Red Dead Redemption 2‘s long awaited third trailer is finally here. Rockstar’s open-world Western is now less than a year from launch, and that means the notoriously secretive developer is finally showing off more of the game’s story. We’ve pored over every scene in this two-minute trailer to find every new gameplay feature and narrative tease we could.
The trailer opens on what appears to be a train robbery, with Dutch van der Linde threatening the occupants of the train before ordering his gang to open fire. Intriguingly, the snowy environment and time of day—either dusk or dawn—mean this is almost certainly a different train robbery than the one we saw in the second trailer. It would seem train robberies will be a recurring feature of the game’s story. If there’s a full set of mechanics for holding up locomotives, could that also be something you could on your own in the open world?
Judging by how many shots of protagonist Arthur Morgan and this mysterious woman we’ve seen so far, it’s a safe bet they have a special relationship. Are they perhaps lovers?
Though we had a pretty good idea of when the game is set thanks to this week’s leak, this text would appear to be confirmation that the game will indeed be set at least partially in 1899. That means John Marston should already be a member of Dutch’s gang—but we’ll get to that later on.
The year 1899 is also significant because it’s the date of the so-called Blackwater Massacre, a massive gunfight that killed as many as 37 people. The event is shrouded in mystery in the lore due to a police cover-up, but we’d bet the event will play a huge role in the story. It may even be the climax.
What’s interesting here is that the themes in this onscreen text and the next discuss the decline of the Wild West era of gunslingers and outlaws. This is more or less the exact same theme the first Red Dead Redemption explored, and it was set more than a decade later. We trust Rockstar, but this sure does sound a little repetitive as it’s presented in the trailer.
These shots of Dutch’s gang riding out in formation show just how ridiculously detailed the graphics will be when you’re on horseback. Just look at all the dirt and grass being kicked up by those hooves. It’s absurd.
Dutch certainly seems to have a close relationship with Arthur Morgan, too. Rockstar has talked about “deepening internal divisions” and Arthur being forced to make a choice between his own ideals and the gang. It sure sounds like Dutch might go too far at some point, and that will be a major source of drama between him and our antihero.
The gang sits around a campfire while this older member regales how he first met Dutch. The fire effects have been featured heavily throughout the game’s three trailers, and they’re mighty impressive. That’s fitting, given how much this trailer talks about fire.
We’re trying not to focus on the graphics too much, but this is another reminder that the night skies in Red Dead Redemption 2 look better than pretty much anything we’ve seen on this generation of consoles.
This shot of (we assume) protagonist Arthur Morgan lassoing a horse indicate that herds of wild horses will roam the landscape and some version of Red Dead Redemption‘s horse taming mechanic will return.
This bustling town is the latest evidence that settlements will feel much more alive than they did in the first Red Dead Redemption. It also appears to be the same town from the game’s reveal trailer, given the muddy streets, telephone poles, and mountains in the background. The building on the left with the porch looks like Worth’s General Store.
Also neat is what appear to be a paperboy. Perhaps you’ll be able to hear and read about your exploits as you explore towns.
This appears to be a classic Wild West stage show, full of sideshow-style acts like this woman breathing fire. Judging by the backdrop, her name is Antoinette Sanseverino. If we had to guess, she’ll play some role in the story. Then again, you may also be able to attend shows like this as a diversion, much like Grand Theft Auto IV let you see stand-up and Red Dead Redemption let you watch silent films.
This mutton-chopped man is getting some grisly medical treatment from a doctor. The building and the view out the window indicate we could be seeing more built-up areas of civilization than in the first Red Dead Redemption. And maybe you’ll be able to go to the doctor to fix up your wounds or purchase medicines.
This oil field area—or one like it—has appeared in prior trailers and screenshots. And there’s always a fair bit of fire involved. We should probably expect something big to go down here.
As the gang enter a bank with bandanas disguising their identities, we can see another look at an urban area, complete with what appears to be a streetcar out front. Is this an expanded version of Blackwater, or is there another even more developed area somewhere in the map? And will we be able to ride those streetcars?
Then we see a little bit more of the same bank robbery, complete with hostages on the floor. It’s not clear if this is the same bank robbery scene from the second trailer where the gang blows out the vault doors, but it could be. Still, we’d be surprised if Dutch’s gang only robs a single bank over the course of the game.
This shot of Dutch, Arthur Morgan, and other members of his gang includes a few familiar faces we met in Red Dead Redemption. That’s almost certainly Bill Williamson in the hat with the bent rim, given the beard and choice of headwear. And the man in the blue jacket has the same distinctive facial hair as Javier Escuella.
We still don’t know exactly who the (possibly Native American) man in the blue and white shirt is, but he appeared in the previous trailer. We do know that during the events of Red Dead Redemption Dutch ran with an entirely Native American gang, so this could be a member of that group. He doesn’t bear a striking resemblance to any of them, but time (and a generation’s worth of graphical upgrades) can change a lot.
This scene also takes place in the same town street that appeared earlier and in the first trailer, out front of Worth’s General Store.
A few more shots of the gang riding together, probably for the sunset train robbery we saw above.
