While a PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2 feels almost inevitable at this point, Rockstar has refused to commit to anything. This feels familiar, after the long, year-plus wait for GTA 5 on PC. If we use the same timeline, we're hoping to hear something concrete about RDR2 PC in 2019.
Rockstar hasn't announced anything official yet, but it has been dancing around the subject for months. The evidence is stacking up: references on the Rockstar Social Club, a datamined companion app, a supposed leaked clip of a video settings page, and more.
In this article, we sum up what we know about the evidence pointing towards the game's possible PC release, plus we explore Rockstar's background of staggering ports on PC to see if we can make an informed guess on when Red Dead Redemption 2 will arrive on our PCs (fingers crossed).
Source code on Rockstar's Social Club references "RDR2 PC Accomplishments"
Our newest batch of evidence comes from the source code to the Rockstar Social Club website. A look at the code reveals an explicit reference to "RDR2_PC_Accomplishments". "Accomplishments" seems to be the word used in URLs and code to refer to in-game goals, but the main site uses "achievements" instead.
If this sounds familiar, it's because one of the very first hints of RDR2 on PC was code within the game's companion app. This makes the second time a piece of official Rockstar media has referenced the PC version.
Take-Two CEO says there's "no downside" to Red Dead Redemption 2 coming to PC
In yet another investor call, this one in June 2019, one investor said releasing Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC would be a "layup", to which Zelnick responded: "There is no downside to releasing the game on PC."
Clearly it's not confirmation of anything, but it's a change of tune for Zelnick, who usually shrugs off questions about a PC port with a stock line (like the one above) about how updates on any Rockstar games would come from the developer itself.
A PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2 is mentioned on a former physics programmer's LinkedIn page
As picked up by Reddit, a former physics programmer from Rockstar Toronto mentions a PC version of Red Dead Redemption 2 on LinkedIn. Could it be an oversight, or a sign that a PC version exists already?
A fake rumor that Red Dead Redemption 2 would be announced in April was total nonsense
Earlier this year, a rumor started to circulate based on a 4Chan post that Red Dead Redemption 2 would be revealed on PC on April 22, with the game then releasing on PC on July 9. In addition to that, the post apparently said that it'll be an Epic Games Store exclusive. This same leaker also posted a day earlier to say that Super Mario Odyssey was being revealed for PC soon, too, so...yeah. It was a fake.
It doesn't mean Red Dead Redemption 2 won't come to PC, though. And given that games from both 2K (Borderlands 3) and Private Division (The Outer Worlds)—both owned by Rockstar's parent company, Take-Two Interactive—have exclusivity periods on the Epic Games Store, you can see why a fake leak might draw that link.
Red Dead Redemption 2's companion app datamine is still the best evidence we've seen of a PC version
A companion app that launched alongside Red Dead Redemption 2 apparently suggests that a PC version is in the works. As uncovered by Rockstar Intel, parameters in the app seemingly point towards PC graphics options, like anisotropic quality levels, TXAA, particle shadow quality, particle lighting quality, motion blur strength, grass quality, reflections, shadow distance and more. The most telling, though, is this line: 'CommandIsPcVersion(void) 000000000166A12C'.
Reference is also made to Oculus in the parameters, suggesting there might be some VR compatibility if the game comes to PC. Collectively, this is probably the strongest evidence yet that Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming to PC. Fingers crossed we'll find out more about all this soon.
An alleged Red Dead Redemption 2 PC 'leak' with graphics options was posted to YouTube
An off-screen recording of what's allegedly Red Dead Redemption 2 running on PC and a graphics options menu was posted to YouTube, and discussed intensely on Reddit. It's since been deleted along with the original account by the user, but it was reuploaded shortly after—see above. The menu shows the option to adjust vsync, shader quality, texture quality, shadow quality, reflection quality and more. We've reached out to Rockstar to see if this RDR2 PC leak is real or not. Either way, it's not a bad effort—the fonts all look pretty correct. But some elements give away that it's probably not the real deal.
Where are the rest of the graphics options, for example? Why not show actual in-game footage? Why, when the resolution changes, isn't there a menu suggesting Where's GTA 5's video memory bar? There's the option for FXAA in the menu, but the companion app data dump below suggests TXAA will be one of the anti-aliasing options, while the console version's default is TAA—so it doesn't quite line up.
