It’s a good time to like video games, especially if you really like Red Dead Redemption 2. The biggest game of the year, with a bigger opening weekend than the highest-grossing film of the year, is finally — or maybe already — going online.
Red Dead is plenty enough of game as a single campaign, but Rockstar had promised a vast online experience shortly after the game dropped earlier in the month. And on Monday the gaming company announced that Red Dead Online starts on Tuesday for some of the game’s early buyers.
According to Variety, the beta for Red Dead Online will launch on Tuesday morning for those who have played the game during a certain period of time. The rollout isn’t for everyone, but it’s the start of what should be a fascinating experiment in online play for one of the best and most immersive games of the year.
Variety lays out just who will get to play RDR2 with their online friends and when your chance might come to join the beta.
The beta for the online portion of “Red Dead Redemption 2” goes live in waves this week with those who purchased the Ultimate version of the game gaining access Tuesday, anyone who played on Nov. 26 gains access on Wednesday, anyone who played between Oct. 26 and Oct. 29 gets in on Thursday and everyone else by Friday.
The beta, which is free for those who own the game, first goes live at 8:30 a.m. ET and is designed to be the beginning of “Red Dead Online,” meaning that it won’t run for a limited time and that developers hope to allow players to keep their progress in the game as they continue to improve and iterate on it. No word on when it will shift from an open beta to the final version.
Rockstar says the beta launch is just the first part of its online initiates with the game, and said though it’s a beta they hope players will keep their achievements and experience on their profile as online play is expanded further and made the full Red Dead Online experience.
“The launch of the Red Dead Online Beta is the first step in what will be a continually expanding and dynamic world, and the beta period will allow us to deal with the inevitable turbulence of launching any online experience of this size and scale,” Rockstar Games said in a statement.
An online game always comes with problems, which is why Rockstar is calling this a beta and rolling things out slowly. The mode is an online “evolution” of the first Red Dead Redemption’s multiplayer mode. Variety says online play will be cooperative, and all the critters you’ve grown to love hunting in the single player mode will be there for your sporting fun online.
“With the gameplay of ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ as its foundation, ‘Red Dead Online’ transforms the vast and deeply detailed landscapes, cities, towns and habitats of ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ into a new, living online world ready to be shared by multiple players,” Rockstar said. “Create and customize your character, tailor your abilities to suit your play style and head out into a new frontier full of things to experience.”
As we’ve seen with Fallout 76, there are always difficulties when things go online. But so far, Red Dead Redemption 2 has been far from disappointing. For many, getting to play cowboy with your friends is just icing on what’s already been a very satisfying cake. Just try not to get your horse caught on fire.