In 2009, Rockstar will release Red Dead Redemption, a game with a fitting title because Rockstar has a real chance to turn the stagnant genre around. It remains to be seen whether or not the game can be played cooperatively; all signs currently point to "single player only". But while gamers drool over the lush visuals and stylish poster art, visions of cooperative train robberies dance in the heads of the Co-Optimus staff. Four-person security detail for a Wells Fargo money coach? Yes, please! Rob a bank...defend a herd of cattle...start a poker parlor shootout...raid a saloon for a marshall's bounty -- all of these typical western scenarios are best played out with a partner or a posse. Sure, being the mysterious lone gunman is intriguing, but let's be honest: there is always an interesting backstory that follows the gunman around...a backstory that is ripe for co-op, be it an outlaw gang or a Civil War tale.
Red Dead Redemption may or may not redeem the western-themed video game genre; if it doesn't, then we still have the classics to enjoy. But if a few developers would come out of the stables to see what the gunfight is about, then the future may hold some really great co-op experiences in one of the most beloved and satisfying settings ever put on film, on print, or on your console of choice: the Old West.