Red Dead Online Update Adds Up In Smoke Showdown Mode

Okay, Red Dead Online fans. Things are about to pick up in your world, even if that means everything going…up in smoke.

Rockstar Games revealed new details today about the latest update to the online component for Red Dead Redemption 2. Things will get interesting with the introduction of Up In Smoke, the latest Showdown Mode coming to the game starting today. (No, it’s not based on Cheech and Chong.)

The company stated in the press release, “Destroy the enemy camp at all costs in Up In Smoke, the latest Showdown Mode added to the Red Dead Online Beta today. All players start out with an explosive package and each successful delivery to the opposing team’s base will detonate a piece of their camp. Deliver all of your packages and raze the competition’s base to the ground to claim victory.”

In addition to that, Rockstar is also offering a 30 percent XP boost for all Ability Cards, which should make matches a bit more interesting.

“Ability Cards come in Dead Eye and Passive variants – Dead Eye Ability Cards grant special advantages while Dead Eye is active while Passive Ability Cards have unique Combat, Recovery or Defensive advantages – and each card has three available tiers. Rack up extra XP this week to reach the next tier faster, then upgrade the card to get an improved version of that ability. Ability Cards like To Fight Another Day, Strange Medicine and Slippery Bastard can all come in handy in Up in Smoke, equip them in your loadout while you’re fighting your way to deliver an explosive package behind enemy lines.” You can see the full breakdown on Ability Cards here on the Rockstar page.

Last but not least, if you’re looking to do a bit of shopping, head over to the Wheeler, Rawson and Co. Catalogue and take a look at the new Winter Shotgun Coat that’s in stock. On top of that, you can also get the Benbow Jacket, as well as the Darned Stockings (but are they really that darned, tho?) and the Manteca Hat.

The update is live now, and Rockstar has promised even more to come in the weeks ahead. You can check out Red Dead Redemption 2now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

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2019 BAFTA Game Awards Nominees Announced

The 2019 BAFTA Game Awards are just a few weeks away so of course, it’s time to look at the nominees for the various categories. If you aren’t familiar with the BAFTA Game Awards they are basically the Oscars for games from the UK. BAFTA also gives out awards for film and television, though those are at different award shows. The President of BAFTA is Prince William, the future King. So yes, this is an incredibly big award show, the most prestigious in the industry. To be nominated the game has to have been made in part in the UK. The games also have to be nominated, a process which many studios either don’t know about or don’t care to go through. As a result, you’ll often see the same studios nominated year after year. So, with all of that in mind, here are the nominees.

 

Elite: Dangerous Beyond Chapter 4 - Mining Changes

 

Artistic Achievement

Detroit: Become Human
Gris
God Of War
Marvel’s Spider-man
Red Dead Redemption 2
Return Of The Obra Dinn

 

Audio Achievement

Battlefield V
Detroit: Become Human
God Of War
Marvel’s Spider-man
Red Dead Redemption 2
Tetris Effect

 

Best Game

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
Celeste
God Of War
Red Dead Redemption 2
Return Of The Obra Dinn

 

British Game

11-11: Memories Retold
Forza Horizon 4
Red Dead Redemption 2
The Room: Old Sins
Overcooked 2
Two Point Hospital

 

Debut Game

Beat Saber
Cultist Simulator
Donut County
Florence
Gris
Yoku’s Island Express

 

Evolving Game

Destiny 2: Forsaken
Elite Dangerous: Beyond
Fortnite
Overwatch
Sea Of Thieves
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

 

Family

Lego Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles
Nintendo Labo
Overcooked 2
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! And Let’s Go, Eevee!
Super Mario Party
Yoku’s Island Express

 

Game Beyond Entertainment

11-11: Memories Retold
Celeste
Florence
Life Is Strange 2
My Child Lebensborn
Nintendo Labo

 

Game Design

Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
Celeste
God Of War
Into The Breach
Minit
Return Of The Obra Dinn

 

Game Innovation

Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
Celeste
Cultist Simulator
Moss
Nintendo Labo
Return Of The Obra Dinn

 

Mobile Game

Alto’s Odyssey
Brawl Stars
Donut County
Florence
Reigns: Game Of Thrones
The Room

 

Multiplayer

A Way Out
Battlefield V
Overcooked 2
Sea Of Thieves
Super Mario Party
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

 

Music

Celeste
Far Cry 5
Florence
God Of War
Gris
Tetris Effect

 

Narrative

Florence
Frostpunk
God Of War
Marvel’s Spider-man
Red Dead Redemption 2
Return Of The Obra Dinn

 

Original Property

Dead Cells
Florence
Into The Breach
Moss
Return Of The Obra Dinn
Subnautica

 

Performer

Christopher Judge As Kratos In God Of War
Danielle Bisutti As Freya In God Of War
Jeremy Davies As The Stranger In God Of War
Melissanthi Mahut As Kassandra Of Sparta In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Roger Clark As Arthur Morgan In Red Dead Redemption 2
Sunny Suljic As Atreus In God Of War

 

Ee Mobile Game Of The Year (Voted For By The Public)

Brawl Stars
Clash Royale
Fortnite
Old School Runescape
Pokémon Go
Roblox

 

 

Be sure to check out the BAFTA awards show broadcast online live on April 4th to find out who the winners are.

 

Source: BAFTA Official Site

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Fortnite is Highest Trending Game of 2018 on Google

Google has released their list of trending searches for 2018 and that includes a list of the top 10 video games. The highest trending game of 2018 should come as no surprise, it is Fortnite. The game has taken over the world this year with massive collaborations and a ton of media attention. At number 2 on the list is Red Dead Redemption 2, which also isn’t a surprise. Fallout 76 is number three, which goes to show that the trending game doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best. Right now on Metacritic, it has a user score of just 2.7. Monster Hunter: World lands at number 6 on the list. It is followed by Sea of Thieves, another game with a low Metacritic score.

The game that comes in at number 10 is a massive surprise, Zombs Royale. This is one that admittedly has flown under our radar until now. It’s a Battle Royale game for browser and mobile. While looking this game up, we first turned to Youtube, wondering if perhaps it had been made popular there by a big Youtuber. But, the video with the most views is at 1.3 million views from Fuszion, a channel with 6.3k followers. You can see the video below if you’re curious.

This list was just for the United States. There weren’t as many lists for other countries or globally. Other trends Other trends from Google in the US this year include Fortnite gifs topping the gif chart, Logan Paul in Actors, and the World Cup topped searches. Fortnite also makes an appearance in the list for How to, with the number 10 how to question is how to get the Boogie Down emote. It is also number 7 in the What is… list. Not too much of a stretch to assume it was mostly parents doing that search.

Here’s Google’s full list of the top 10 highest trending games of 2018.

  1. Fortnite
  2. Red Dead Redemption 2
  3. Fallout 76
  4. Far Cry 5
  5. God of War
  6. Monster Hunter: World
  7. Sea of Thieves
  8. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  9. Kingdom Come: Deliverance
  10. Zombs Royale

 

Source: Google Trends of 2018

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Battle Royale Weekly: Totally Accurate Battlegrounds Will Go F2P

Totally Accurate Battlegrounds will go F2P. Islands of Nyne will have a tournament with real money prizes during their F2P weekend. Fortnite has 200 million players, but PUBG is outperforming them on mobile. This week we’re also seeing a couple of high profile Battle Royale games we’ve been waiting for move into a playable state. Plus there’s a whole lot more in this week’s Battle Royale Weekly.

 

Fortnite Brings in 200 Million Players

In June it was reported that Fortnite had 125 million players and now it has reached that ever so impressive mark of 200 million. It also has 8.3 million concurrent players on a regular basis. Most games hope for that many players in their lifetime.

But while Fortnite has more players than ever Twitch viewership is down and revenue has remained pretty flat despite the growth. At the same time though they’re working with the NFL and Marvel. They’ve got Fortnite branded Monopoly, Nerf guns, and who knows what else they’ve got lined up.