While we’re on the subject, we do wonder if you’ll be able to ride with other members of the gang while exploring the open world. John Marston worked alone, but Arthur Morgan is part of a group. Being able to count on AI companions would open up a ton of interesting options, especially if you’re pulling off your own heists separate from the story missions. There’s even Rockstar precedent, since GTA IV‘s The Lost and Damned let you ride with other members of your biker gang.
We’re not sure who this man is, exactly, but we’re going to go out on a very big limb and say it’s a younger Drew MacFarlane, father of Bonnie MacFarlane from Red Dead Redemption. The mustache matches up, as does the higher-pitched voice, and his daughter does have blonde hair. It’s admittedly a theory with a few holes, given that we have no indication Drew was ever involved with Dutch’s gang and didn’t appear to know John Marston, but it’d be an interesting twist. And we do know that one of Drew’s sons, Cole, died at a young age in 1899 from a gunshot wound to the head. There’s certainly a nonzero chance the MacFarlane family will make some appearance.
This shot seems to hint that we’ll be able to hijack stagecoaches out in the open world…
…and that includes hijacking them while they’re still in motion.
Though it’s far from certain, this woman bears a strong resemblance to be Abigail Marston, the wife of John Marston in Red Dead Redemption. Though we know she ran with Dutch’s gang at one point, her attire here, as well as her dialog, indicate she may have already left. In fact, 1899 is after the birth of John and Abigail’s son, Jack, so perhaps she left the gang to raise the child. Her line here—”You’ll never change. I know that.”—certainly sounds like it might be directed at John. Maybe the relationship between the two outlaw lovers will play a more prominent role in the story than the trailers so far have led us to believe.
This man with the pockmarked face appears to be a lawman, judging by his Pinkerton bowler. In this scene, he appears to be directly confronting Dutch’s gang—though it’s unclear why he’d approach them face to face unless he was looking to arrest them and ready for a fight.
This is our best look yet at all the members of Dutch’s gang. That’s a young John Marston standing next to Arthur in the very back, our first confirmation he’ll appear in the game. We also see Bill Williamson and Javier Escuella, a long with many other mysterious faces.
We more or less suspected that melee combat would play a more prominent role based on the previous trailers, and this section of the trailer appears to confirm it. It appears Morgan is even disarming this guy buy charging him.
This tackle again hints at a more complex melee system. Also, this appears to definitely be Blackwater, looking more or less as it did in the last game.
This bareknuckle fight is interesting. Could there be some sort of fight club minigame? It’s worth noting that neither of the combatants appear to be Arthur Morgan. Maybe we’ll just be able to bet on fights, or maybe this is just a cutscene from the story that doesn’t reflect anything about gameplay.
The mysterious blonde woman returns. It’s worth noting she really loves that knife. In the last trailer, she used it to stab a dude’s hand.
An even better look at the pockmarked man. Judging by the lecture he’s delivering and the fact that we’re seeing him in a different setting, it’s safe to say he’s going to be an antagonist for a fair portion of the game.
We also think we see a bit of a resemblance to Leigh Johnson, the District Marshal of Armadillo in the original Red Dead Redemption. Slap on some facial hair, and it’s a pretty close match. But then again, the timeline doesn’t exactly match up, and we’d think Johnson would probably have recognized Marston, seeing as how this guy appears face-to-face with him earlier in the trailer. This is probably a reach, but maybe Rockstar will retcon a few things to make it work.
The level of destruction and detail here is impressive. This scene also makes it look like the gang’s hideout may be ambushed at some point, forcing them to relocate.
Here’s an even better shot at young John Marston, here as part of some sort of hostage situation. Those don’t appear to be policemen, so perhaps a rival gang has captured him? Then again, the West was a very different place, so maybe it was an acceptable police tactic to threaten to kill someone unless the rest of the criminals gave up.
An even closer look at John. His iconic scars are still fresh enough that the stitches are still in. It’s a very safe bet we’ll see his injury play out during the game.
This appears to be a shot of the gang hiding out in a colder location, lending credence to the idea that they’ll have to move digs at least once during the game. It’s worth nothing there’s a surprising amount of diversity within Dutch’s gang, including more women than we previously knew to be involved.
We’ve had plenty of proof already that horseback combat will play a major role in the game, but this shot of Morgan wielding a double-barrel handgun was too cool not to include.
Here’s your requisite reminder that the horses in Red Dead Redemption 2 are terrifying.
The snow gathering on the gang’s jackets is a very neat touch. We’d be surprised if you didn’t see your clothes get snowy, wet, or dirty with this level of detail as you explore the different environments.
From a story standpoint, Dutch asking the gang to stay with him would appear to place this scene at something of a breaking point for the gang. And, it must be said, Arthur doesn’t seem to be too thrilled with Dutch, judging by the way he’s looking at him here.
This shot of fire escaping a revolver’s barrel is incredibly detailed. We’d be surprised if shots appear like this all the time, but perhaps when things slow down in Dead Eye mode or in duels we’ll be able to appreciate the effect.
The final shot of the trailer appears to be Arthur Morgan riding through the ruins of a town completely devastated by fire. The damage looks fresh. Will there be a moment in the story when Dutch goes too far and destroys a whole town? Is this the aftermath? It would certainly be a dramatic step if Rockstar let an entire settlement be destroyed during the course of the story, since we don’t usually see that level of change in open worlds.