Red Dead Redemption 3 Could be Released in 2023
Adaptations of the Wild West have almost no bounds when it comes to entertainment. The era of history, which spanned from the mid-1800s into the early 20th century, was marked by get-rich-quick dreams, a grueling climate, and lawless frontiers.
There’s enough intrigue and danger implicit in the Wild West to keep any gamer glued to their screen. And, unsurprisingly, developers have returned to this time period and setting, again and again, to deliver on new and exciting exploits—but few projects have hit a level of popularity akin to the Red Dead Redemption series from Rockstar Games.
Now, all eyes are on the studio as rumors of a potential 2026 release for the third installation hit the press—which was followed shortly by a leak from Rockstar Games that hints the next Red Dead installment could hit shelves as soon as 2023. The news looks too good to be true—especially considering the studio has been expected to release GTA 6 beforehand, between 2023-25.
As fans of the series wait with bated breath, let’s take a look at some of the best Wild West video games of all time—starting with John Marston himself.
Red Dead Redemption Series
Anyone combing the internet for advice on Wild West successes will soon hear about Red Dead Redemption. The series began with 2004’s Red Dead Revolver, which provided popular enough for two more releases, in 2014 and 2018. Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018) is widely considered one of the greatest video games of all time, and still counts as the second-biggest launch in entertainment history, raking in almost $1 billion in its first weekend.
The series is known for its quality narrative and hyper-realistic details, from graphics to side quests. For example, poker is an integrated part of the second installation, just like it was on the actual frontier. Based on the real-life popularity of Texas holdem, gamers can use their skills in bluffing and raising to earn extra money for their character, which can be used on their next mission.
Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive
Titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 benefited from the latest advances in realistic graphics, which made the game cinematic. However, Desperadoes: Wanted Dead or Alive is still an interesting and unforgettable take on the Wild West—even back in 2001, when graphic quality was limited.
The series takes a different route than open-world RPGs like Red Dead and Call of Juarez. It was modeled after Commands: Behind Enemy Lines, a WW2 strategy simulator. The game takes players through 25 missions with six different characters, which tend to be more hard-boiled than modern strategy games. While the second installation, Cooper’s Revenge, is counted as one of the worst Wild West titles, the original won’t disappoint.
Like Desperados, Hard West explores the historical period from a strategic point of view. With so much inherent anarchy, the Wild West is the perfect setting for strategy games—like Red Dead, it even includes solid minigames like poker. But Hard West takes a different turn by infusing plenty of fantasy and supernatural elements.
Players must navigate eight increasingly difficult missions with different characters, each of which has a unique backstory and goal—and many of whom have magical powers like seeing the future or resurrecting the dead. There are other markers of genre-bending, such as the introduction of a luck meter that reduced the degree of uncertainty; luck regenerates after a player is shot. When the game was released in 2015, such features were still rare.
Honorable Mention: Call of Juarez Series
Though Red Dead is considered the best Wild West game and one of the top video game releases of all time, there’s a similar title that’s also adored: Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. While much of the gameplay mirrors Red Dead and similar open-world adventure games, Gunslinger has unique features that make it stand out in the genre.
First, there’s a ‘cheat death’ feature that makes time slow down when a bullet comes within range and lets a player dodge them. There’s also a duel feature that lets gamers earn extra XP points or earn a reputation for being dishonorable—both of which might prove helpful down the line.