There's always an air of mystery around Red Dead Redemption 2, especially ever since the mysterious "Bonaire" listing appeared on the Classification Board's website last month. That's since been taken down, but over the last few weeks Red Dead Redemption 2 has reappeared — first being refused classification, before being removed and replaced with a flash new MA15+ listing.
In late August, following the interest around Rockstar's last classification application, a fresh classification rating appeared from Rockstar. It was for Red Dead Redemption 2 this time, and it was just as spicy as before. The game had apparently received a refused classification rating through the automated IARC process, and because the process was automated, there was no detail on what happened.
I emailed the Classification Board earlier this month asking them for information, having emailed them repeatedly throughout August for clarification on what happened with Bonaire. The Board declined to respond, and after repeated emails, they eventually emailed me back to say that they "had not received an application for a game by the title 'Bonaire'".
However, that's not all the Board had to say about the game. The enquiries officer from the Classification Board separately told a Resetera member that the Department of Communications, discovering that Bonaire was refused classification, reached out to Rockstar Games to find out more. "The Department has contacted the game developer who advised that an error was made when completing the IARC questionnaire," the email reads, adding that the listing was since removed from the Classification's website.
But what about Red Dead Redemption 2? As it turns out, the original refused classification rating has been replaced as well. In its place is the identical rating the game received back in September 2018, a bright red MA15.
The current speculation is that, with the launch of the Rockstar Launcher, the listing is in advance of the game's release on PC. That might be true, although the classification listing doesn't mention what platform the game is coming to, and the original rating (which was for consoles) only says "Multi Platform". So it can't be definitively said yet, at least not without access to the original application or confirmation from Rockstar, why the developers were making a fresh IARC application in the first place.
There's not much that can be read into the fact that Bonaire was included in the classification application either. It could have been a codename, or meant to be included in another part of the application, or an accidental copy-paste from whoever was entering in the form.
But what is confirmed is that Rockstar is gearing up to do something with Red Dead Redemption 2 again and soon. It could be a re-release of the game on PC (possible), new DLC for the existing release (also possible), or a combination of the two. It's worth noting that Rockstar's logo was also featured during the initial Google Stadia launch earlier this year, although no Rockstar games are named on Google's official list for Stadia games. But that Red Dead sun is creeping over the horizon. It's only a matter of time before we find out why.