Earlier this week, Rockstar revealed that Red Dead Redemption is coming to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on August 17th, but the reception to the news has been decidedly mixed.
Fans took to social media to bemoan the port’s removal of multiplayer and overall lack of the enhancements you’d expect from a re-release of an older game. What’s more, Rockstar is charging $49.99 USD/$64.99 CAD for the PS4 and Switch versions, almost the cost of brand-new $79.99 titles on those systems.
Now, Rockstar’s parent company Take-Two Interactive is defending the price tag. In an earnings call this week, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told IGN that this is the “commercially accurate” price for the game. It’s unclear how Zelnick came to that conclusion, but he did argue that the inclusion of Red Dead‘s meaty single-player expansion, Undead Nightmare, makes it “a great value for consumers.”
Of course, one could counter that this being a straight port of a 13-year-old game, rather than a remaster or remake, diminishes its value. In a blog post, Rockstar doesn’t even mention any technical improvements at all, simply noting that more languages are supported this time around.
It’s a far cry from how other companies have approached re-releases of beloved games. For example, BioWare’s Mass Effect Legendary Edition included remastered versions of three Mass Effect games (all from the same generation as Red Dead), their respective DLCs, and various gameplay refinements for $79.99.
Even Nintendo, a company that has been criticized for its high game costs, has released less expensive actual remasters than this Red Dead port, such as the now-discontinued Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection (three games for $79.99) and this year’s Metroid Prime Remastered ($49.99).
Meanwhile, it should be noted that Red Dead Redemption and Undead Nightmare can be purchased for $40 total on Xbox One and Series X/S, $25 less than their PS4 and Switch counterparts. What’s more, the Xbox versions get an automatic 4K/60fps bump on supported consoles through Microsoft’s backward compatibility feature, which is better than what Red Dead‘s more expensive PS4 and Switch versions will support. Further, the Xbox version includes the multiplayer suite that’s lacking in the PS4 and Switch versions.
This isn’t the first time classic Rockstar game re-releases have come under fire. In 2021, the company launched Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, which did actually offer visual enhancements and gameplay tweaks but suffered from a slew of technical issues and controversial art changes. The backlash reportedly led Rockstar to cancel remasters of Grand Theft Auto IV and even Red Dead Redemption.
Image credit: Rockstar