Red Dead Redemption 2 was released on October 26, 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Even though it’s been over 8 months since it’s worldwide launch, we do not have any official news confirming a PC version of the game. While console players are busy riding through the wild west, Rockstar Games’ PC fan base are asking one question. “Is Red Dead Redemption 2 coming to PC?”
Now before we move further ahead with this discussion, I’d suggest everyone not to get their hopes up high as every piece of information that we have on Red Dead Redemption 2’s PC release is unofficial and has not been confirmed by Rockstar Games. Regardless, let us take a look at everything we have on this.
The official statement
Strauss Zelnick, CEO and Chairman of Take-Two Interactive said in an earnings call last year –
“In terms of ongoing releases, Rockstar will talk about what their intentions are going forward with regard to all upcoming products and that the same would hold true for platform. So, in this particular instance, I can’t really give you too much clarity, apologies.”
In case you didn’t know, Take-Two Interactive is the parent company behind Rockstar Games. Now this statement shouldn’t exactly be considered a disappointment as it is quite obvious for company higher ups to be tight-lipped about their upcoming projects.
In another statement, when asked about the game’s PC release, he said – “Any updates about any of our titles will come from our labels.” By “labels”, Zelnick is referring to companies like Rockstar Games and 2K, both of which are owned by Take-Two.
However, in another recent earnings call that took place in June 2019, he said – “There is no downside to releasing the game on PC,” in reply to an investor who initially stated that releasing Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC will be a “layup”. Zelnick’s reply might actually be a subtle hint that Rockstar is indeed planning a PC release for Red Dead Redemption 2.
We can clearly see the difference in tone between his statements which he made last year and the one which he made last month. His optimism, even though subtle, shouldn’t be completely ruled out. If we look closely, no one from Take-Two Interactive or Rockstar Games have actually denied a PC version. They did the same thing with Grand Theft Auto V, and in an interview with PC Gamer after it’s official PC announcement, they said –
“We planned from day one for a PC build and we made technical decisions based off the fact that we would be doing a PC version of the game [Grand Theft Auto V].”
They have neither confirmed nor denied a PC version for Red Dead Redemption 2 so we shouldn’t completely give up hope.
A few months ago, an anonymous programmer working at Rockstar Leeds listed Red Dead Redemption 2 as one of his accomplishments. The listing said – “Red Dead Redemption 2 – PS4/XBox1/PC”. It was later removed from the profile, probably because the listing drew too much attention. One might omit this as a typing error but then again, maybe the programmer wanted to list his accomplishments in LinkedIn before he remembered that Rockstar is keeping it under wraps for now.
The same thing happened a few weeks ago when a former physics programmer from Rockstar Toronto listed a PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2 on his LinkedIn profile. And of course, just like the last one, it was removed quickly. However, screenshots of the listing was spread throughout the internet.
A Rockstar Games employee putting up an inaccurate listing by mistake; not entirely impossible. But two Rockstar Games employees putting up LinkedIn listings about their involvement in a PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2 and then removing it; now that isn’t something I’d consider as a mere co-incidence. LinkedIn isn’t a place where people normally share fake stuff, especially veteran programmers who have worked in major AAA projects. So these LinkedIn listings can indeed be considered as hints for a PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2.
Another major potential leak is a video which apparently is a 25 second footage from Red Dead Redemption 2’s PC version. The video shows the Pause Menu of the game along with the Graphics Menu. The Graphics menu is similar to the one we’ve seen in Grand Theft Auto V. It has options to customize the quality of Texture, Shadow, Particles, Reflection, along with options for Vsync and Resolution.
Something very similar happened prior to Grand Theft Auto V’s PC announcement. There was a short leaked video with a glimpse of the various graphics options in the game. However, we must keep in mind that it might as well be a fake video given it’s incredible short length and the fact that we don’t get a full look at all of the graphics customization options. We also didn’t get to see actual gameplay; just a glimpse of a few graphics options. Another notable aspect of the video is that the build number of the game is the same as it’s Day 1 version when it was released for consoles. This further hints towards the video being fake.
The video was removed shortly after it was uploaded, along with the account that uploaded it. It was, however, downloaded and re-uploaded by several users thereby preserving the apparent leak. Even though leaked videos are supposed to be the most solid form of information regarding upcoming games, this video is probably fake and was uploaded to draw attention.
Perhaps the most reliable of all the leaks that we have seen so far, is the data mined information from Red Dead Redemption 2’s Mobile Companion App. A website named Rockstar Intel has revealed several lines of codes which was uncovered by data mining the files of the companion app for the game.
Several parameters in the code mentions advanced graphics options such as particle count, water reflection, anisotropic quality level, motion blur, etc; options that we see in PC games. The line “PARAM_companionAutoConnectIpPC” is another direct hint towards a PC version of the game since the parameter’s name suggests that it will be used for the purpose of auto-connecting the companion app to the game’s PC version. Another line “CommandIsPcVersion(void) 000000000166A12C” directly mentions a PC version for Red Dead Redemption 2. One of the parameters “PARAM_Oculus” hints towards the game’s compatibility with the Oculus Rift which means that we’ll probably get to see a VR version of the game too. Apart from the Android and iOS version, we might get a PC version of the game’s companion app as is hinted by the line “SIGNIN_PC_APP_URL 0000000002A51F58”.
Unlike all the other leaks which are more or less based on speculation, this one is pretty concrete as the companion app indeed had several lines of codes in it’s files which directly hints at a PC version of the game.
Rockstar Games Social Club
Another evidence regarding the game’s PC port is the latest discovery made by Twitter user JakoMako51. The source code of Rockstar Games Social Club contains the line “RDR2_PC_Accomplishments”. Just beside it is another piece of code which says “RDR2_PS4_Trophies” which strongly hints that the word “PC” is indeed referring to a platform.
Just like the companion app data mine, this information is also genuine and not based on speculation. Given that Rockstar Games have already updated their Social Club’s source code which such a line of code, we can strongly assume that they are buckling for a massive PC launch for the game.
Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the major potential leaks for Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC, let us discuss as to why the game is probably going to make it to PC.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is the second-highest grossing entertainment product in history and has set the record for having the largest opening weekend ever. Rockstar’s previous title, Grand Theft Auto V, has sold over 110 million copies and has crossed $6 billion in revenue. Most of it was through PC and revenues earned from Grand Theft Auto Online micro-transactions. Given the fact that Rockstar has released Red Dead Online along with it’s main game, we can be pretty sure that a PC version will follow too since Rockstar Games wouldn’t want to lose the revenue that they can earn from Red Dead Online micro-transactions on PC. Red Dead Redemption 2 has already sold over 24 million copies just for consoles, therefore, releasing it for PC would hugely boost that number.
It took Rockstar Games 19 months to release Grand Theft Auto V for PC after it’s initial 7th generation console launch. However, since the next Grand Theft Auto sequel is already in the works, one can hope that the time gap between Red Dead Redemption 2’s console and PC launch wouldn’t be long. The companion app and the social club clues have turned out to be totally true and serve as strong hints for a PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2. Even though the game’s prequel didn’t make it to PC, we must remember that times have changed and the publishers can surprise us anytime, given the amount of hints we have received regarding the game’s PC port.