Red Dead

Red Dead is a series of Western-themed action-adventure games published by Rockstar Games. The first entry in the series, Red Dead Revolver, was released on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in May 2004. Originally developed by Capcom, Red Dead Revolver borrowed elements from their 1985 arcade title Gun.Smoke, to which it was intended to be a spiritual successor, but the game was cancelled in 2002. Subsequently, after acquiring the rights, Rockstar purchased Red Dead Revolver and expanded on it.[3][4]

Red Dead
Official Red Dead logo.png
Logo since 2010[1][2]
Publisher(s)Rockstar Games
First releaseRed Dead Revolver
May 4, 2004
Latest releaseRed Dead Redemption 2
October 26, 2018

Red Dead Redemption, developed by Rockstar San Diego (who also worked on its predecessor), was released in May 2010 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to critical and commercial acclaim. Selling over 15 million copies by 2017 and winning many year-end accolades from multiple gaming publications, the game is considered to be one of the best games of all time. Multiple DLCs were added, including Undead Nightmare, a single-player expansion later released as a standalone game. A Game of the Year edition of the game includes all of the additional content.

Red Dead Redemption 2, developed by Rockstar Studios, was released on October 26, 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and on November 5, 2019 for Microsoft Windows. The game was also widely acclaimed and a commercial success, generating $725 million in revenue in three days and selling 23 million copies in two weeks. Its online multiplayer component, Red Dead Online, was released in beta on November 27, 2018 to mixed reviews, with a full release on May 15, 2019, which received more positive reviews.


Year Title Developer Home release
2004 Red Dead Revolver Rockstar San Diego
2010 Red Dead Redemption: Gunslingers[a] Rockstar Games
Red Dead Redemption Rockstar San Diego
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare[b]
2018 Red Dead Redemption 2 Rockstar Studios[c]
2019 Red Dead Online[d]
  1. ^ Social RPG released as a Facebook application to promote the release of Red Dead Redemption.[5][6]
  2. ^ Non-canonical spinoff to Red Dead Redemption.
  3. ^ Rockstar Studios is a collaborative effort between all of Rockstar's studios functioning as a single team.
  4. ^ Online component to Red Dead Redemption 2.
Release timeline
2004Red Dead Revolver
2010Red Dead Redemption
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
2018Red Dead Redemption 2
2019Red Dead Online

Red Dead RevolverEdit

Red Dead Revolver is the first entry in the series, released for PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2004. Set in 1880, during the American Old West, Red Dead Revolver follows bounty hunter Red Harlow as he uncovers the plot that killed his parents and exacts revenge on those responsible.[7] In terms of canonicity to the Redemption followup series, Dan Houser suggested that Revolver is set in a separate universe, but a version of the events in the plot could still have taken place due to the nature of legends told in the Red Dead games' world.[8]

Red Dead RedemptionEdit

Red Dead Redemption is the second installment in the Red Dead series, and the spiritual successor to Red Dead Revolver. The game released in 2010 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game takes place in the year 1911, during the decline of the American Old West and the Mexican Revolution.[9] A spiritual successor to Red Dead Revolver,[10] the game follows John Marston, a former outlaw, whose family is kidnapped by the Bureau of Investigation. In exchange for his family's return, John sets out to hunt down the surviving members of his former gang, in the process achieving closure and redemption for his past actions.

Undead Nightmare is a non-canonical expansion to Red Dead Redemption that follows John's efforts to find a cure for a zombie plague that has infected his family.[11] A standalone disc, titled Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Collection, which does not require the original Red Dead Redemption game to be played, was released in North America on November 22, 2010.[12][13]

Red Dead Redemption 2Edit

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a prequel to Red Dead Redemption and the third main entry in the series, released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in October 2018 and for Microsoft Windows in November 2019.[14][15] Its story follows Arthur Morgan, a member of the infamous Van der Linde gang in 1899, in the waning years of the American Old West, and the extinction of the age of outlaws and gunslingers. [16] The game features several returning characters from Red Dead Redemption, including a younger and less-refined John Marston, his family, and fellow gang members Dutch van der Linde, Bill Williamson, and Javier Escuella. A lot of focus is put on Arthur's morality and relationship with other characters, primarily John, with whom he has a nearly brotherly-like bond, and Dutch, who slowly descends into madness as the gang faces more problems.[17][18][19]

Red Dead Online is the multiplayer component of Red Dead Redemption 2 and released in May 2019. It acts as a prequel to the single-player game, set one year prior, in 1898, and follows a silent protagonist who is freed from prison and tasked with taking revenge in exchange for their innocence.


