Red Dead Online launching a cheaper standalone version

For those who fancy the rootin’ tootin’ multiplayer shootin’ of Red Dead Online but aren’t too interested in the grudgin’ trudgin’ singleplayer buy-in of the full Red Dead Redemption 2 package, Rockstar have announced a standalone version of RDO. It’s launching next week with an introductory price of $5 for several months, which, sure, is a price that’d get my interest. Not least of all because I want to try doing conference calls inside Red Dead Online.

The standalone Red Dead Online will launch next Tuesday, the 1st of December, at the $5 price until February 15th, 2021. It’ll then go up to $20. The full RDR2 costs $60, for reference. It’ll be available on Steam, Epic, and the Rockstar Launcher, plus PlayStations and Xboxes. And it will be, y’know, Red Dead Online. That multiplayer bit. Everything from larking about in a vast and fancy open world, through cooperative missions and competitive modes, to the tedious grind for money.

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Rockstar’s announcement also mentions plans to expand RDO’s Bounty Hunter role in an update next week, adding new criminals to hunt as well as new gear and skills to unlock.

The CEO of Take-Two, Rockstar’s parent company, recently said they “charge much less for [games] than we believe they’re worth to consumers”, and talked up GTA Online’s “tethered free-to-play” model [an inaccurate and terrible term -ed.]. Yeah, it has been pretty nice to get years of huge content updates for a game I originally bought for the singleplayer. But if that Online mode isn’t free, if they charge $20 like they plan to with RDO, I’ll feel way less tolerant of a virtual economy which sure seems weighted to nudge players into buying in-game cash for real money to skip some of the grind.

Rockstar already announced a standalone version of GTA Online back in June, due in 2021, though they haven’t confirmed it for PC (nor stated that it won’t be on PC). Speaking of GTA, next month Rockstar are adding a whole new island with a new heist – a caper you’ll actually be able to do solo, if you can pull it off. I’m sure it’ll be tough but it can’t be much tougher than getting a group of randos who actually follow a heist’s objectives.

Disclosure: As seems an inevitable consequence when living in Edinburgh, I have pals who work at Rockstar.

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