Guns and video games go hand-in-hand, as evident with the earliest video games centering mostly around shooting. Which is why the wild west has become a great setting for video games to take place in.
While the game isn’t an open-world masterpiece, which Rockstar is known for, Red Dead Revolver still has a lot of merit to it, especially considering how Rockstar managed to reinvent the series into the ever popular Red Dead Redemption duology.
Whether it is a JRPG like Wild Arms or platformers like Gunman Clive, the wild west aesthetic is an evergreen one, always finding its way to different genres within games. Even Grand Theft Auto developers, Rockstar, took a swing at it with 2004’s Red Dead Revolver.
It was planned on being a modern reinterpretation of Capcom’s own Western shoot ‘em ups from the arcades, and this incarnation of Red Dead Revolver was planned for a 2002 release. However, its rocky development led to Capcom’s cancellation of the project.
Turns out, the two Redemption games aren’t even the first time that brought Red Dead Revolver back to life. It actually began life as a Capcom game, with Angel Studios being tasked to make a “spaghetti western shooter” after their work on a Nintendo 64 port of Resident Evil 2.
Once Rockstar Games acquired Angel Studios, they saw potential in this shelved project and sought to bring it back to life. From there, Red Dead Revolver was born and was subsequently released in May 2004 for the PS2 and Xbox.
Red Dead Revolver is a third-person shooter, with a sprawling western story and arcade-like shooting mechanics. Despite not being an open-world game, Red Dead Revolver still laid the basic foundations for its two sequels. While the shooting definitely pays homage to light gun games of the ’80s, like Duck Hunt and Wild Gunmen, the development team manage to add depth to this formula by adding full range 3D movement, as well as the franchise’s signature Red Dead mechanic that slows down time for players to shoot more accurately.
The game’s story, which didn’t veer far from established wild west tropes, centered around protagonist Red Harlow looking for revenge against the person who murdered his parents. The game’s campaign would also switch perspectives to five other characters, each with their own special moves. This mechanic would be revisited again in Grand Theft Auto V. Future Cowboys
During this period of time, it seemed like Rockstar Games could do no wrong. Whether it was the critically acclaimed Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas or the Max Payne games, gamers at the time knew that a game by Rockstar would be filled with a gripping story and tight gameplay. Red Dead Revolver was definitely no different and enjoyed positive reviews at the time. Despite that, it didn’t get an immediate sequel, and would have been lost to time if it weren’t for Red Dead Redemption, which kept the western aesthetic while adding Rockstar’s signature open-world element.
2018’s Red Dead Redemption 2 proved that players are still entranced by this mixture of open-world gameplay and wild west setting, so it would be great to see the company revisit Red Dead Revolver and remake the game from the ground up with Redemption’s mechanics. With the multi-perspective story, we can definitely see it as Grand Theft Auto V taking place on the American frontier. Rewrites are needed if the developers want to keep the game more in line with the story of the two Redemption games, but that’s a worthy trade-off to see this game be redeemed once more.
- How ‘Red Dead Revolver’ started life as a Capcom game
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