It’s no secret to anyone that Rockstar game‘ Red Dead Online has struggled to achieve nearly the same level of success as its other, seemingly immortal, multiplayer endeavor, Grand Theft Auto Online. The latter still frequently near the top of NPD sales reports, and has actually been around since its launch in 2013, while the old version has not really been successful. But why is that?
Suppose for a moment that it’s not just because people like the modern setting of Grand Theft Auto – because, to be honest, I really don’t think so – here’s why I think GTA Online is superior, while Red Dead Online struggles to keep up, even though it’s been three years to grow into giant boots due to it’s older, more successful leaving siblings.
GTA Online has had an energy to it since its first launch that has only recently been missing from the Red Dead. In the early days, players knew that theft missions had been going on for a while. That was the right level in the Online section of the game back in 2015 as the update hit went through the GTA 5 campaign, where beat-up stories like The Jewel Store Job and The Bureau Raid proved that Rockstar has could do a heist as well as any Ocean’s 11 remake or sequel. The anticipation and release of that first benchamrk content drop was enough to get people invested. From there, the GTA Online business model was born.
It doesn’t stop there. GTA Online has had regular story updates that feel as rich and full of features as any mission from a ‘proper’ GTA in years. Some of these updates have even brought changes to the map (and one even introduced a whole new map!) These updates feel really substantial, varied and fun – from simple things like robbing the Pacific Standard Bank with Lester, to wild quests like stopping an evil AI named Cliffford from ending the world. While the latter may sound like a Saints Row IV-style shark, there’s so much care in cinematic presentation, cutscenes, and tone, that there’s no mission. stop feeling like Grand Theft Auto.
This series’ level of respect for history continues to impress nearly a decade later, which you have to admit is impressive, even if you don’t care about the franchise. While the latest update can be heavily advertised as about Dr. Dre, it also brings back Franklin Clinton, who moved on as one of our heroes in the GTA 5 campaign and became a millionaire. Callbacks like this will drop off rapidly with other hugely successful online multiplayer games like – Final Fantasy 14 and Fortnite – in making the fictional city of Los Santos feel like a real (if not a bit deranged) location, making the diverse stories you’re playing with your friends feel like they’re real worth doing and being part of an ongoing ‘classic’ series.
On the other hand, Red Dead Online feels relatively light on content…largely because it is. Most of the updates are mainly based on New Expert job role (simple, repeatable missions with the same gameplay) and barely any cutscenes or unique characters.
Unfortunately, the lack of presentation in Red Dead Online, leaves players with avatars whose stories look like they’re getting nowhere after the first five cinematic-heavy missions. The July 2021 update is called Blood Money added a long overdue ‘Chance’ to the game, which was supposed to fill the same void as GTA’s 2013 Heist Update, but both required a new currency called ‘Capitale’ to play, and in the end most are left out. And that’s really saying something, considering one of these fancy new content drops is a train heist! It could have been as big as the Los Santos heists everyone loved, but alas, that didn’t happen.
Problems with game content are further complicated by an ethical system that does nothing but add a limit on what missions you can actually play. Surely a ‘white hat’ cowboy could stop Frontier’s villains, instead of just not interacting with it at any level? But the game simply wasn’t designed as such, causing it considerable damage.
Returning to the monetary issue, the two games with attitudes towards money couldn’t be more different. GTA Online uses a simple currency and seems to consistently bring GTA big money through in-game events, multiplayer matches, mini business games, and daily visits to the Diamond Casino. If you’re short on cash, you’ll have no trouble finding a quest or heist to join and earn your percentage.
On the other hand, Red Dead is… well, it has a bit of a tagline. It has four different currencies; Gold Bars, Dollars, Capitale and Role Tokens. Each is collected in different ways, and each is used for different things. You can hardly feel rich for too long, as accessing most of the content in the game requires you to spend cash or grind over an extended period of time, with daily Challenges nerfs or time consuming item sales from the Expert Role Collection.
To add insult to injury, Red Dead Online now has some Update Outlaw Pass also, those are paying battle cards that only give you gimmicky things like camp flags, horse haircuts, new mustaches, and silly symbols instead of anything substantial. Compared to the content offering, new locations, and legacy characters appearing in regular GTA, it all feels a bit… barren.
While I don’t think Red Dead Online is a cause of failure, it certainly needs a re-focus and Rockstar needs to reevaluate what people playing these games really find enjoyable. I understand that the Red Dead team probably wants to do unique and different things with Grand Theft Auto Online, but that’s not working right now – and I think the developers have to know that too.
There’s also the issue of publisher support, and knowing which games are popular seems to be the basis for easier decision making at Take-Two Interactive. Rockstar regularly tries to get more players to join GTA Online with free in-game currency for both Twitch Prime and PlayStation Plus members, and games on sale for less often – at a time even become a free player on the Epic Game Store. Red Dead Online, meanwhile, is largely unpopular.
The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of Red Dead have not been announced, while Grand Theft Auto is at the forefront of marketing for Sony’s newest machinecomplete with a standalone version of GTA Online for PlayStation Plus members and free character transfer to the new version regardless of which platform you are currently using. Faced with this knowledge, I can’t help but wonder if Rockstar regrets the decision to separate its internal development focus from Red Dead Online. I hope the studio turns the fate of the Wild West game around, but I don’t see the studio spending money at this point. The sentinel ship may have set sail.
If you’ve reached the end of this article and you’re looking for an online sandbox game to play, you should probably know that the ‘extended’ and ‘enhanced’ re-release of Grand Theft, home of Rockstar Auto Online’s Biggest Earning Production Is Set To Come In March 15, 2022. There’s never been a better time to gather a crew together and go rob some digital vaults, as thanks to the proper updates the online-only crime game is bursting with quests. collaborations and other things to do and see.
Until Rockstar makes significant changes – and updates – to Red Dead Online, I can’t really recommend you play it. Just play GTA and enjoy Los Santos again. And you don’t even need to feel pressured into buying a new version of that: you can still play the PS4, Xbox One and PC versions, right now, safely knowing that any and all The whole process will continue for your team to the new version of GTA Online whenever you decide to make the upgrade.
You can’t say the same with Red Dead Online. After just three years, it feels like Rockstar might be riding death with that one.
https://www.vg247.com/gta-online-ps5-xbox-series-x-red-dead-online When GTA Online headed to PS5 and Xbox Series X, why did it succeed while Red Dead Online failed?