A Red Dead Revival

Staff Writer: Logan Haines

RDR 2 cover - rockstar

Red Dead Redemption 2 Launch Cover ; Courtesy of Rockstar Games

 

From fan favorites like Bully, and L.A. Noire, lesser known titles Oni and State of Emergency, to their wildest hits the highly acclaimed GTA series Rockstar has been on everyone’s radar since the early 90’s. Or at least they were up until the release of their biggest title yet GTA V, which launched in 2013. Since then they have slowly been rolling out updates, milking the game for all its worth, and falling into the shadows of the gaming community.

Dan Houser, Co-Founder of Rockstar Games, has gone on record to claim, “You could say that the goal of Rockstar is to have players really feel what we’re trying to do,” referencing a previous statement, “It’s in our DNA to avoid doing what other companies are doing.” Rockstar has stayed true to these testaments, especially with the widely

Dan_Houser

Dan Houser, co-founder of Rockstar Games and Lead Production Manager of Red Dead Redemption 2 ; Courtesy of GTA Wiki

revered 2010 launch of Red Dead Redemption—some would say Rockstar’s most thrilling and immersive game. Now bringing themselves back into the light, Rockstar has released the highly anticipated, long-awaited sequel Red Dead Redemption 2, launching today.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is the biggest game of the year so far, and it’s rumored to be the most demanding game put out by Rockstar, or any developer to date. Standing at a whopping +100 Gb download and install space, Rockstar’s new addition has everything the fans have ever wanted and more.

The game is set 12 years before the events of the first Red Dead Redemption following the notorious Dutch’s Gang, main antagonist in the first, and “focuses on Arthur Morgan, Dutch’s most trusted enforcer,” says Josh Bass, art director at Rockstar San Diego. Many familiar faces appear in the game including formerly playable protagonist John Marston, currently a younger member of Dutch’s gang. The story captures the gangs forced flee across America and we begin to see Dutch’s grasp on the gang start to slip.

Campaign isn’t even the main proponent that is drawing people back into the world of the west. It is the amount of effort and completeness Rockstar and their employees have put into the game. The world is bigger, hotter, and meaner than ever. Not two days before the games release an employee spoke out about the amount of overtime being out in by the workers. Company head Dan Houser has fought these accusations saying, “he doesn’t expect or ask anyone to work anything this hard,” and that, “workers are given the choice to work overtime.” The overtime

Dutch Gang - Rockstar Games

Dutch’s Gang including Dutch van der linde (Middle), John Marston (Middle-Left), and Arthur Morgan (Left) ; Courtesy of Rockstar Games

in question is over 100-hour work weeks, really pumping and grinding away at those gears to prepare the best game possible. There is a lot of tension surrounding the workplace environment with Reddit posters from inside the company claiming overtime “is NOT optional” and “If you are unable to work overtime on one day, you have to make it up on another.” Although Rockstar employees may have their grievances with the overtime, they are paid handsomely for the effort and it goes to show how much time and money Rockstar and everyone for them are putting into bringing a truly spectacular work of art to the gaming community.

With all the time they’ve crunched there is no small stone left unturned. Guillermo Perez, Woodstock High School junior, has exclaimed his favorite part of the game is “the amount of detail in the game is wonderful, the fact horse genitals shrink in the cold is hilarious but also paying attention to detail.” He’s not making things up, Rockstar has gotten down to the nitty gritty and yes, when you and your horse stumble upon a cold climate its bits will shrivel. That’s just the icing on the cake however. There are elements and mechanics in Red Dead Redemption 2 never seen in a video game to date. The explorable world is more expansive and dynamic with a plethora of new wildlife to interact with. From buffalo to alligator to the minuscule seagull every living thing can be

Buffalo - Ryan Meitzler

Buffalo roaming the plains in screenshot from in-game; Courtesy of Ryan Meitzler

hunted, skinned, and cook to consume. Cooking now isn’t just some trivial task, you have to actually live in game. If you neglect fundamental healthcare needs, such as eating, drinking, or sleeping your avatar will experience serious mood change and physical deterioration. Even grooming isn’t something you can skip on; your beard and hair will grow with each passing day and if it isn’t kempt enough townsfolk will treat you like scum and possibly refuse service or certain side missions. An immersive experience is apparent in Red Dead Redemption 2 and they have achieved excellence.

The game certainly has an unlimited supply of pluses, but avid fans of the series aren’t with criticism. In the first installment when you lost your horse, or it was stolen, sometimes even killed while away from you, it was possible to whistle and recall it or sleep and have it respawned. In the prequel that is no more, when your horse is gone they’re gone forever, Rockstar made sure of that. It tackles the gripping concept of death as a permanence. Players will grow attached to their stead and must live with the constant fear it could all be gone in seconds. The wild west is a lawless land full of bandits, raiders, and outlaws all with their own agenda and out for blood. NPC’s aren’t the only thing to fear now. Rockstar has made press releases announcing a new online mode to the Red Dead franchise. It is said to mimic the multiplayer aspect of GTA V, which most take at face value a true gaming sin. GTA Online was a big hit in the first

Snapshot of RDR2 online - Alessio Palumbo

John Marston dueling from the online component; Courtesy of Alessio Palumbo

couple years of its release, and slowly it’s festered and grow into a horrible, toxic environment, ironically much like the lawless west. Fans are all in agreement that GTA Online has gone to the gutters and are fearful the community will do the same to Red Dead Redemption 2.

Despite all the constant press, negative or positive, the whole world is exhilarated to play the next installment of the Red Dead universe, and with only a few hours into full launch the responses are magnanimous. Even if you aren’t a hardcore fanboy or enjoy a more casual gaming experience, Red Dead Redemption 2 is not a game you want to miss.

 

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