It looks like Take-Two aren’t people of their word, given what we know now of the Red Dead Redemption rerelease.
As we reported yesterday, Red Dead Redemption¸ alongside its expansion, Undead Nightmare, are coming to the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. The company did not tout them as full remasters or remakes, and the choice of platforms seems to be a heads up on that.
There are no ports coming to the Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, or to Windows. It is possible to play the original Red Dead Redemption on Xbox One and on Xbox Series X|S via Microsoft’s backwards compatibility. That means Xbox players also get the online play that was on the original Xbox 360 release, albeit on the Xbox 360s servers.
Nintendo Switch fans are probably the happiest from this news. This is the first time Red Dead Redemption is arriving to a Nintendo console, and it’s also the first time they are receiving such a game with no compromises, even if that is because it’s an older version. This release seems to compare favorably and similarly to other PS360 games also released on Switch.
Not as elated are the PC and PlayStation gamers. PlayStation fans in particular are not getting a great deal, as this new release won’t make the most of the power of either the PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5. While PlayStation owners will mostly be unhappy over console wars, PC gamers have yet to get a chance to play the original, even if they have played hours of its sequel.
These ports were handled by Double Eleven, as they confirmed on Twitter yesterday. Double Eleven is a UK based studio, founded by Lee Hutchinson and Matt Shepcar, who were previously the heads of Rockstar Leeds.
Now, some fans have taken to attaching their name to some poorly received games, such as Fallout 76 and Crackdown 3, but that’s misleading. The company has primarily made smaller games on their own, and has also worked as a support studio. Their body of work also includes games that were both well regarded and had a mixed reception, such as Rust, Minecraft Dungeons, Goat Simulator, Prison Architect, and Rimworld.
Fans would be right to point to this comparison footage of Red Dead Redemption on the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Switch as proof that this is a barebones port. We can see that the lighting effects have improved, but not much else.
Another thing that fans have pointed to is an interview with Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick from 2021. When asked if Rockstar Games’ parent company will make more remasters moving forward, he said this:
“I’m not sure there’ll be a bigger part of the strategy. Remastering has always been a part of the strategy.
We’ve done differently than the competition – we don’t just port titles over, we actually take the time to do the very best job we can making the title different for the new release, for the new technology that we’re launching it on.
So, we improve the technology, we upgrade the visuals, and we make performance enhancements. And that’s why I think our remastered titles typically do so well.”
He was only talking about Grand Theft Auto V’s ports to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S at the time, which we can say does live up to Strauss’ claims.
What doesn’t live up to those claims was Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, still nowhere near close to what fans would even consider a good experience. That release was a much bigger disaster, but with what we know now of Red Dead Redemption’s rerelease, Take-Two seems to only know how to disappoint.
All this drubbing is well deserved, but we don’t know if it’ll be enough to sway Take-Two to change strategies. At least we know they didn’t get the sales they wanted on Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition. Red Dead Redemption’s rerelease is likely to do better, but will it be profitable? Is what we wait to find out in a few weeks time.