Gaming

Red Dead Redemption Gamers Are Trying To '#SaveRedDeadOnline'

Grand Theft Auto Online was created in 2013. Red Dead Online was created in 2018.
Grand Theft Auto Online was created in 2013. Red Dead Online was created in 2018. screenshot from rockstargames.com
Red Dead Redemption players are pissed. The game’s publisher, Rockstar Games, continues to pump out new content for its Grand Theft Auto franchise, and gamers are complaining that Red Dead Redemption 2’s online mode hasn’t seen the same level of development. They're feeling neglected.

Rockstar recently put out the GTA: Trilogy remaster and regularly updates GTA  Online with new gameplay, which usually includes new missions, characters, vehicles, and sometimes, additions to the map. Meanwhile, players say the updates for Red Dead Online, especially in recent months, have been lackluster, and there’s no clear vision for the future of the game. If there is one, Rockstar hasn’t made it public.

The seeming disparity between the two franchises and the lack of information about any future plans for the game has led to players demanding answers from Rockstar with the hashtag #SaveRedDeadOnline.

The hashtag started trending on Twitter last week, a couple of days after Rockstar announced a few new additions to Red Dead Online. The additions mostly included special bonuses for missions that already exist.

The Jan. 6 announcement from Rockstar read, in part, “Aiding the widowed Jessica LeClerk in avenging her late husband in A Land of Opportunities Missions will earn you 2X [Red Dead Online money], XP, and Gold anytime over the next four weeks.”

In response to the update, Twitter user Mr Gaming Buds said in a post: “So, you're telling me that over 2/3rds of your new monthly content/bonuses is nearly 2 years old at this point? You want your community to play 2 year old content so they can make some extra cash to spend on ... what?”
Needless to say, it’s a small drop in the bucket compared with GTA Online updates in recent months, like the Cayo Perico Heist, which included a new island on the map, and the Tuners DLC, which saw the creation of new characters, new races and a new class of more customizable vehicles.

Most recently, GTA Online got another map expansion featuring new missions, new songs and cameos from rappers such as Dr. Dre.

To put this in perspective, GTA Online saw 21 major updates in a two-and-a-half-year period, according to screenrant.com. In the same amount of time, Red Dead Online has only had seven.

Two days after the Jan. 6 announcement from Rockstar, #SaveRedDeadOnline had around 20,000 tweets, according to Forbes.

The Twitter account Red Dead Online News said in a post: “For those asking why fans are using #SaveRedDeadOnline instead of moving on, it's because we know the game has potential, we know Rockstar can and should do better. If everyone moves on, then there's no hope for RDO and little hope for the RDR series.”
This isn’t the first time Red Dead players have protested Rockstar. In July 2020, the players’ beef with developers materialized in Red Dead Online, according to the gaming publication Polygon. Players switched out their characters’ Western wear for clown outfits — essentially calling the publishers clowns for the perceived mishandling of the game’s update schedule.

“Similarly to when we started the clown thing, the reason we do these things instead of abandon the game is because players want the game to flourish, they want to play it with friends and want their favourite [sic] creators to cover it,” Read Dead Online News said in a Twitter post. “But it's ultimately all down to Rockstar.”

You can still find daily challenges and discounts on Red Dead Online, but as one writer for Polygon put it, “the meat of the game itself is mostly untouched.”

Rockstar Games didn’t respond to a request for comment, and despite the recent backlash from players, the publisher still hasn’t addressed #SaveRedDeadOnline. But Red Dead players hope that if they keep their protest going, the online world will one day reach its full potential.
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn