Red Dead Online players get a trick but no treat, with the same DLC pass returning for the third Halloween in a row

A skull lantern glowing in Red Dead Online.
(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

The relaunch of Red Dead Online as a standalone title in late 2020 was something of a false dawn for its ever-optimistic community. Rockstar maintains the title but has been in a cycle for several years of repeating content, and it could fairly be said that this playerbase has been surviving on rations ever since 2020. This led to one of the best in-game protests I've ever seen, where a ton of RDO players gathered together in summer 2020 dressed up as clowns to protest the lack of substantial updates.

Well, dust off those red noses and fetch the greasepaint: Rockstar has announced RDO will be receiving Halloween-themed content for the holiday period, called Halloween Pass 2, which was originally released for Halloween in 2021, and then repeated in 2022. It's fairly typical of RDO holiday event passes, consisting mainly of accessories themed around the event that players unlock by ranking up through 15 levels: blood-stained clothes, scary masks, skull lanterns, wicked-looking scissors… you get the idea.

Very generously, players who have previously bought the Halloween Pass 2 will not need to buy it again. Those who haven't previously bought the pass can buy it for 20 gold bars, which can be bought in-game for real money (25 gold bars is $10) or earned while playing the game. The Halloween Pass will also be accompanied by the return of in-game events Fear of the Dark and Dead of Night, and players will get some hats and a coat for logging in.

One player complained about this on the game's subreddit. "You must be new," said TheRealTr1nity, "Good for you." I wouldn't say RDO players are angry at this point so much as resigned and, while you won't have trouble finding posts combining "Rockstar" with a swear word, or indeed the odd overly optimistic petition, many didn't seem to expect any more than this. Rockstar has set the bar so low, in fact, that one of the most common complaints is they're bringing back Halloween Pass 2 for a third time rather than 2020's Halloween Pass 1.

RDR comic. Another (same) Halloween pass from r/RedDeadOnline

One cannot blame Red Dead fans for feeling slightly abandoned. These players really love that cowpoke life, and have a tendency to get over-excited at things like the recent Red Dead Redemption re-release: Which ended up existing after all but, in a bizarre decision, was a port rather than a remaster that only released on PS4 and Switch (and at a cool $50). That game has never come to PC. This decision led one wag to suggest "Rockstar is Dutch, and we've all become Arthur", and while it would be unfair to suggest Rockstar has duped anyone… well, it seems reasonable to be disappointed in some of its decisions.

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."