 

Source: Forbes

 

Islands of Nyne Open Tournament Announced

Islands of Nyne: Battle Royale

Islands of Nyne has announced they’re holding a tournament with a $2,500 prize pool. The event will be held on December 2nd and sign-ups are open now. It will be held during the F2P weekend and it is open to all, including those just trying the game out for the weekend. Further details are given once you register to take part.

The tournament has received a bit of backlash from fans as it is coming at a time when player population is at an all-time low. They also accuse the devs of abandoning the game without improving it. Will the tournament have the impact they’re hoping for? We’ll just have to wait and see what the numbers are like over the weekend.

 

Source: Steam

 

Mavericks: Proving Grounds Starts Testing

Mavericks: Proving Grounds

As you may recall Mavericks: Proving Grounds isn’t doing traditional testing like you’re used to seeing. Instead, they have something called The Forge, a sort of beta server where they test the game and new updates they’re introducing. Well, for the first time The Forge is opening for a limited number of players. During The Forge up to 1000 concurrent players will be able to take part in a free for all fight. If you don’t get picked to take part, unfortunately, you’ll have to wait to hear more about the game. There is an NDA in place though as they continue development this will change.

 

Source: MMORPG

 

PUBG Mobile Revenue Grows 166% in One Week

For the first time, PUBG outperformed Fortnite on IOS as it enjoys a 166% growth in one week. Player spending went from $4.5 million to $12 million just on mobile. PUBG mobile only started monetizing in April, which makes that $12 million all the more impressive. Each day last week there was about a half a million dollar difference in the earnings for PUBG Mobile and Fortnite on just iOS. PUBG Mobile brought in $1.7 million a day while Fortnite brought in $1.2 million daily on iOS. Will we continue to see these numbers beyond the long holiday week? We’ll just have to wait and see.

 

Source: SensorTower

 

Rapture Rejects Enters Early Access

Rapture Rejects

The hilarious and blasphemous Rapture Rejects is now in Early Access on Steam. It is one of those that you have to pay to get into. As of the time of writing this, we’re still waiting for the trailer to drop along with any welcome messages/patch notes/whatever else we might get. Hopefully, more information will come out before this article goes live, but, if you’re reading this then it didn’t. Live with it.

 

Source: Steam

 

Realm Royale Console Beta is Go

Realm Royale seemed to lose some steam on PC which is one of the reasons Hi-Rez is finally bringing the game to consoles. This may very well be the game’s saving grace. If you’re interested in trying it out they have been giving keys away on their social media. So if you don’t already follow them there, you should.

 

Source: Realm Royale Twitter

 

Red Dead Redemption 2 Has Battle Royale Mode

With the release of Red Dead Online, we’ve seen several new multiplayer modes. Since Battle Royale is the big genre everyone loves right now is it really any wonder that one of those modes is Battle Royal? Make it Count is what Red Dead is calling their Battle Royale mode.

Make it Count has two versions. In the first players are given a bow and a handful of arrows. To get more arrows you have to loot them off the corpses of the dead. The second version is quite similar but involves throwing knives instead of a bow and arrows.

At the moment Red Dead Online is only available to those who played Red Dead Redemption between October 26th and 29th, and Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition owners. Though it will be open to all Red Dead Redemption 2 owners from tomorrow, so you don’t have to wait long.

 

Source: Gamespot

 

Totally Accurate Battlegrounds Will Go F2P

Totally Accurate Battlegrounds

After a recent community test of the new brawl mode Totally Accurate Battlegrounds announced on Steam that they would be going F2P in the future. But, before they can do that they have to finish the brawl mode, get some cosmetics made, and work on optimizing the game for streaming.

They have been quite honest about their reasons for going F2P. It can be quite difficult to get 50 players together for a match. The other reason is that server costs are, in their words “very high.” The move to F2P not only opens them up to the potential for more players to join in it also gives them the opportunity to sell various things in a cash shop.

There isn’t any word yet on when Totally Accurate Battlegrounds will go F2P. Developers recommend you follow them on social media to stay up to date. At the moment it sounds like they’ve got quite a bit on their plate before they’re ready to dedicate to this F2P transition. I personally wouldn’t expect to see it before Valentine’s Day.