Almost a month later, it hasn't been taken down, and some outlets have noted the build number is of the day one version of the console game—so we're pretty certain it's a fake. That doesn't mean Red Dead Redemption 2 won't come to PC in 2019, though—read below for the best evidence suggesting its existence so far.
Take-Two is asked about Red Dead Redemption 2 coming to PC, but won't commit to anything
During an investor call in early November 2018, Take-Two's Strauss Zelnick was asked about the chances of Red Dead Redemption 2 coming to PC. The answer was a little disappointing, but predictable. "In terms of ongoing releases, Rockstar will talk about what their intentions are going forward with regard to all upcoming products and that the same would hold true for platform. So, in this particular instance, I can't really give you too much clarity, apologies." That means the app datamine leak below remains the best evidence RDR2 is coming to PC.
If Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming to PC, then, we can be certain the news will come from Rockstar itself.
Red Dead Redemption 2 PC briefly appeared on LinkedIn, and a listing appeared on a retailer site
An anonymous Rockstar employee's LinkedIn profile used to list Red Dead Redemption 2 as coming to PC (via VG247), before it was changed. Before the leak above, this was the closest thing to a smoking gun on Red Dead Redemption 2 coming to PC so far. Then again, it could just be an error.
When asked about the possibility of Red Dead Redemption 2 coming to PC last year, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick only had this to say. "Any updates about any of our titles will come from our labels."
Elsewhere on the rumor front, a listing appeared for a PC version of the game on the Dutch retailer Media Markt. It was later revealed, though, that it's just a placeholder. It's hard not to admire their optimism.
Here's how long it usually takes Rockstar games to come to PC
- GTA 4 took about seven months to make the jump to PC.
- LA Noire took about six months to arrive on PC.
- Max Payne 3 launched just two weeks after console versions in 2012, but then it's fair to say this was historically considered a PC series.
- GTA 5 arrived 17 months after the PS3/Xbox 360 versions, and five months after the more comparable Xbox One and PS4 versions. It was originally meant to launch about three months earlier, however, in January 2015, and was originally announced alongside the 2014 console versions at E3 2014.
If we were to make an informed guess on when Red Dead Redemption 2 does come to PC, then, history tells us it'll probably be a wait of about five-to-seven months. That would be a release date of summer 2019. Dare we hope? It's nearly summer 2019 already, though, and we've still heard nothing more about it—so maybe the wait will be a little longer this time.
A decision on whether to bring Red Dead Redemption 2 to PC has probably already been made. When we spoke to Rockstar North about GTA 5's PC release back in 2015, they said they planned for it from day one. "We were always going to bring GTA 5 to PC."
Why did Red Dead Redemption never come to PC?
Red Dead Redemption never came to PC after its original release in 2010, and Rockstar answered (vaguely) as to why that was the case back in 2011. "All we can say is that whenever it is viable (technically, developmentally and business-wise) for us to release a game for PC (or any other particular platform)—we will and we usually do; unfortunately, that is just not the case 100% of the time for all platforms." That was a long time ago, though, and even at the time the company was bringing LA Noire, GTA and Max Payne 3 to PC.
You have to go back 10 years to find another major Rockstar console game that skipped PC (Midnight Club: Los Angeles).
We did have a pretty bogus rumor spread via Reddit in July claiming that Read Dead Redemption would be remade for consoles and PC with all of Red Dead 2's features included and a larger map. It sounds too wild to be true because it is. The poster confessed later that they had made the rumor up as an "experiment."
GTA 5 sold a bucketload on PC, so it's unlikely Red Dead Redemption 2 would skip our platform
GTA 5 has sold over 90 million copies in total, which is an incredible feat. On Steam, it's sold 12,604,123 copies according to recent data released about player counts on Valve's platform. This doesn't include copies sold in physical form or through third-party resellers, however, where the game redeems through Rockstar Social Club, so the actual player count is likely to be a fair bit higher than that. This makes a pretty good case for Red Dead Redemption 2 to come to PC.
There is an entirely legal way to play the original Red Dead Redemption on PC
Strangely, in lieu of a proper PC release for 2010's Red Dead Redemption, you can stream it through Sony's PlayStation Now service. It's no substitute for having the game in your Steam library, of course, but it's an option if you decided not to drop several hundred pounds on a console eight years ago. It's arguably Rockstar's second or third best game ever after RDR2 and GTA 5, and still holds up pretty well.