It’s no secret that Rockstar has always had an eye for detail in their worlds, but with Red Dead Redemption 2 they look to be doubling down on just what detail means. This week saw the first true gameplay trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 and it’s safe to say Rockstar is going above and beyond what it interacting within a video game world looks like. It’s easy to compare it to a game like The Witcher 3 or even fellow upcoming title from CDProjekt Red, Cyberpunk 2077. This isn’t about those games, though, this is about the sheer volume of content that Rockstar has crafted into Red Dead Redemption 2 going off the six-minute gameplay trailer that was as gorgeous as it was informative. Organ Trail anyone? One thing is for certain — Red Dead Redemption 2 won’t have players starved for things to do, see and interact with.
Many key phrases were discussed in the trailer with some even repeating (living world) and after watching the trailer it’s easy to see why. No matter what was happening in the trailer there was always something going on in a minute detail-oriented way. It’s this care of craftsmanship that showed easily why Red Dead Redemption 2 will be a sure-fire stunner even if it’s not everyone’s cup of black coffee on a misty morning around the embers of a smoldering campfire.
The front of open-world games is changing moving from just that — an open-world — to an actual living world. It’s the most noticeable thing in the trailer. Main character Arthur Morgan is always interacting on a level that is the most believable from talking with fellow bandits or just passing someone along the trailer to say a friendly hello or make a threat. Even Arthur’s horse of choice matters now depending on the task at hand going beyond just bonding with the mount. Red Dead Redemption 2 looks to take action and consequence to a level of elevation that is not only mimicry of real life, but truly wants to put the player in the boots of Arthur.
Look at any scene shown in the trailer; there’s always something happening in a more believable way than most games have ever offered (see guy getting kicked by horse after being shot by Arthur). Or the way every single character on screen is giving a performance of a lifetime; this is not to say Academy level acting, but just run-of-the-mill everyday people living their lives. Rockstar does of course showcase handpicked moments to make excellent trailers, but it’s hard to ignore that no matter who is on screen, something is happening in a way that would fit into our actual world. Saying a game is grounded has become commonplace (even I’m guilty of overuse of the term), but Rockstar is truly knocking it out of the park for what it means to be part of a living, breathing world in a time players will never actually experience.
Red Dead Redemption 2’s release on October 26 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One is creating a buzz within the game sphere that can’t be ignored. Rockstar is one step ahead of other developer CDProjekt Red when it comes to introducing players to what will be a new frontier for open-world games, but it’s easy to see that both Red Dead Redemption 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 will change the landscape permanently with what it means to be grounded within these digital spaces. The frontier is not far off now and the sun seems to be rising on a new day looking gorgeous as ever — bask in its pixelated warm rays.