 

Source: Steam

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MMO Money: Wargaming Acquires Edge Case and October’s Top Earners

After announcing that Fractured Space was ending development the news that Wargaming acquires Edge Case, the makers of Fractured Space is a bit of a surprise. What isn’t a surprise though is that Activision is tightening its grip on Blizzard and making them focus more on money. This represents a massive change in the culture at Blizzard. One that some former developers aren’t too keen on and may, in fact, be responsible for Diablo Immortal. This week we also found out what the top grossing games in October were, though the top games really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who follows the industry. Finally, we get a new report from the UK Gambling Commission that doesn’t show any connection between lootboxes and gambling, despite what some who reported on the matter interpreted from the report. You can find all of that and much more in this week’s dive into the business behind games, MMO Money.

 

Activision Tightening Its Grip on Blizzard

Activision and Blizzard have been together since 2007 but, according to a recent article from Kotaku, Activision has started having a greater influence over Blizzard. Much of it started with Activision Blizzard’s Senior VP of Investor Relations took on the role of CFO at Blizzard earlier this year. Shortly after she was appointed she told employees that Blizzard was looking to save money this year. This is very different from the message previously given. Anonymous employees who spoke to Kotaku said that the way they were being scrutinized you would have thought Blizzard was going under and had no money.

Activision hasn’t been having an amazing year. Share prices have taken a hit and Destiny 2 is underperforming which may be putting a little bit of pressure on the company as a whole. Blizzard has also had a drop in monthly active users for four quarterly reports in a row. That simply comes down to not releasing any new games in a while.

This almost certainly had an influence on Blizzard’s decision to go into mobile games as well. The Kotaku article also says that they have more in the works, including a Warcraft Augmented Reality game like Pokemon Go.

It looks like Blizzard as we once knew it is changing. If that’s a good thing or not depends on how much you have invested in the company.

 

Source: Kotaku

 

Wargaming Acquires Edge Case

Fractured Space

Last month Edge Case announced they were ending development on Fractured Space. Now we’re finding out that the studio has been acquired by Wargaming. The 32 members of the Edge Case team will be relocating to Wargaming UK’s office bringing the total number working there up to 55. There they will be working on an unannounced F2P MMO. Wargaming UK isn’t looking to acquire any more studios, but they are hiring for a number of positions.

It’s too early to have any idea what exactly the next Wargaming F2P MMO is going to be. But that isn’t going to stop us from hoping that it is going to be World of Spaceships. That’s what happens when you mix Fractured Space with World of Tanks…right? Whatever the game is we’re looking forward to the day it gets announced.

 

Source: Games Industry

 

October’s Top Grossing Titles

Superdata released their monthly look at the top grossing titles. For the first time ever console gamers spent over $1 billion on full game downloads in a single month. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 topped the console charters with Red Dead Redemption 2 and Fortnite in third. Pokemon Go holds the number 2 position as far as mobile games go. Second only to Honour of Kings, a Chinese game which has been at the top for quite a long time now. Overwatch, which didn’t make the top 10 list is seeing microtransactions are down 20% from last October. However, thanks to Halloween they were up from September.

 

Source: SuperData

 

Lootbox News

The UK Gambling Commission put out a report that said they are concerned with the increasingly blurred lines between games and gambling. The report also found that 3 in 10 children have opened lootboxes while playing video games. However, this doesn’t mean that lootboxes are a gateway to gambling or that they are themselves gambling, which some media companies reported. For the first time ever questions around awareness and usage of lootboxes were included in an annual survey of 3,000 kids in the UK ages 11 to 16. Speaking to Games Industry a spokeswoman said, “We’ve not in anyway, in the survey, referred to it as exposure to gambling. The reason we’ve asked that question is that it’s a very popular subject matter and we want to try and make sure that we have as much information and data around it as possible.”

The survey did find that 15% of children 11-16 are aware of skin betting websites. However, only 3% have ever participated and this has no connection to lootboxes at all. Awareness of lootboxes was at 54%. Those are kids who said they knew it was possible to pay money for them in games. 31% said they have acquired them and opened them either through their parent or guardian or through their own means.