In October 2018, Dan Houser said that Rockstar might develop a future entry in the series depending on the success of Red Dead Redemption 2.[20]

Common elementsEdit


In each game in the franchise, the player takes the role of an outlaw in the waning years of the American Old West. All three titles are third-person shooters (although Red Dead Redemption 2 also gives the option to play in first-person), yet there are crucial differences between them. The first game in the series follows a linear storyline with fixed, limited locations. Red Dead Redemption, however, provides the player with an open world setting and gives them various options for exploration, random encounters and side-missions. Red Dead Redemption 2 is the biggest and most immersive of the three, providing far more options and activities for the player than in its previous titles. Combat and gunplay are a fundamental part in the franchise; players can cover, blind-fire, free-aim and can get into physical altercations with enemies. A large number of weapons are introduced in all three games, typically rifles and revolvers. Horses, stagecoaches and trains are the primary methods of transportation in all three games due to the period in which they are set.

Dead EyeEdit

The trademark game mechanic of the series is the Dead Eye system, which bridges the gap between the protagonist's exceptional shooting prowess and the limitations of the human player's speed and coordination. For a short period, it allows the player to aim at targets in slow motion for better accuracy. After painting your targets, time goes back to normal as you then attack with a flurry of bullets in rapid succession. The Dead Eye system in Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2 has been refined, as it levels up as the game progresses, giving the player more options when using it.[21]


Red Dead Redemption brings a new mechanic to the franchise that has been improved in Red Dead Redemption 2: a morality system where the player gains positive or negative "honor". Good deeds like saving townsfolk from danger will level up the player's honor, while malicious actions like harming innocents or committing theft will lower the player's honor. The player should be considerate of the honor system, as it can influence how the world interacts with the character.[22]


All games in the series take place during the days of the Wild West. Red Dead Revolver takes place at an unidentified point in time during the 1880s, while Redemption is set primarily in 1911 (with the epilogue taking place in 1914), and Redemption 2 is set in 1899 (with the epilogue set in 1907). While Revolver's aesthetics and atmosphere are reminiscent of the films set during the Wild West, the other two games depict the final two decades of this time period, as new factories, machines, motor vehicles, and modern technology appear all throughout the United States, marking the modernization of society. In Redemption and Redemption 2, the map undergoes several changes between the two different time periods, such as new houses being built, and NPCs sporting new looks.

Red Dead Revolver's setting is quite transient, as Red moves from town to town throughout the game. The most prominent location is the town of Brimstone, which acts as a hub between several missions. The game takes place in the United States, in an unidentified region of mostly desert, although some levels also feature a forest or mountain setting.

Red Dead Redemption offers the player a more significant interaction with the environment, and its location is bigger than in the previous game. It ranges from canyons to deserts, but the player is unable to reach to the outer limit due to the borders surrounding the area (mountains and deep ravines). There are several towns and settlements that the player can visit, each with their own citizens (with whom the player can interact). The map spans two fictional U.S. states, New Austin (which is mostly desert) and West Elizabeth (which features lush forests and a mountain area), as well as the Mexican state of Nuevo Paraiso (which is also mainly a desert area).

Red Dead Redemption 2’s world is greatly expanded compared to its predecessor's, and is far more immersive, lifelike and responsive. Both New Austin and West Elizabeth from Red Dead Redemption make a return, although they have been expanded with new regions and towns, while three new states have been added: Ambarino (which is mostly a mountain wilderness), New Hanover (a wide valley that incorporates multiple small settlements, including the town of Valentine), and Lemoyne (composed of bayous and plantations, and the location of the small town of Rhodes and the large industrial city of Saint Denis).[23]


The following list contains only main and supporting characters from the Red Dead franchise, who play a significant role in the narrative of the game(s) they appear in.

