Red Dead Online launches as a $5 standalone game on December 1

Red Dead Online key art
(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Red Dead Online will launch as a standalone title on Steam and the Epic Games Store December 1, and until February 15, 2021 will be priced at $4.99. The game will require "up to" 123GB of disk space and will include the option to purchase Red Dead Redemption 2: Story Mode separately.

This isn't the biggest surprise in the world, with both GTA Online and Red Dead Online having a much longer tail than the traditional singleplayer campaigns (the former is scheduled for a standalone launch in late 2021). The initial price however, for a Rockstar game, is pretty eyebrow raising. After February 15, the price for Red Dead Online standalone will be $20.

PCG cowpoke Andy Kelly recent interviewed Tarek Hamad, director of design production at Rockstar North, who spoke briefly about the game's future. "Right now the team is focused on building on top of and into the world of Read Dead Online. This world, that era, provides so much scope for storytelling and introducing a wide spectrum of different characters, all of which can be experienced on your own or with a full posse."

The standalone game will arrive alongside a new Bounty Hunters expansion, bringing "an influx of fugitives to deal with" as well as re-jigging the bounty hunter role with new equipment and skills. There will also be new Legendary Bounties and a 100 Rank Outlaw Pass.

While this news will be greeted with joy by those yet to enjoy one of the greatest open worlds ever created, existing RDRO players may be underwhelmed by an update that amounts to more levels on an existing role and more bounties. Hallowe'en events are nice and all, but this is a game where the playerbase as recently as July dressed up as clowns to protest the lack of meaningful additions.  For comparison's sake the next GTA Online update, which arrives December 15, adds a new area alongside what Rockstar describes as the game's "biggest heist yet."

But that existing RDRO community should be glad: If anything will encourage more updates, it's a larger playerbase. And if you like reading the tea leaves, there may be reasons for optimism: in August Take-Two president Karl Slatoff said on an earnings call that “both Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online will receive major updates later this fiscal year,” which runs till April 2021.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."