Opinion: This Gunslinger Should Be Red Dead Redemption 2’s Main Character

By | 5 months ago 

With rumors teasing a possible sequel to Red Dead Redemption, one writer hopes that the next game in the series tells the story of legendary outlaw Landon Ricketts.

With E3 2016 right around the corner, rumors are swirling about surprise games that will be revealed at the show. Evidence has been stacking up that one game in particular, Red Dead Redemption 2, will have its proper unveiling at E3 in June.

While these Red Dead Redemption 2 rumors should be taken with a grain of salt for now, let’s just assume that there is some validity behind them for the moment. If true, Red Dead Redemption 2 will be a prequel to the first Red Dead Redemption game, and it will carry with it the subtitle Legends of the West. Considering this, I think there would be no better protagonist for the game than Landon Ricketts.

Landon Ricketts was introduced to players in the first Red Dead Redemption as a legendary outlaw from the Old American West. Ricketts and his gunslinger exploits made him an iconic figure, and protagonist John Marston shows deep respect for him in the game. However, Ricketts only appears in a handful of missions in Red Dead Redemption, and so I think it would be interesting to see his character fleshed out if RDR2 is in fact a prequel as rumored.

Red Dead Redemption 2 could have players live through some of the most famous exploits of Ricketts that are described in the first Red Dead Redemption. For example, players could see what really happened during the famous battle between Ricketts and the Butcher Brothers, and the Blackwater Massacre could also be shown in great detail.

Is This Red Dead Redemption 2's Game Map? - Red Dead Redemption 2 game map leak

Speaking of the Blackwater Massacre, if the Red Dead Redemption 2 leaked map has any legitimacy, I think there actually is a distinct possibility of Landon Ricketts having his turn in the spotlight. After all, Blackwater is featured on the map, and the massacre that took place there would be a great way to cap off the story of Landon Ricketts – it is the event that convinced him to leave the life of a gunslinger behind in the first place, as some may recall.

Beyond those specific events in his life, little else is known about Landon Ricketts, except that he had a wife who died before the events of Red Dead Redemption. Perhaps Red Dead Redemption 2 could show gamers the developing romance between Ricketts and his wife, and reveal how she met her untimely end. Such a story could provide plenty of material for Red Dead Redemption 2 to reach the same emotional heights as its predecessor.

Anyone aware of Red Dead Redemption‘s shocking twist knows just how emotional a game in the series can be. I think that if Rockstar did decide to tell the story of Landon Ricketts, the best way to do it would be to allow players to watch him evolve over a long period of time. His character can begin as a novice gunslinger, and then we can explore the height of his glory days in the Old West. From there, we can perhaps see his interactions with John Marston from his perspective, and then learn what ultimately happened to Ricketts after the events of that game – and no, what we saw in the Undead Nightmare expansion doesn’t count, as that can hardly be considered canon.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Should Be About Landon Ricketts - Landon Ricketts in Red Dead Redemption

Pictured above is the legendary gunslinger himself, Landon Ricketts.

I think I’ve made it clear at this point that I am very enthusiastic about the idea of Landon being the star of Red Dead Redemption 2, but I am sure that most people would rather the game star a younger John Marston. That seems too obvious, and I don’t think that would make for the most interesting story, necessarily. Marston has already had his character explored rather thoroughly, but there’s a lot about Ricketts that’s still very much a mystery. Having said that, there may be a chance that fans can have their cake and eat it, too, as rumors point to Red Dead Redemption 2 having multiple playable characters.

Grand Theft Auto V‘s multiple playable characters seems to be the obvious inspiration for this feature, if it does turn out to be in the game. While there is no overlap between John Marston’s adventures and those of Landon Ricketts, perhaps a very young John Marston can be controlled at some point in the game. This would allow players to experience multiple ongoing storylines that don’t necessarily involve other playable characters, which is an element that helped Grand Theft Auto V earn as much acclaim as it did when it released a few years back.

Whatever direction Rockstar decides to go in, I’m sure it will be the right one. After all, the studio has released one critically acclaimed masterpiece after another for over a decade now, and so there’s no reason to doubt the studio at this point. Even so, I can’t say I won’t be disappointed if Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn’t fulfill my wish of seeing the story of legendary outlaw Landon Ricketts.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is rumored to be in development for unspecified consoles.