Character Red Dead Revolver Red Dead Redemption Red Dead Redemption II
Single-player Multiplayer Undead Nightmare Single-player Red Dead Online
2004 2010 2018
Red Harlow Robert Bogue
Jason Fuchs (young)
Mentioned Robert Bogue   Mentioned  
John Marston   Rob Wiethoff  
Arthur Morgan   Roger Clark  
Jack Swift Gregg Martin Mentioned Gregg Martin  
Annie Stoakes Carrie Keranen Mentioned Carrie Keranen  
Shadow Wolf Chaske Spencer Mentioned Chaske Spencer  
Buffalo Soldier Benton Greene   Benton Greene  
Sheriff Bartlett Gene Jones  
Nate Harlow Kurt Rhoads Mentioned  
Falling Star Messeret Stroman Mentioned  
Governor Griffon / "Griff" Bert Pence Mentioned  
General Javier Diego Robert Jimenez Mentioned  
Colonel Daren Dennis Ostermaier Mentioned  
Mr. Kelley Joseph Melendez Mentioned Joseph Melendez  
"Curly" Shaw Lloyd Floyd  
"Bloody" Tom Christian Tanno  
"Ugly" Chris Bailey Erick Devine   Erick Devine  
Sheriff O'Grady Stephen Schnetzer  
Pig Josh Dennis Ostermaier   Dennis Ostermaier  
Bad Bessie Heather Simms Mentioned  
Mr. Black Geoffrey Arend Mentioned  
Professor Perry Geoffrey Arend  
Katie O'Grady Ursula Abbott  
Grizzly Erick Devine  
John "Jack" Marston Jr.   Josh Blaylock Marissa Buccianti (child)
Ted Sutherland (pre-teen)
Abigail Marston (née Roberts)   Sophia Marzocchi Cali Elizabeth Moore  
Dutch van der Linde   Benjamin Byron Davis   Benjamin Byron Davis  
Bill Williamson   Steve J. Palmer   Steve J. Palmer  
Javier Escuella   Antonio Jaramillo   Gabriel Sloyer  
Uncle   Spider Madison John O'Creagh
James McBride
Edgar Ross   Jim Bentley   Jim Bentley  
Archer Fordham   David Wilson Barnes   Character is silent  
Bonnie MacFarlane   Kimberly Irion Mentioned Kimberly Irion
Drew MacFarlane   Chuck Kelley Mentioned
Marshal Leigh Johnson   Anthony De Longis  
Deputy Jonah   Brad Carter  
Deputy Eli   Frank Noon  
Nigel West Dickens   Don Creech Mentioned  
Seth Briars   Kevin Glikmann  
Irish   Kevin Harrison Sweeney  
Colonel Agustín Allende   Gary Carlos Cervantes  
Captain Vincente de Santa   Hector Luis Bustamante  
Captain Espinoza   David Anzuelo  
Abraham Reyes   Josh Segarra  
Luisa Fortuna   Francesca Galeas  
Landon Ricketts   Ross Hagen  
Professor Harold MacDougal   Joe Ochman  
Nastas   Benjamin Byron Davis  
Norman Deek   James Carroll  
D.S. MacKenna   Jay O. Sanders   Jay O. Sanders  
Mother Superior Calderón   Irene DeBari   Irene DeBari  
Sadie Adler   Alex McKenna
Charles Smith   Noshir Dalal  
Micah Bell III   Peter Blomquist  
Hosea Matthews   Curzon Dobell  
Leonard "Lenny" Summers   Harron Atkins  
Susan Grimshaw   Kaili Vernoff  
Sean MacGuire   Michael Mellamphy
Simon Pearson   Jim Santangeli  
Leopold Strauss   Howard Pinhasik  
Mary-Beth Gaskill   Samantha Strelitz  
Tilly Jackson   Meeya Davis  
Karen Jones   Jo Armeniox  
Molly O'Shea   Penny O'Brien  
Josiah Trelawny   Stephen Gevedon
Reverend Orville Swanson   Sean Haberle  
Kieran Duffy   Pico Alexander  
Mary Linton   Julie Jesneck  
Leviticus Cornwall   John Rue Mentioned
Andrew Milton   John Hickok  
Colm O'Driscoll   Andrew Berg  
Catherine Braithwaite   Ellen Harvey  
Sheriff Leigh Gray   Tim McGeever
Tavish Gray   Madison Arnold  
Deputy Archibald MacGregor   Greg Hildreth
Beau Gray   Bjorn Thorstad  
Penelope Braithwaite   Alison Barton  
Angelo Bronte   Jim Pirri  
Colonel Alberto Fussar   Alfredo Narciso  
Levi Simon   Jeffrey Gurner  
Hercule Fontaine   Guyviaud Joseph  
Rains Fall   Graham Greene  
Eagle Flies   Jeremiah Bitsui  
Colonel Henry Favours   Malachy Cleary  
Captain Lyndon Monroe   Jake Silbermann  
Cleet   P.J. Sosko  
Joe   Ian Bedford
Anthony Foreman   David St. Louis
Thomas Downes   Peter Lettre  
Edith Downes   Jayme Lake  
Archie Downes   Paul Thode  
David Geddes   Jeff McCarthy  
Jesicca LeClerk   Lisa Datz
Horley   Larry Bull
Old Man Jones   Gary Desbien
Marshal Tom Davies   Mike Keller
Samson Finch   Julian Rozzell
Alfredo Montez   Emilio Delgado
Teddy Brown   Daniel Stewart Sherman
Amos Lancing   Unknown
Jeremiah Shaw   Unknown
JB Cripps   Larry Kenney
Madam Nazar   Daniella Rabbani
The Woman With No Name   Ebony Blake
Maggie Fike   Stephanie Roth Haberle
Lemuel "Lem" Fike   Unknown
Danny-Lee Caton   Unknown
Reid Hixon   Unknown
Harriet Davenport   Emilea Wilson
Gus Macmillan   Unknown

