Word is spreading that Rockstar Games has sunsetted its plans to remaster its 2010 open-world Western game Red Dead Redemption. Rumors of the cancellation first spread from Twitter user Tez (who has reliably leaked Rockstar Games plans in the past), and has been now been confirmed by Kotaku.
Why would the developer shut down a remake of one of its best-selling games? The reasons are apparently two-fold. First, there’s the tumultuous release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition (a remaster of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas). At the time, Rockstar stated that the game “did not launch in a state that meets our own standards of quality, or the standards our fans have come to expect.”
Maybe more importantly, Rockstar has apparently decided to focus its development efforts on releasing Grand Theft Auto VI. Development of a Red Dead Redemption remaster would be running parallel to the making of the next Grand Theft Auto, and Rockstar appears to be prioritizing the development of the latter game.
That’s an understandable move when you consider how Grand Theft Auto V has sold over 165 million copies since its 2013 release date. Those numbers have still been ticking upward as recently as May 2022.
Sources speaking to Kotaku have said that Rockstar might still be interested in remastering Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto IV after Grand Theft Auto VI is out the door.
How Rockstar Games approaches remasters will be something worth watching in the company’s future, given how remakes, remasters and re-releases have started to become a potent portion of publishers’ financials. Its performance with Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition also shows that such projects aren’t guaranteed financial windfalls.
It is worth noting that cancelling work on a Red Dead Redemption remaster means that the game still isn’t available to purchase on PC. It’s an untapped market that Rockstar and publisher Take-Two aren’t likely to ignore, given how other publishers like Sony Interactive Entertainment have been expanding sales in that digital territory.