Yesterday’s Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer confirmed some details about the upcoming open-world western epic, not least of which is that the game is set 12 years before the first Red Dead Redemption and that it features that game’s protagonist, John Marston. However, despite callbacks to the original game, developer Rockstar North doesn’t consider Red Dead Redemption 2 to be a true prequel.
Speaking to IGN, Rockstar North co-studio head Rob Nelson described Red Dead Redemption 2 as a “companion piece” to the first game, noting that there will be “a lot of connective tissue between the two stories,” but that it doesn’t have the markings of a real prequel.
The main reason why Rockstar North doesn’t consider Red Dead Redemption 2 a prequel is because it isn’t a story about how John Marston became the man that he is. It’s about Arthur Morgan, the heavy-jawed right-hand man to Dutch van der Linde, and how he and the rest of Dutch’s gang deal with the changing landscape of the Wild West.
Significantly, Rockstar North sees Red Dead Redemption 2 as a “standalone tale,” meaning you won’t have to play the first game to understand or enjoy Red Dead Redemption 2‘s story, since it follows a completely different character with his own arc.
“It’s Arthur’s story,” Nelson told IGN. “We really wanted people to experience his story.”
That doesn’t mean that fans of the first game won’t recognize returning characters, even if they will play different roles in this game. From early gameplay reports, the bandit camp where Dutch’s gang hangs out sounds like a hub for the player to pick up extra missions. For example, players can talk to Bill Williamson, one of the main antagonists from the first game, and rob a bank with him. John Marston and Javier Escuela, who were both spotted in the most recent trailer, will probably fill a similar role in Red Dead Redemption 2, though trailer did seem to hint that Marston and Morgan have a special relationship.
According to Nelson, Rockstar North knows that “some people may have never played the last one, and you don’t need any knowledge of the last one to experience this one to the fullest extent. But yeah, if you played the last one, there’ll be lots of fun things.”
Red Dead Redemption 2 is scheduled to launch October 26th for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.