For the last three weeks, as I'm sure many other gamers out there have been doing, I've been thrust into the expansive and incredible world of CD Projekt RED's The Witcher 3. At times, it really does feel like the successor to Red Dead Redemption, in that its story is satisfying, its world is expansive and its horse-riding mechanics are fantastic. Sure, there are massive differences between the two games, but The Witcher 3 is the first open world adventure since Red Dead that has grabbed me so profoundly.
Red Dead Redemption is a masterpiece of its time and it's remarkable how well the title holds up to this day. But with that being said, we all want to see a bunch of improvements for when Rockstar return to this world for Red Dead Redemption 2 (or Red Dead 3, as I guess it should be labelled). And I think that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has shown me some of the things I long for when the old west arrives on Xbox One and PS4.
The Witcher 3 & What Rockstar Should Take From it For Red Dead Redemption 2
For starters, some of the greatest side-quests I've ever experienced are peppered throughout the massive world of The Witcher 3. Rockstar have always done great side-quests, and Red Dead Redemption is no exception, but the way in which CD Projekt RED have made them central to enjoying The Witcher 3 is a real achievement. Of course, it's an RPG. You need to do a lot of side-quests if you want your character to level up for the story missions. But these missions aren't tacked on or just "content" that the developer has thrown in - they're integral to how you engage with the world of The Witcher 3.
As you ride through the countryside on your trusty steed, Roach, you'll happen upon an endless degree of people with problems. Through helping everyone, you learn about new kinds of monsters, you see different areas and caves, but most importantly, they all contribute to making this land feel alive. If I make a decision in a small little side-quest, I can ride back to that town hours later and see it changed because of what I did - and not always for the better. The Witcher 3 excels at making this massive land feel like a real place, with real people and I'd love to see these ramifications in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Of course, every side quest almost always runs into another one. You'll run into someone else that needs help along the way or there will be a complication - some of The Witcher 3's greatest writing is in quests that a lot of players could just ride past. This sort of depth is the main thing I'd like Rockstar to implement into Red Dead Redemption 2.
There are other things that The Witcher 3 improves upon when compared with Red Dead Redemption, such as graphics, movements of characters and a lot of other small issues like drawing distance. But we expect all of these to be excellent from Rockstar anyway. The Witcher 3 is obviously a deep RPG, so I don't want to see its crafting system, inventory management, skill trees or combat mechanics enter Red Dead Redemption 2. But if Rockstar could implement a similar approach to missions and choices that CD Projekt RED have done, Red Dead Redemption 2 will blow my mind!