PC Gamer is reporting that Rockstar Games has just released the above game art pic from a Red Dead game. They’re not the only one reporting it, either. It’s all over Twitter and Reddit. This is happening. For six long years, PC gamers like myself have waited with bated breath for a Red Dead Redemption of their own. It’s finally happening. Will the new Red Dead be a remaster or a third installment in the wild west action adventure series? If it proves to be a multiplatform remaster of Red Dead Redemption, will 2004’s Red Dead Revolver find its way to the PC, too? These are exciting times we’re living in.
Few games capture the magic of the wild west. The Red Dead series, Neversoft’s Gun, Techland’s Call of Juarez: Gunslinger and the demented Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath by Oddworld Inhabitants and Just Add Water are among the happy few that get it right. Three of those properties have found their way to the PC. Let’s hope Rockstar follows suit.
In a way, I’m glad that Rockstar has taken its time in bringing Red Dead to the PC. It has inspired me to give other western titles a try. Among them are addictive indie time-killers like the Hotline Miami knockoff 12 is Better than 6 and the delirious clicker Gun Done, as well as more traditional fare such as Gun and the Call of Juarez series. Casting aside the atrocious Call of Juarez: The Cartel, Techland’s contribution to the Western shooter genre is underappreciated. Dying Light: Enhanced Edition gets the press with its parkour-propelled zombie killing but, for die-hard fans of Sam Peckinpah, 2013’s Call of Juarez: Gunslinger remains the Polish developer’s finest hour.
By the numbers, there are at present 36 games in the Steam database that use the tag “Western.” That’s 36 out of 11,225 games. Should we be surprised by Rockstar’s trepidation about porting Red Dead Redemption to the PC? Perhaps not, but the few western games that are available on Steam do sell. For instance, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger has moved 955,464 copies at the time of writing. Weirder western offerings like Steamworld: Dig, with over 400,000 units sold, and Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD, with over 200,000 copies sold, have also done well. Neversoft’s Gun has sold 64,071 copies, a moderate success that owes as much to its own merits as it owes to Red Dead nostalgia.
A quick scroll through the Steam reviews of Neversoft’s Gun will tell you just how much PC gamers want a Red Dead game, and to what extent that demand has fueled purchases of other games. Review after review compares Gun to Red Dead Redemption. In May 2016, Steam user Mad_as_a_Hatter posted a one-line Recommended review: “Because Red Dead Redemption isn’t available on Steam.” Perhaps Rockstar is about to change that. Then again, knowing Rockstar, it could end up being a Social Club Exclusive. We’ll just have to wait and see.