Will Red Dead Redemption 2 Be Delayed Into 2018?

While most gamers are busy talking about how The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has locked in this year's game of the year award, Rockstar Games has been hard at work on Red Dead Redemption 2.

Announced with an release window of Q3/Q4 2017, Red Dead Redemption 2 is potentially this year's biggest game. That is, if it actually makes it to market before the end of the year.

In an effort to get an idea of whether or not Red Dead Redemption 2 will be out this year, let's look at Rockstar Games' past few releases and what they tell us.

Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV was Rockstar Games' grand entrance to the seventh generation of consoles. Causing incredible anticipation after a four year gap following the award-winning Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, it was a serious test of patience for many gamers.

GTA IV was originally positioned to cause mayhem during Holiday 2007. It held onto a "late October" release window through the first eight months of the year, even in the face of widespread speculation that it would miss its deadline.

On August 2nd, just two months before its planned debut, Take-Two made the announcement that it would push GTA IV to early 2008. Confirmation was made with the following statement from Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick:


With Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar is setting a new standard for next generation video games. Certain elements of development proved to be more time-intensive than expected, especially given the commitment for a simultaneous release on two very different platforms. We all recognize that perfecting the game is vital and I can assure everyone it will be worth the wait. We owe it to the game’s millions of fans, to our dedicated development team, and to our shareholders to make sure that Grand Theft Auto IV is a groundbreaking gaming experience that takes maximum advantage of next generation technology.

This delay caused widespread commotion in the gaming community as the PS3 and Xbox 360 had been on the market for several years without a Grand Theft Auto game to show for it. Thankfully, this is the only delay that would affect the console versions of the game, and the title would make a successful debut on April 29th, 2008.

The PC version of GTA IV would similarly see a delay later in the year, although it only pushed back the release by a couple weeks.

Red Dead Redemption

Just one year after the release of GTA IV, Rockstar Games confirmed the existence of its first Western game, Red Dead Redemption. For the entirety of 2009 following its February 3rd announcement, the game didn't share much of itself. It wouldn't be until December 1st, 2009 that a debut trailer would hit the internet, providing a brief look into what a Rockstar title could be like when set outside the modern era.

The debut trailer would also share the game's target release window of April 2010. This release appeared perfect, as April 2010 wasn't a month rich with release options. Unfortunately, it wouldn't meet its deadline.

This time around, Take-Two CEO Ben Feder confirmed the delay, sharing:


We shifted the launch of the game by several weeks into the third quarter. We believe this is the optimal time frame to release what is being hailed as the next generation of sandbox games.

The good news was that the delay was far less significant than what impacted GTA IV two years prior. Red Dead Redemption would make its debut on May 18th, 2010, casting a huge shadow over other May releases including Alan Wake, Skate 3, Lost Planet 2, and even the similarly well-received Super Mario Galaxy 2. Few would remember that it was delayed once it was in their hands.

Grand Theft Auto V

GTA V began development in early 2009. It wouldn't be until two years later in October 2011 that it was formally announced. This announcement was very similar to Red Dead Redemption 2, where an early tease was made followed by a debut trailer a week later.

The title was originally announced with a Q2 2013 release date. While the industry was led to believe that 2013 would have a killer game to play during Summer, Rockstar Games hit a few snags during development. In January 2013, less than six months prior to its release window, it was delayed. The new release date would become September 17th, 2013.

The following was the letter released to confirm the delay, marked with a date stamp of January 31st, 2013:


Today, we have an official release date to share with you: Grand Theft Auto V will arrive in stores on September 17, 2013.

We know this is about four months later than originally planned and we know that this short delay will come as a disappointment to many of you, but, trust us, it will be worth the extra time. GTAV is a massively ambitious and complex game and it simply needs a little more polish to be of the standard we and, more importantly, you require.

To all Grand Theft Auto fans, please accept our apologies for the delay, and our promise that the entire team here is working very hard to make the game all it can be. We are doing all we can to help ensure it will meet if not exceed your expectations come September – we thank you for your support and patience.

This delay was a huge blow to the millions of GTA fans who were eager to play the game, requiring roughly three more months of patience. This delay followed several months of silence at Rockstar Games, not too dissimilar to the lack of communication seen since Red Dead Redemption 2's full reveal more than four months ago.​

Final Thoughts

For more than a decade Rockstar Games has missed released dates for its major games. These delays and their date of confirmation have ranged in scope, from weeks to months of separation.

Though, one quality has been shared between these delays: they followed several months of silence from Rockstar Games. Although this is a traditional behavior of the company when it comes to lead-up to its releases, it has been aggressive with marketing only when close to a finalized release date.

Given that we're at least four months out from the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 with very little known about the game, there's no telling what state the game is in. But two things are for certain, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a massive title, and Rockstar Games hasn't successfully hit a release window in over a decade. In other words, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.