Note: A gray cell indicates that the character does not appear in that medium.


Aggregate review scores
Game Metacritic
Red Dead Revolver (PS2) 73/100[24]
(Xbox) 74/100[25]
Red Dead Redemption (PS3) 95/100[26]
(X360) 95/100[27]
Undead Nightmare (PS3) 87/100[28]
(X360) 87/100[29]
Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4) 97/100[30]
(XONE) 97/100[31]
(PC) 93/100[32]

The Red Dead series, particularly the second and third games, are critically acclaimed. Red Dead Redemption, averaging 95% on both review aggregate websites Metacritic and GameRankings, won numerous awards, including Game of the Year by GameSpy and GameSpot,[33][34] and is considered to be one of the greatest games of all time.[35][36][37][38][39] Reviewers praised the visuals, music, acting, open world gameplay and the story. A Game of the Year edition containing all additional content was released in October 2011.[40]Red Dead Redemption 2, averaging 97% for both platforms on Metacritic, was also widely acclaimed by critics, who praised the same aspects as well as its significant level of detail,[41][42][43] winning a number of awards from publications.[44][45]


While not having as long of a best-selling history as its sister franchise Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead is still regarded as a financial success. Red Dead Revolver sold 920,000 copies in North America as of July 2, 2010.[46]Red Dead Redemption broke the records of its previous game, having shipped over 11 million copies by August 2011[47] and over 15 million copies by February 2017.[48]Red Dead Redemption 2 however, marked the franchise's commercial achievement. In three days, the game generated $725 million in revenue, officially having the largest opening weekend in the history of entertainment, as well as being the second highest-selling entertainment launch, behind Grand Theft Auto V, another widely popular title from Rockstar Games. Two weeks after launch, the game shipped over 17 million units, thus exceeding its predecessors' lifetime sales.[49]



