Rockstar Games confirmed in a press release that Red Dead Online will be launching in November 2018 as a public beta, and that more details on that will be coming soon.
"Today we're excited to announce Red Dead Online, a new online connected experience set against the backdrop of Red Dead Redemption 2's enormous open world", a message from Rockstar Games reads. Similar to GTA Online's original launch in Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Online won't be available at launch and will drop at a later date.
According to Rockstar, Red Dead Online will blend "narrative with competitive and cooperative gameplay" and will be free for players who own Red Dead Redemption 2. However, the mode's popularity arguably came at the cost of the single player experience: teased DLC never materialized, and numerous features GTA Online has received over time haven't been implemented into the core game.
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In a Q&A with IGN, Rockstar said they will take it "much further, and combine that with everything we've learned in the years since then with our favorite elements from Grand Theft Auto Online". "The first is that even though Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online share the same gameplay mechanics and geography, we see them essentially as separate products that will grow and evolve independently of each other". Community outreach will be a big part of the initial launch, with Rockstar stating it looks forward to interacting with fans to shape Red Dead Online into a success.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is an absolutely massive story-based game that we hope people will be lost in for a long time and we want people to experience everything that world has to offer before we build on that with the Online experience.
As such, the team took the "best elements and content packs" from "GTA Online" for use with what would debut in "Red Dead Online".