Red Dead Online is a multiplayer game, but it doesn’t have to be a co-op game. Sure, you can just hang out and let randos snipe you while you’re picking berries. But it’s better together, as we said in our Red Dead Online beginner’s guide. It’s even better than that with friends who can both scare away aspiring murderers or, failing that, avenge your death. That’s where the Posse system comes in.
In this guide, we’ll explain how the whole multiplayer thing works and how you can use Posses to create Red Dead Online co-op in Red Dead Redemption 2.
How multiplayer works in Red Dead Online
If you’re playing Red Dead Online, you're … online. (Shocking, but true.) There’s no way around that. Check your map, and you'll see a bunch of pink shapes that indicate the position of other players in your world.
How others behave in your world is up to them. Anyone might ignore you. Anyone might see you in the middle of a field, minding your own business while skinning a deer and send a bullet through your brain. Such is life online. (No you’re bitter!)
You can control how multiplayer works through a menu. In Free Roam mode (the one where you’re just hanging out in the world), tap left on the D-pad, and you’ll open the Free Roam menu. This is where you can customize multiplayer and initiate co-op (among other things).
There are a few options in this menu worth mentioning in a multiplayer guide:
- Players lets you see who’s sharing the world with you. Tap R1/RB from that menu, and you can see a list of your friends, who almost certainly aren’t in your world unless you invited them. If you go to the Free Roam > Players menu, select someone and chose Invite to Session, they’ll get an invite to appear in your game world. But that’s where it ends. They won’t follow you into a mission or side quest. They’ll just be around to hang out.
- Posse is your portal into Red Dead Online co-op, and we’ll cover that in the next section below.
- Quick Join is a way to do something in Red Dead Online … quickly. Basically, it’s fast travel directly to standard multiplayer modes like Showdown Series, Showdown Series Large, Race Series and Story Mission On-Call, the latter of which matches you with someone who needs help with a story mission. (We cover all of these multiplayer modes and more in our Red Dead Online beginner’s guide.)
If you want to play Red Dead Online co-op, then you want to form (or join) a Posse. And as luck would have it, we’re about to explain them.
How Posses work in Red Dead Online (hint: it’s co-op)
Posses are a way to join forces with other players and stay together — that’s effectively what differentiates them from just inviting someone into your world.
Posses always include a Posse Leader who sets up the Posse, but one kind of Posse is more, well, hardcore than the other. There are two types:
- Temporary Posses are free to set up, have a limit of four players and disappear when the Posse Leader quits. Think of them as a quick and easy way to get your friends together.
- Persistent Posses cost you currency to create, max out at seven players, remain after the Posse Leader quits and are available again whenever the Posse Leader is online. Think of them as the kind of thing that serious players will create to customize their Posses, play against other Posses and even battle against each other with Posse Versus.
To create a Posse, press left on the D-pad and select Posse. In the menu that loads, press the Square/X button that corresponds to Form Posse. (The text in the lower right of your screen, not on the menu.) You can use the Player section of the same menu to add Posse Members.
You can also join an existing Posse from the Posse menu, provided that a Posse Leader in your world set the Privacy option to Open when they created theirs.
When you’re in a Posse, everybody who’s in your Posse follows you. If you choose a mission or talk to a Stranger who wants you to do something, your Posse will accompany you and reap the rewards of what you do. If you just invited someone into your game world (with Invite to Session from the Free Roam > Players menu) but didn’t also set up a Posse, they’ll be left behind.