Way back when Grand Theft Auto 4 came out, Rockstar Games implemented their Social Club where gamers could get together and talk about the game, compare stats, complete challenges and get up-to-the-minute news regarding the title. With Red Dead Redemption coming out very soon, it’s not a bad time to let you know that Rockstar will once again provide Social Club support for gamers who are out exploring the West.

Players can sign up for the Rockstar Social Club via an in-game menu that can link to their Xbox LIVE gamertag or PSN account.

What kind of support can players expect to see for Redemption? Quite a few actually:

  • Social Club Challenges – Members who complete a series of special challenges will have the ability to access an exclusive collection of cheats. To unlock “Pike’s Basin Challenge,” the first of many challenges to come, beat the “Justice in Pike’s Basin” mission, and complete the Pike’s Basin gang hideout by helping rancher Errol Hewitt defeat a gang of bloodthirsty cattle rustlers. Completing the unlocked challenge will post your best time and medals garnered to a special Social Club Challenges leaderboard, and unlock the “Guns Blazing” cheat, allowing you to fire flaming bullets that can set enemies on fire. More challenges will be revealed after the game’s release.
  • Rockstar Challenges – Awaken your team spirit and work with other players to cumulatively complete a challenge and unlock a surprise reward. Available in late May, “The Strike It Rich! Rockstar Challenge” spurs players to grab as much money in the world as possible to reach the grand bank total and unlock the mystery prize. The Social Club site allows you to keep track of the community’s progress, as well as access helpful tips and tricks to reach the goal.
  • The Blackwater Ledger – A dynamic community edition of the in-game newspaper keeps Social Club members updated on all the news that’s fit to print. Reporting daily from New Austin, Nuevo Pariaso, and West Elizabeth, the Ledger records who’s earned the highest bounties, what the most popular products purchased at local merchants are, how many people have cheated in poker that day, and much, much more.
  • My Stats – Keep meticulous records of your in-game progress and earn those bragging rights. My Stats allows you keep track of a variety of information, from how well you performed in single-player missions to extensive multiplayer performance statistics. The features also allows you to compare stats with your Social Club friends.
  • Multiplayer Leaderboards – The leaderboard tracks players across a variety of categories for both competitive and the upcoming co-op multiplayer modes. The easy-to-use global leaderboard allows you to view how your skills stack up against the world, or you can make it more personal by viewing a friends-only leaderboard.
  • Achievements & Trophies – Keep track of each and every Achievement or Trophy earned and compare with Social Club friends.
  • The 100% Checklist – Completionists on a quest for 100% in Red Dead Redemption can use a detailed guide to keep track of what’s unlocked, as well as what’s left. Tips and a map legend will help wrap up any loose ends.
  • Official Red Dead Redemption Social Club Multiplayer Events – The highly-anticipated debut of Red Dead Redemption Social Club Multiplayer Events begin Friday, May 21 on the PlayStation Network from 4-7PM EST, and Saturday, May 22 on Xbox LIVE from 1-4PM EST. Celebrate the release of Red Dead Redemption and play with, or against, Rockstar employees worldwide, including members of Rockstar San Diego. Live chat at the events page and a live stream will be available exclusively to Social Club members.

You can sign up immediately for the Rockstar Social Club or wait until release day, you can also find more information about the Red Dead Redemption Social Club features here.

There’s plenty to get excited about for the Social Club connectivity for gamers. I enjoyed using it with Grand Theft Auto 4 and I see no reason why it won’t be any different. Hell, for the 100% Checklist alone, it’s worth it.

Red Dead Redemption will cause large chunks of missing time when it releases on May 18, 2010 for Xbox 360 and PS3.