Given it has been more than five years since the last game's release, the question of whether Red Dead Redemption 3 will ever happen is more pertinent than ever.
While best known for its Grand Theft Auto titles (headed by UK-based Rockstar North), Rockstar Games' San Diego studio has ventured into the world of the spaghetti western with Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR 2) on PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
Both games received widespread acclaim upon release, with Red Dead 2 earning a near-unseen 97/100 score on the review aggregate site Metacritic.
Will There Be a Red Dead Redemption 3?
No official plans have been shared by Rockstar Games or Red Dead publisher Take-Two Interactive for a potential Red Dead Redemption 3, but the game is all but certain to happen.
Rumors have been swirling about a potential threequel for years at this point. And while not explicitly named Red Dead Redemption 3 - Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told investors during an earnings call in 2021, "If it’s really, really great it will keep going," mentioning Red Dead as an IP that one can expect to return at some point (via VGC):
“If it’s really, really great it will keep going. I don’t know if you saw it, I just saw the new 'Bond' film, that was great. And you would like every franchise to be 'James Bond.'
There are precious few entertainment franchises of any sort that fall into that category, but they do exist. And I think 'GTA' is one of them, I think 'Red Dead' is one of them, 'NBA' is obviously one of them because the game [of basketball] will continue to exist.”
Since then, several actors from the Red Dead series have commented on the idea of Rockstar revisiting the Western franchise.
In December 2023, Arthur Morgan (Red Dead Redemption 2 protagonist) voice actor told fans on X (formerly Twitter) that he is "certain" Red Dead 3 will eventually happen (via IGN):
"I’m certain we will see 'RDR3' one day. When that will be - I have absolutely no idea. Don’t count on Arthur’s involvement either. His story has been told, I feel."
Red Dead Redemption 3 Release Prospects
More than five years have passed since the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, and a Red Dead 3 release date remains a mystery.
Seeing as the title has not yet been officially announced, there is no telling when Rockstar and Take-Two will unleash the threequel upon the gaming world.
However, looking at Rockstar's recent development cycle, one can start to paint a picture of when the game will ultimately come to consoles.
Rockstar is currently prepping the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 6 for release sometime in 2025, meaning it will be around seven years since the studio released a new game by the time the open-world crime epic comes to PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.
While the Red Dead franchise is developed by a wholly different Rockstar team than GTA, it seems as though the studio will want to continue its cadence of alternating between its tentpole titles as it heads further into the next decade and beyond.
Red Dead Redemption 2 came out roughly eight years after the original Red Dead Redemption's release in 2010 and five years after Grand Theft Auto 5 in 2013.
If Rockstar keeps a similar development cycle between games, that would put a potential Red Dead Redemption 3 release sometime between 2026 and 2030 (eight years after RDR 2 and five years after GTA 6).
While GTA 6 is seemingly set to come to consoles in 2025, a 2026 release feels improbable given the long legs Grand Theft Auto will seemingly have.
That means fans will likely have to wait until sometime around 2030 before getting their hands on a Red Dead threequel.
What Could Happen in Red Dead Redemption 3?
Plot specifics for Red Dead Redemption 3 remain a mystery given the title's current unconfirmed state.
Despite being called Red Dead Redemption 2, the last game in the series was not a direct follow-up to the 2010 original.
Instead, the sequel opted to go the prequel route, telling the tale of Arthur Morgan and the Van Der Linde Gang (a key group in the growth of Red Dead Redemption protagonist John Marston's youth).
So, a potential threequel could go forward in time, or - like RDR 2 before it - head further back in time.
John Marston voice actor Rob Wiethoff told interviewer Dan Allen Gaming in 2021 (via ComicBook), that he had not heard anything about joining the cast of Red Dead 3, meaning Rockstar could be looking to focus on a new group of characters without Weithoff's franchise mainstay:
"If they ask me, of course, I will if they don't, I'm sure it will be a really, really cool, great game, just like the other two. If it were only up to me, in a second. If Rockstar were to call me and say 'We have a role for you that is not ['Red Dead Redemption'], you're not going to be John Marston.' Big or small, totally different story, I would do it. I would love to do it, I love the work, I love the people."
Seeing as Red Dead 2 took a step back, focusing on Dutch and his gang (which was only hinted at in the first game), Red Dead Redemption 3 could jump even further back in time, telling the origins of the Van Der Linde Gang, centering on the criminal origins of Dutch Van Der Linde himself.
Another path the series could take with its next adventure is putting the infamous Landon Ricketts.
Just like the Van Der Linde Gang before, Ricketts was the subject of much mythmaking in Red Dead Redemption 2, which could have been a subtle nod that the next game will center on the renowned gunslinger.
Red Dead Redemption 3 remains unannounced, but Red Dead Redemption 2 is available for purchase on PlayStation 4, Xbox One X/S, and PC.