Opinion: Why Rockstar’s Next Game Won’t Be a New Red Dead

By | 5 months ago 

With rumors circulating about the imminent reveal of a new Red Dead game, one writer looks at one other Rockstar title that could be possibly be unveiled instead.

Out of all the press conferences that are scheduled for E3 2016, it is the Rockstar Games showcase that fans are most looking forward to. That’s because, for months now, rumors upon rumors have been circulating about the imminent reveal of a new Red Dead game. While it’s been fun to see the internet go crazy over every little bit of news that’s come out, it’s a little hard to deny that there’s a strong chance of this game’s existence. However, for all the evidence that suggests otherwise, I think that we also need to prepare for the possibility that a new Red Dead title may not be on the cards.

Don’t get me wrong, Red Dead Redemption will forever remain as one of the best games I have ever had the pleasure of playing, and I would love nothing more than to get my hands on a brand new Red Dead game. But whatever it is that Rockstar is going to reveal soon, I honestly hope that it won’t be a new western adventure, regardless of whether the protagonist is a Marston descendant or otherwise.

That’s because the game that I’m putting my – admittedly slim – hopes for is a forgotten little title called Agent.

Agent Rockstar Games Screenshot

For those who are unaware of Agent, this is a stealth game that was announced by Rockstar way back in 2009 (though its existence was known as far back as 2007), and was touted as a brand new franchise that put players in a 1970’s “world of counter-intelligence, espionage and political assassinations.” Unfortunately, at the time, Agent was overshadowed by another little Rockstar game called Grand Theft Auto IV, and as time went on the 1970’s stealth game gradually slipped into development hell. There have been inklings of life in the project over the past few years, and recent screenshots suggested that Agent was deep into development before Rockstar seemingly decided to focus on other things, but given that no new information about Agent has come out for years now, most have assumed that the project is dead.

With Agent more or less in the same state as the dodo, why give it the spotlight when all everyone wants to talk about is a new Red Dead game? Well, the answer is simple: I still want to play Agent, and now is probably the perfect time for the game to finally resurface.

For all the love that Rockstar gets for GTAMax Payne, and Red Dead, the thing that seems to slip under everyone’s radar is that the developer hasn’t put out a new IP since LA Noire in 2011, and even then it was developed by the now-defunct Team Bondi. That’s not to say that Rockstar is falling into a trap of churning out half-baked sequels, but with a wealth of amazing new and original IP that’s been released or still scheduled to be released in 2016, getting a brand new franchise from what is arguably the industry’s most celebrated game developer will be undoubtedly be one of the biggest stories of the year.

But beyond releasing a new IP into a video game landscape that welcomes originality and creativity with open arms, Rockstar and the rest of the industry has honed its craft and technology since 2007, and I believe that the pieces are there for Rockstar to revolutionize the stealth genre with Agent like what GTA did with open-world gaming.

Agent Rockstar Games copy

Not only is Agent‘s 1970’s Cold War espionage era setting fresh and exciting, something that I think will elevate the game above all other stealth games out there, but Rockstar has built its reputation on being incredibly meticulous in developing video games. It is this level of quality that the stealth genre needs at the moment. Assassin’s Creed has been on a downwards slope for years now and the historical settings mixed with futuristic elements have never really gelled properly, Hitman‘s setting is unremarkable and the quality of the games have always teetered on the line between average and good, and the Thief reboot was another historical game that was nothing short of a mess. Some may argue that there are many games out there that do feature stealth, such as Fallout or Uncharted, but those games aren’t really “stealth” games in that it isn’t an element that is primarily focused on.

The only exception that I can think of is Metal Gear Solid, which still remains as one of the best stealth series ever. But with Hideo Kojima’s departure from Konami, the Metal Gear Solid franchise is as good as done as far as I’m concerned, and what better way to fill that stealth game void than Agent? Some (or many) may disagree with me, but a 1970’s era stealth/espionage game developed by a studio that prides itself on pushing technological and gaming boundaries seems like nothing short of a win-win.

In my romanticized and ‘glass half-full’ take on this, I like to think that Rockstar has taken nearly a decade’s worth of “dos and don’ts” from all the Assassin’s Creeds and the Metal Gear Solids that have come out, and have been slowly polishing Agent into a stealth masterpiece. Until that Agent trademark runs out and is no longer renewed, there’s still a chance for this long-gestating game to see the light of day.

I know that the chances of a re-reveal of Agent are about as slim as seeing Half-Life 3 during my lifetime, but if Final Fantasy 15, The Last Guardian, and even Duke Nukem Forever somehow managed to rise out of the ashes, who’s to say that the 1970’s espionage thriller that we (well, I) desperately want isn’t waiting around the corner at this year’s E3? As much as I want to dive back into wild west with a new Red Dead game, I would gladly give that and the next two Red Dead games up if it meant that I could finally play Agent.