cost $100 million to develop, it seems likely Rockstar wouldn't want to dole out the big bucks on a "Red Dead Revolver" remake. On the flip side, if Rockstar did anything less than a large-scale production, it would likely lead to disappointment for players used to the scale and grandeur of the modern-day "Red Dead" titles. It makes more sense for the company to save the money for sure-fire success, whether that be a new "GTA" or "Red Dead" title, or a remake of a more notable title.

As loyal fans of "Red Dead" know by now, patience is the name of the game. While "Red Dead Revolver" probably won't ever get the remake it deserves, Rockstar is sure to eventually deliver some new "Red Dead" content to satisfy its passionate fans.