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    Red Dead Online Players Mourn Its Death Via Virtual Funerals

    A lonely man on a black horses rides through a cemetery and its tombstones.

    Screenshot: Rockstar Games

    Red Dead Online’s last major update was released exactly a year ago today, and since then the game has lingered like a zombie as the community gradually lost hope that more content was coming. Before the anniversary, some players began planning an online funeral for Red Dead Online. And then last week, Rockstar Games officially confirmed that the game was (basically) dead. Luckily, fans had already planned the funeral.

    The last big update for Red Dead Online, Blood Money, was released on July 13, 2021. The update wasn’t a fan favorite, but it did add new crimes and large-scale robberies to the game, which helped give more criminally-inclined players some new things to do. It also seemed to mark a return to a more regular update schedule for the game, as it was released just seven months after the last major update, which itself was released about five months earlier. But now, a year later, it’s clear Blood Money wasn’t the start of a new era for the game, but the end of it.

    Following a few weeks of online planning and viral social media posts, players have jumped back into Red Dead Online to say goodbye to what could have been. Many are visiting the graveyards and cemeteries dotted around the large map, taking photos, having a drink or two, and meeting up with other players to mourn.

    “Today is the day the community is paying its respects to a game that many of us love, and wish had gotten more love from Rockstar,” said RDO player Dirty Tyler on Twitter. “So login today, and have a few beers at either Valentine or Blackwater Graveyard.”

    Others shared similar messages, often with photos or videos of themselves saying goodbye near a tombstone. I’ve also spotted online funeral marches towards various locations and players sharing a drink in real life with their online avatars.

    “What a great community, what a great game, what a great time,” tweeted SubjectᐰZeta

    The tone of these posts and meet-ups is even less hopeful than I originally expected thanks to Rockstar putting the final nail in the game’s coffin last week when it confirmed, after months and months of player frustration, that it had moved resources to GTA 6 and had no more major updates planned for RDO. As mentioned earlier, today’s digital funeral was already in the works, but now, it seems sadly perfect. A rare instance of Rockstar and RDO players agreeing.

    While Red Dead Redemption II’s online mode never grew to be as popular as its Grand Theft Auto Online counterpart, it had a dedicated and passionate player base who would spend hours and hours in the game’s highly detailed open world map, hunting animals, taking on bounties, and riding horses across fields and swamps. It was a slower game compared to GTA Online, but for many, this was preferred. Folks would often create characters with backstories and roleplay in RDO’s digital world, and it often felt like this was all part of Rockstar’s design, perhaps an example of the publisher taking notice of all the GTA Online roleplaying that happens on Twitch.

    Sure, the game will still technically be around and will remain playable and online for the foreseeable future. It will also still get occasional tiny updates to combat exploits or update in-game stores. But it will likely never get any new player roles, bounty hunter missions, season passes, weapons, or horses. For an online game in 2022, that makes it as good as dead in most players’ eyes.

    As for what’s next for Rockstar, the future is filled with Grand Theft Auto. The publisher confirmed it had more updates coming for GTA Online, including some long-awaited features like the ability to complete sell missions in private lobbies. It also confirmed it continues to develop the next game in the GTA series, likely to be Grand Theft Auto 6. 

    And while many millions of players will be excited to play the next GTA, it’s also likely some Red Dead players will see it not as the next big Rockstar title, but as the game that killed their beloved RDO.

     

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