The Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer dropped yesterday, and it gave us our first look at the game’s protagonist. It wasn’t what we expected, as John Marston was not featured. Instead, we are introduced to newcomer Arthur Morgan of the Van der Linde Gang. That’s right, Dutch is back. There is a lot of information to decipher from the trailer, as well as a glimpse into how it ties into the first game. Unfortunately, we still have to wait until Spring 2018 to find out.
Right off the bat we can tell that the graphics are incredibly detailed, and much better than the first game. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise seeing as it is six years old at this point. Arthur Morgan and his gang are on the run from lawmen in three different states according to the trailer. It seems to take place all in America during the trailer, but surely we will see Mexico in some part.
Overall, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a prequel about Dutch Van der Linde’s gang. The original gang from the first game was Dutch himself, along with John Marston, Abigail Marston, Bill Williamson and Javier Escuela. This is why we figured the game would be based on these five as a prequel, considering the initial trailer saw them riding toward a train guns blazing. Even the silhouette seemed to indicate that after the trailer was released. As you can tell, the one on the far right is a female, which is most likely Abigail Marston.
Arthur Morgan, predictably, was never mentioned in the first game. So, there is no baseline as to how to frame his involvement with Dutch. We know he’s a member of his gang, but that’s it. What can we expect story wise from the game? I have a few ideas.
One of the most logical theories is that Arthur Morgan commands a separate group of the Van der Linde gang than the one Dutch was involved in. If you remember, the original Red Dead Redemption saw Dutch, John and Abigail Marston, Javier and Williamson as pretty much equals that had a falling out. Let’s call them “The Five”. The introduction of Arthur Morgan could indicate that the gang was multi-faceted, with The Five serving as its executive board of command so to speak. Bill Williamson is the one who tried to have him killed, which is why (partly) we were going after him in the original game. How is this tied into Arthur Morgan, though? I’ll tell you – I have two theories.
I think that Arthur Morgan is going to have his own story, obviously, that ties into the original Red Dead Redemption and the falling out of John Marston. Here’s my guess as to how. We will get to see the usual Red Dead stuff; train robberies, side missions, betrayals, etc. These will all tie around Arthur Morgan and his escalation of power within the Van der Linde Gang. In the trailer, we see Dutch ask him “Do you have my back?”. Morgan simply replies “Always Dutch”. This could be about a number of things specifically. In general, however, I think this represents how Arthur Morgan will be involved with trying to take out John Marston.
In the original game, Marston wanted to leave the gang. Of course, not everyone was sympatico with this notion, and the attempted murder at the hands of Williamson began. I’m willing to bet that Dutch sends Morgan after Marston in an effort to take him out before he leaves the gang. It could be what Dutch was referring to when asked if he has his back. Dutch may even go himself. This is backed up by an image from the trailer, where you can see Dutch, Arthur Morgan and one other person walking away from a flaming house. Although it isn’t stated, that person on the left looks identical to Bill Williamson – the guy who tried to kill Marston. Check it out here
My second theory is that Williamson decides to act out on his own, and Dutch sends Morgan as an attempt to stop it. Dutch could see Bill Williamson as a threat to supplant him, and Morgan must go and intercede to try and save Marston in order to prevent the coup. The issue of Morgan never being mentioned in the first game wouldn’t be a problem. You would think that if Morgan was sent to save Marston, that he would have been mentioned in the first game. He wasn’t, and there is an obvious reason for that: Rockstar didn’t know what the story would be for this game when they wrote the original.
Bottom line, is that the story has to feature Marston, Escuela, Abigail and Williamson in some form. I don’t see how they do it without them, not to mention the fact that I think fans would be pretty pissed off if Marston didn’t come back. I don’t think that Marston will be playable, but I do think we will get to see substantial footage of him in a cinematic.
I only have one requirement for Red Dead Redemption 2, seeing as Marston will be included in it, and I’ll go so far as to say it will be quite game breaking if it is not included: Rob Weithoff has to be in it. Featuring John Marston without his original voice actor would be like a knife in the gut to fans. Even though it is only one game, Weithoff’s portrayal of Marston is iconic. If you need anymore proof, just look at the millions of people that have requested he return for this game since before it was even announced.
Please Rockstar, Get Weithoff back. Don’t mess this up.
Red Dead Redemption 2 will launch in Spring 2018 and is available for pre-order now.