With 'Red Dead Online' Updates Players May Become Industrialists and Buy Property

Rockstar Games added new occupations to Red Dead Online in September's Frontier Update, allowing players to become Traders, Bounty Hunters and Collectors. In a new interview with VG247, Rockstar designers explained how the in-game roles are just the beginning of Red Dead Online's expansive future plans, which could include new roles, purchasable properties and a game arc that takes players from frontier hawkers to powerful industrialists.

"We don't want to leave anything behind, we'll continue to look to add to the roles in the future, like the Legendary Bounties we've just released for Bounty Hunter," Red Dead Online Lead Open World Designer Scott Butchard told VG247. "Little things, even new collections, and then we add new roles as well."

Butchard and Lead Online Production Associate Katie Pica described how Red Dead Online's gameplay evolution is motivated by both a realistic sense of immersion in the 19th century of Red Dead Redemption 2 and more practical considerations, particularly consistent game progress, optimized for on-ramping new outlaws, cowpokes and pioneers into the play patterns of Red Dead Online.

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The opportunity to take on new roles and broaden character customization will be an important part of the future of "Red Dead Online." Rockstar Games

"Red Dead for us is an opportunity to try something a bit different, try something new, and really let players have an experience of living in this 19th century America," Butchard said, going on to note that the design philosophy of Red Dead Online differs from the more frenetic Grand Theft Auto Online.

"We don't want the players to feel too overwhelmed too quickly," Pica added. "So from their first day all the way to, say, the latest update, we want to make sure that there's progression there, for every player."

Pica offered the Trader role as an example. Players who want to become Traders plunk down 15 Gold Bars to buy a Butcher's Table for their camp, which will be worked by Red Dead Online's NPC camp manager, J.B. Cripps. Players can bring Cripps animal furs and carcasses, which he'll sell. But gain enough experience as a Trader and the business grows, until players are delivering goods and handling supply runs.

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Traders in "Red Dead Online" can train their dog to warn players when thieves are raiding their Camp. Rockstar Games

"We thought that was a good fit. You know, we don't want to jump up the ladder too soon, whereas we put high-end businesses into GTA quite quickly. We actually want the player to start on that first business, and then keep going. We've got plans for other business ventures that the player could do. We just want each one that we add to feel distinct from the next one," Pica told VG247. "We've mentioned before that we'd like players and their characters to experience the journey from running a fledgling business at camp to becoming some kind of industrialist, so it's just a question of creating a fun and logical path from one to the other with the right amount of steps in between."

That's not the only way Red Dead Online will use the roles introduced in the Frontier Update as a foundation for the game's future. Pica also described how Red Dead Online hopes to foster both depth and breadth, allowing people to pursue riches in one field, or branch out and take on multiple jobs at once, just as players are able to play as Collector, Trader and Bounty Hunter simultaneously in the new update.

While Pica emphasized that future plans for Red Dead Online aren't "set in stone," the progression from camp merchant to wealthy industrialist is likely to include real estate, with players able to purchase in-game properties to expand their businesses. Still, players shouldn't expect a stable full of chrome wagons, since Red Dead Online will continue to place special emphasis on slow, organic growth.

Other possible updates coming to Red Dead Online include taking your camp dog out on missions and new events that create in the online multiplayer mode the same living, breathing verisimilitude as the open-world of RDR2's single-player campaign. But the most exciting is likely to be Properties, allowing players to earn their way out of roughing it.

"We want to introduce properties at some point in the future," Butchard said. "Again, part of the reason is we don't want to jump the shark too soon. We want players to live like an outlaw, live in the Wild West. We don't want to abandon the camp. We want the camp to be something that you take care of, and we want the expansions to update it, and you get your own distinct feel. It's your own camp, this is my camp, it's their camp. We don't want to leave that behind too quickly."

While players may eventually become ruthless, Carnegie-esque industrialists, Red Dead Online will always have a place for the fur-trappers, stagecoach robbers, bounty hunters, gunfighters and prospectors — like Red Dead Redemption 2's single-player campaign, the future of Red Dead Online will always be about holding on to a lifestyle and an era relentlessly chewed under by onrushing modernity.