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  2. ^ "Red Dead Redemption". Rockstar Games. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  3. ^ Parish, Jeremy (October 26, 2016). "Red Dead Redemption's Curious 8-Bit Origin Story". USgamer.
  4. ^ "Capcom cancels Red Dead Revolver and Dead Phoenix". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc. 12 August 2003. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  5. ^ "Presenting Red Dead Redemption: Gunslingers for Facebook - An Original Dueling Social Game by Rockstar". Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Who's Your Nemesis? (Red Dead Gunslingers Facebook App Update)". Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  7. ^ "The Legends and Killers of Red Dead Revolver: Part One". Rockstar Games. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare Q&A". Retrieved 5 June 2020. Red Dead Revolver is also its own universe, but the world of Red Dead Redemption was always meant to be a world in which the myths and realities of the American frontier collide.
  9. ^ Tamburro, Paul (2 May 2018). "When Does Red Dead Redemption Take Place? RDR 2 Time Period". Game Revolution. Mandatory Media, LLC and Evolve Media, LLC. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  10. ^ Mills, Adam (5 February 2018). "Red Dead Redemption 2 Release: 5 Things to Know". Gotta Be Mobile. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  11. ^ Venom Raptor (17 March 2013). "Violently cleansing the wild west frontier and wilderness from the walking dead as John Marston is gory entertainment". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Red Dead Redemption Original Artwork: Horse Racing with Combat (From the Undead Nightmare Collection / Liars and Cheats Pack)". Rockstar Games. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Why Red Dead Redemption 2 Is More than Just a Prequel". IGN. Ziff Davis, LLC. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  15. ^ Pereira, Chris (May 23, 2017). "Red Dead Redemption 2's New Release Window Narrowed Further". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  16. ^ Gurwin, Gabe (16 October 2018). "'Red Dead Redemption 2': Everything you need to know". Digital Trends. Designtechnica Corporation. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  17. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (May 4, 2018). "Red Dead Redemption 2 Trailer Shows John Marston And Van Der Linde Gang". GameSpot. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  18. ^ Orry, Tom; Cryer, Hirun; Wallace, Jamie (June 12, 2018). "Red Dead Redemption 2 Release Date, Pre-Order Bonuses, Editions, Trailers, Characters, PC Version - Everything we Know". USgamer. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  19. ^ "Red Dead Redemption 2: Who is Arthur Morgan?". IGN Entertainment, Inc. Ziff Davis, LLC. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  20. ^ Goldberg, Harold (October 14, 2018). "The making of Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption 2". Vulture. New York Magazine. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  21. ^
  22. ^
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  24. ^ "Red Dead Revolver". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  25. ^ "Red Dead Revolver". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  26. ^ "Red Dead Redemption". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  27. ^ "Red Dead Redemption". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  28. ^ "Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Pack for PlayStation 3 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  29. ^ "Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Pack for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  30. ^ "Red Dead Redemption 2 for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  31. ^ "Red Dead Redemption 2 for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  32. ^ "Red Dead Redemption 2 for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  33. ^ "GameSpy Game of the Year 2010". GameSpy. IGN Entertainment, Inc. 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  34. ^ "GameSpot Game of the Year 2010". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc. 2010. Archived from the original on June 19, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  35. ^ "The 100 best games of all time". GamesRadar. Future Publishing Limited. February 15, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  36. ^ "The 20 best games of Edge's lifetime". Edge. 2013. Archived from the original on 11 December 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  37. ^ "The 100 Greatest Video Games of All Time". Empire. 1 June 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  38. ^ "Metacritic Game Releases by Score, All time". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  39. ^ "IGN's Top 100 Modern Games". IGN. Ziff Davis, LLC. 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
  40. ^ Kasten, Emmy; Lewis, Alan (13 September 2011). "Rockstar Games Announces Red Dead Redemption: Game of the Year Edition Release on October 11, 2011". Business Wire. New York. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  41. ^ Dornbush, Jonathan. "RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 REVIEWS ROUNDUP". IGN. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  42. ^ Dayus, Oscar. "Red Dead Redemption 2 Review Roundup -- What The Critics Think". GameSpot. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  43. ^ Saed, Sherif. "Red Dead Redemption 2 reviews round-up, all the scores". VG247. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  44. ^ Sheridan, Connor. "Golden Joystick Awards 2018 winners: God of War wins big but Fortnite gets Victory Royale". GamesRadar+. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  45. ^ Grant, Christopher. "The Game Awards 2018: Here are all of the winners". Polygon. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  46. ^ Alexander Sliwinski (July 2, 2010). "NPD on the Red Dead, Alan Wake, and Split/Second retail showdown". Joystiq. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
  47. ^ Graft, Kris (August 8, 2011). "Take-Two: Red Dead Redemption Ships 11M Units". Gamasutra. Retrieved August 10, 2011.
  48. ^ Makuch, Eddie (February 7, 2017). "Red Dead Redemption Shipped 15M Copies; Take-Two Promises Major Marketing For Sequel". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  49. ^ Sarkar, Samit. "Red Dead Redemption 2 tops 17 million copies shipped". Polygon. Retrieved 7 November 2018.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit