Save for the Grand Theft Auto series, Red Dead Redemption may be Rockstar's most popular game ever. Cowboys, outlaws and shoot-outs are nothing new to gaming, but the 2010 open-world adventure nailed the setting like few titles ever have.
Everything, from the weaponry to the atmosphere to the story to the horses, was pitch-perfect ... and sadly, there's been no news on any sort of follow-up whatsoever.
It's not that there's no interest in the series, either: after sitting at the top of Microsoft's most-requested Backwards Compatibility titles for months, sales of old Red Dead Redemption copies shot up following the announcement that the game would join the Xbox One library. Few titles can claim to hold gamers' attentions for more than a few months, let alone six years.
Then again, if Red Dead Redemption is still so popular, why hasn't there been a sequel? Considering that development on Grand Theft Auto V closed some time ago, many were expecting to see some sort of announcement at E3 2016, only to be disappointed when Rockstar revealed nothing. It seemed like the perfect time to reveal the next entry in the Red Dead saga — so why isn't Rockstar talking about it?
First and foremost, it should be noted that there has been no indication that a Red Dead sequel is in development. Rockstar has hinted that it's working on a new project, but there's been no concrete evidence that a new Red Dead Redemption is on the way. Rumors and supposed leaks have been running rampant for months now, but they should hardly be considered official.
What we're trying to say is that there's a chance that Rockstar isn't working on anything Red Dead-related. Yes, a sequel would make sense, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee that Red Dead Redemption 2 is in development. As painful as it is to say, the studio may not have said anything about the future of Red Dead simply because there's nothing to talk about.
Realistically speaking, however, that's the worst-case scenario. All things considered, there's probably a perfectly good reason why Rockstar hasn't revealed anything in regards to Red Dead Redemption quite yet — and it's probably Grand Theft Auto V.
Everyone knew that Grand Theft Auto Online would be big, but know one could have predicted how much work it would take to get the service running. It took everything that Rockstar had just to get GTA Online running properly, and the constant updates that followed haven't necessarily come easy, either. The Heists update alone took well over a year to produce, and that was only one update in over a dozen — basically, it's easy to assume that Rockstar has had all of its manpower focused on GTA Online for the majority of its life cycle.
This extended (and often convoluted) development cycle could have also pulled talent away from whatever Red Dead project Rockstar could be working on — which, in turn, could have led to an internal delay. Of course, without an official statement from Rockstar, there's no way to know if that's the case or not ... but it would help explain the studio's silence.
If anything, the re-release of the original Red Dead Redemption could represent a number of different things for the studio: if a sequel isn't currently in development, it could be a way to gauge how interested gamers are in returning to Rockstar's version of the Old West. If Red Dead 2 is currently being worked on, adding the original game to Microsoft's Backwards Compatibility list could be a way for the studios to try and give gamers something until an official announcement can be made.
Either way, it should be taken as good news — it wouldn't make much sense for Rockstar to make a big deal out of the game's re-release if there wasn't at least some attachment to a new project.
Is Red Dead Redemption 2 in development? In all honesty, it's impossible to say for sure at this point.
The success of the series certainly seems to imply that a follow-up would be inevitable ... but there's no real guarantee, either. If anything, the surge of interest in the original Red Dead Redemption should at least tell Rockstar that there'd be plenty of support for a sequel — other than that, fans will have to wait and see.
At the very least, Xbox 360 version of Red Dead Redemption will be joining the Xbox One Backwards Compatibility line-up on July 8.