It’s very disappointing to see that the UK continues to hold a stance that goes against what many countries in Europe have decided. But then again, we have come to expect that sort of thing.

 

Source: Games Industry

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Red Dead Online Game Modes Leak Ahead of Release

With Red Dead Redemption 2’s multiplayer mode due to go live for some starting today, we’ve got a bit of advance information courtesy of a dataminder: specifically, news about Red Dead Online game modes including what sound like story missions and a battle royale mode.

red dead online game modes

The leaks were shared on Twitter by a user named Illogicalmods, who dug up several text files from Rockstar’s Social Club website. These text files include what look like journal entries to several story missions involving a man by the name of Horley, who appears to be your liaison to Red Dead Online’s activities and presumed overall narrative.

The files also offer brief descriptions of game modes in the multiplayer game:

  • Hostile Territories, a team-based point capture mode.
  • Most Wanted, a “tactical race to the top” that sees players trying to kill as many people for points without being taken down themselves.
  • A Name Your Weapon mode which limits the types of weapons players can use and awards points for landing kills with “trickier” weapons.
  • And the battle royale mode Make It Count, which has players using specific weapons to determine the last one standing in a slowly shrinking play space.

The unearthed feature list also has some word about different types of races that players can join in on, as well as good old-fashioned team-based deathmatch modes.

As announced yesterday, Red Dead Online’s beta will be opening in staggered steps; today will become available for those who bought the Ultimate Edition, the 28th will be open for those who bought the game on day one, the 29th will allow those who played during the game’s launch weekend, and the 30th opens the beta to every owner of the game.

Our Thoughts

We’re really not terribly surprised that Red Dead Online is hopping on that bandwagon, but at least it sounds like there are other things for players to do if battle royale isn’t their cup of tea. Or campfire instant coffee if you want to stick to thematics.

Sources: Rockstar Newswire, Twitter via Eurogamer

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Red Dead Online Gets a Release Window for Open Beta

While the vast majority of folks are busying themselves with playing the single-player portion of Red Dead Redemption 2, there’s still the matter of when its confirmed online multiplayer will kick off. We now know just that bit more as Rockstar has offered a rough Red Dead Online release window for its open beta.

red dead online release window

We already knew that Red Dead Online was going to begin beta at some point in November, and the latest earnings call from Take-Two Interactive has confirmed that is still the case. Only we’re going to have to wait until the end of November.

“It will launch in public beta towards the end of the month,” said Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick in the earnings call. “Rockstar will have a lot more to say about it.”

Part of the run-up to Red Dead Online will likely be more information about features. There’s still no word on that front now, though an interview with developers did state that features for the mode will arrive in a fluid manner much like Grand Theft Auto Online’s updates work now.

In that same earnings call, Zelnick was extremely non-committal towards confirmation of the game’s assumed PC release, simply saying “Rockstar will talk about what their intentions are going forward with regard to all upcoming products” when asked by one of the investors.

Our Thoughts

As much fun as the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is, we expect it’ll be even more fun — or certainly more chaotic — once other people are tossed in to the mix. Here’s hoping for more firm word on when and what will be in Red Dead Online soon.

Sources: IGN, VG247

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Rockstar Staffers Speak Out Against RDR 2 Crunch Backlash

If our Twitter feed is any indication, the arguments on both sides of the Red Dead Redemption 2 crunch argument are pretty heated. Now, a number of Rockstar employees have stepped forward with their own experiences about working for the developer in an apparent attempt to provide more context to how things are done.

rockstar employees

A couple of anonymous Rockstar staffers have reached out to VG24/7 with private messages of their experiences at the studio. One dev admitted to only doing “minor crunch” to see RDR 2 released and expressed annoyance at the general public’s view of the studio.

“It’s been pretty frustrating seeing it portrayed as a hellish place to work – it’s really not,” reads the message. “We’re rewarded very well and crunch is never mandatory.”

Another employee has gone on official record on Twitter with their two cents.

“During the dev. of RDR I sometimes worked 50 hours during the week. This was on and off for a few months. And by on and off I really do mean off. Some weeks I just worked a flat 40 and there was zero issues with this.

