Red Dead 2’s Pre-Order Bonuses Reveal New Gameplay Details

In addition to highlighting a bunch of nifty collectibles and helpful day one DLC, yesterday’s announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2’s pre-order bonuses gave us a fair amount of insight on new gameplay mechanics, locations and potential details on Red Dead 2’s multiplayer component.

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Red Dead Online

Aside from registering a domain name and acknowledging that Red Dead Redemption 2 would provide a “brand new online multiplayer experience,” we’ve known next to nothing about the online component of Red Dead 2 until this pre-order bonus announcement.

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The Ultimate Edition of the game will unlock bonuses in the multiplayer mode of RDR2, including an XP bonus, free weapons, two full outfits and a horse. From the detailed descriptions of the components of each outfit, it’s a fair bet that we’ll be seeing a character customization system similar to the one in Grand Theft Auto Online. The horse, a Black Chestnut Thoroughbred, promises to let players “outrun the competition,” meaning it’s likely that we’ll be able to purchase more capable horses throughout Online, much like buying a faster car in GTAO – though you don’t have to make sure your car won’t throw you out the door.

It’s easy to see how some of the abilities you can unlock in GTA Online could be reimagined as functions of gang.

Most importantly, however, is that the pre-order bonus also promises players a unique theme for their “personal Camp.” It’s likely that we’ll use these camps as our (potentially mobile) bases of operation throughout the world of Red Dead Online, similar to the apartments in Grand Theft Auto. What’s more, given that we know the camps in single-player are meant to shelter entire gangs, it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination that we may be able to control and manage our own gangs as part of Red Dead 2’s multiplayer.

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We won’t know for sure how this mechanic works until we actually see Red Dead Online in action, but it’s easy to see how some of the abilities you can unlock in GTA Online could be reimagined as functions of gang – instead of calling Merryweather for a backup helicopter, you could send word to your camp to send a few outlaws to help you fend off a posse, or potentially have someone bribe a local sheriff instead of calling Lester to remove your wanted level.

New Gameplay Details

Pre-ordering the Special Edition of Red Dead 2 unlocks content for the single-player story mode, such as extra side missions, free weapons, and an additional free horse.

RDR2 SpecialEditionBonuses

While the War Horse that comes with a standard pre-order was the best horse in the original Red Dead, the Dappled Thoroughbred that comes with the Special Edition will likely be able to outpace it with ease. The fact that you can unlock multiple horses as a pre-order bonus also suggests that, instead of having to make an equine Sophie’s Choice at the start of your game, we’ll be able to stash our steeds in a stable so we can collect them later should the need arise (providing that we don’t get them killed).

There will be additional abilities beyond Dead Eye targeting.

The release says that players pre-ordering the Special Edition will get boosts to their “Core Stats,” specifically to Stamina, Health and Dead Eye. We know that health and Dead Eye can be replenished by items that are included in the Outlaw Survival Kit, though what those are exactly is still unclear (they were originally Medicine and Chewing Tobacco, respectively). It makes sense that they’d add a stamina bar, though it remains to be seen if that’s going to be like the one in GTA 5 that lets you run, swim, or carry heavy items for a certain amount of time or if it’s something that affects your overall well-being. The Cash Bonus mentions that it’s enough to buy weapons and items plus food, maybe you need to eat every once in a while or risk decreasing your max health or worse, like in the original San Andreas. I think that the latter theory is unlikely, but we won’t know for sure until we get our hands on Arthur’s controls.

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Regardless, the fact that they’re referring to them as “core” stats strongly implies that there will be other “secondary” stats that we’ll be able to level up as well, similar to Driving/Flying/Shooting/Stealth in GTA 5. Perhaps these will be Stealth or Animal Handling (a way of boosting your bond speed with horses, maybe), or perhaps even a way to improve your charisma in interactions with other characters.

Perhaps the most interesting inclusions in the Special Edition are the Eagle Talon Talisman and the Iguana Medallion. According to Rockstar, by “attaching the Eagle Talon Talisman to his boot, Arthur’s environmental awareness skill will last longer” –  while what, exactly, the environmental awareness skill entails, it confirms (a) that there will be additional abilities beyond Dead Eye targeting and (b) certain items can provide active or passive buffs for Arthur. This is also evident from the Iguana Medallion, which allows players to take less damage when riding on horseback, and is an intersting evolution of the unique effects provided by the various outfits in the original Red Dead Redemption.

New Locations

In addition to the “southern town of Rhodes,” which we know nothing about aside from the fact that one of the bonus missions included in the Special and Ultimate editions, we also learn about the Red Dead world’s version of New Orleans.

RDR2-StDenisPuzzle

Players who purchase the Collector’s Box will receive a puzzle that features “a birds eye view from the south” of the port city of Sait Denis, Lemoyne. Lemoyne must be the in-game equivalent of Louisiana (or perhaps an amalgamation of several southern states), as we’ve seen plenty of the bayou and nearby plantations in the second trailer. This also effectively puts to rest the rumors that we would be seeing New Bordeaux (from the other Take 2 Interactive game Mafia 3) as a city in Red Dead 2.

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The pre-order bonuses also contain several items referencing Nuevo Paraiso, which was the region of Mexico that John Marston visited in the original Red Dead Redemption. Whether or not Arthur and the rest of the Van der Linde gang make a trip south of the border remains to be seen, I’d say it’s unlikely based on the focus on northern locales we’ve seen in the screenshots and trailers up to this point.

We’ll have to wait to find out how close our theories are to fact, but in the meantime why not check out what we thought of our first look at Red Dead Redemption 2 in action, how Rockstar is trying to make Red Dead 2 it’s best open world yet, and why your lack of power in it may be it’s biggest strength.

JR is an editor at IGN. When he’s not combing through press releases for hidden info, you can find him tinkering around IGN’s wikis and on Twitter.

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