“I’ve been at R* for 6 years and I have never worked, or been asked to work, anywhere remotely close to 100 hours in a week.”

Still another anonymous Rockstar employee’s message suggests that this experience seems to vary from department to department.

“Not every studio gets paid overtime. We certainly don’t. The average from all departments makes OT not look too bad but I’ve done 50+ hour weeks as standard since I started. Even if there is now work, we are told to come in every weekend anyway.”

The influx of first-hand accounts comes by way of a newly relaxed social media policy enacted by Rockstar, which now lets employees talk about their time in the studio. As for Red Dead Redemption 2 itself, the game’s launch trailer has just gone live, which you can see below.

Our Thoughts

Considering the amount of opinions that read like they came from flies inside the walls of Rockstar itself, it’s good to have a bit more context from the people who are actually, literally working there. We do hope that this quells some of the rage but also doesn’t stop the push against exploitative working practices. Especially for an industry that doesn’t have a proper union.

Sources: VG247, press release

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Rockstar Attempts to Clarify “100-Hour Week” Remarks

If you your gaming feed is anything like mine, then you were made well aware of Rockstar’s remarks yesterday about its crunch development for the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2. As a result of the blowback from this particular quote, however, co-founder Dan Houser tried to ease the RDR 2 development cycle concerns and provide context to the interview.

rdr 2 development

According to a statement from Houser, who talked about the long work weeks in the original piece, the 100-hour week crunch was mostly undertaken by the senior writing staff. “The point I was trying to make in the article was related to how the narrative and dialogue in the game was crafted, which was mostly what we talked about, not about the different processes of the wider team,” it reads.

Houser also went on to explain that this sort of work week isn’t expected of the wider members of the dev studio.

“Across the whole company, we have some senior people who work very hard purely because they’re passionate about a project, or their particular work, and we believe that passion shows in the games we release. But that additional effort is a choice, and we don’t ask or expect anyone to work anything like this.

“I believe we go to great lengths to run a business that cares about its people, and to make the company a great place for them to work.”

Our Thoughts

It’s still a bit hard not to think that the efforts of the senior writing staff don’t ultimately translate to more overtime and work for the devs below them, but that’s more supposition than anything else. Regardless, we stand firm in the belief that the culture of crunch needs to go. There just aren’t any video game features or dialogue worth putting people through that much.

Source: Kotaku

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100-Hour Work Weeks for Red Dead Redemption 2 Raise Concerns

Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser’s detail of how much work is going into Red Dead Redemption 2 could be backfiring in a spectacular way. Word of 100-hour work weeks for Red Dead Redemption 2 development has set off a number of alarms for many in the games industry.

red dead redemption 2 development

According to a piece from Vulture, the dev team behind the open world game has been putting in 100-hour weeks several times over the course of 2018, creating 300,000 animations and recording 500,000 lines of dialogue.

According to Houser, this results in a game that’s “a vast four-dimensional mosaic in which the fourth dimension is time, in which the world unfolds around you, dependent on what you do.”

However, people are focusing less on the creation of a digital fourth dimension and narrowing down on the crunch that Rockstar is putting the team through. “Survivor of GTA V crunch here. It was hell,” reads a tweet from a former dev. “Survivor of COD, KONAMI, DISNEY etc crunch. It’s ALWAYS hell,” agreed another. “Time for a fundamental change.”

The issues of crunch were examined by Game Informer early this year, and the practice is one that clearly falls under the umbrella of labor exploitation for efforts like Game Workers Unite to unionize the games industry.

This, incidentally, is not the first time Rockstar has apparently put its devs through the ringer. In 2010, Rockstar San Diego was accused in an open letter allegedly written by the wives of the development team of forcing 12-hour-long work days. The accusations came to little, with Rockstar retorting that the letter was merely a collection of opinions from “anonymous posters on message boards” being spun as fact.

Our Thoughts

We’re hard-pressed to think of any game feature that’s worth that much development time. Considering that RDR2 has already been delayed a few times before, hearing that the team is being put through those kinds of working conditions is disheartening, to say the absolute least.

Sources: Vulture via GamesIndustry, Twitter

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