Jared Petty’s show Red Dead Radio hosted another episode today with Jon Ryan, the IGN editor who got to preview Red Dead Redemption 2; he went into more detail about the demo he saw, and revealed some new details about the game. Speaking about the War Horse, he pointed out how horses in Red Dead Redemption 2 have their own statistics and attributes and those can be upgraded as you build your bond with them. The horses are essentially more than mounts, they are companions in the game. Courage is one of these stats, which is “really important when you get into gunfights or when a bear lumbered into the woods”. The demo player had to “actively control the horse as it was frightened [by the bear]”. Courage can be increased the more that you “bond” with the horse – which effectively means time spent with them.
When asked about the physics in the game, and the engine for the game, how it feels to play, etc. “There was so much going on during the firefight portions [of the demo I watched]. I saw fall folks fall off a roof, and folks on the ground. I definitely saw a dude tumble away on his horse as it ran away.” Then he took to talking about rocks. “There was one point where we went up on this little ridge overlooking this really beautiful looking valley, and as the horse like crested the hill to go down the other side, it was this rocky hill – not super steep – but the horse had to carefully tread its way down.” “The other side of it too was that when it was going down the hill, it nudged a rock and that might sound like nothing but the fact that that rock didn’t spawn there when the horse was moving, and then it fell down and hit other rocks, which rolled down to hit more and more.” He rambled on about the detail of the open world, and how even the rocks on mountains have immense detail which you might not even notice.
When asked how it was possible on a PlayStation or Xbox, he simply replied “I have no idea”. He was in shock throughout the demo about the visuals and was surprised when they were told the demo had run on a base launch PS4. “No one can do it like they can.” “We explored a bunch of the woods – we came to this one town that was like recently burned almost to ash – the only building left standing was made of stone like everything else was smoldering and tusky and you could see it at the very end of trailer 3.” In awe of the miniscule details, he decided to ask Rockstar about whether or not you could burn down a forest, and the short answer was “no”. Ryan claimed that “everything they built there is handcrafted – the story is built in every tree and leaf, and more” so burning down a forest could disrupt the “system of building it there” and experiencing the world itself. “It’s fun over factual realism.”
How was the gore? “We didn’t see anything particularly that visceral but it is where the gore is realistic to a point of at least with animals, almost not discomfort but extremely close to realistic.” “So we robbed a bank, and got into a shootout with the law, and so there would be moments where Arthur pops out of cover, shoots a guy and then it does the slow-mo follows the bullet, watches it hit the guy, he falls down and then it cuts back to you.” He talked about skinning a rabbit, where it didn’t show it in Red Dead Redemption 1, and instead in the sequel you genuinely see your character skinning the animal piece by piece. “I can still see the deer twitching on the ground.”
Did you see Arthur get shot and did he limp or become affected? “I didn’t see Arthur get shot, no. I don’t believe he got hit at all. His hat got shot off, though.” Then the hat is gone if you don’t pick it up.
How are the graphics compared to the current gen versions of GTA 5? “It’s just really god damn pretty. It’s everything.”
“I don’t think they’ve confirmed Horse Racing in any capacity but I’m fairly certain they are gonna be there”, Jon also pointed out. “Most activities that we saw in the first game – I’d be very surprised if they didn’t make some kind of appearance here”. Horses have permadeath, as we learned last month. “I think it would be very surprising and honestly kind of a pain in the ass if you couldn’t” have them live somewhere so they don’t die, joking that it should be called a “horse garage”.
They also went into more detail on the locations, citing the special edition bonus of a southern town called Rhodes again. “You’re gonna be running across mountains, over the hills. It’s a fair bet that like, if its a southern town, we’ve already seen bayous and plantation stuff which we also get more info on.” They know nothing about Rhodes other than the bank you rob. There are street cars in Red Dead Redemption 2, as we’ve seen from the background of various trailers. Jon points out that the Collector’s Box includes a puzzle which features Red Dead Redemption 2’s take on New Orleans, called Saint Denis. “We know it’s a port-town.”
The special edition includes boosts for “core stats” which encompass Deadeye, Stamina and Health. Stamina is a new one, which we’ve seen in GTA 5. “The fact that these things are labeled core stats implies there are other stats we have.” Ryan speculates. “Jumping from 5 to Red Dead, we see Franklin’s driving, Michael’s shooting, but those things they weren’t so good at” like strength and stealth, he would “be surprised if we didn’t see some version of that”. He reminds us of GTA 5’s stats being increased by doing those activities, like sneaking around to increase stealth. “I can’t pause on what those skills are exactly gonna be, but I would assume there is one such as animal handling [to] train horses faster.” He clarifies that this isn’t confirmation of these features, but an educated guess based on the demo.
The Talisman which upgrades your environmental awareness will probably be “similar to being able to buy survivalist maps in the first one” but most likely won’t be like a “detective vision”, but a “map radial icon [/] thing on your mini map”. The Medallion gives you a general boost, reducing your incoming damage while on horseback. “This is a new way of doing things for Rockstar Games,” comparing updating stats in the first game through putting on outfits and taking that idea and “making it equippable items” is fascinating.
“The demo that we saw, the camp needs food to keep everyone fed and the camp morale high. I don’t know what food as an individual item means. When we talked to Rockstar, [their] big thing was the rot mechanic – where carcasses lie on your horse for a while, they rot and attract wildlife. That wouldn’t work for squirrel bodies though, because that would be a pain in the ass.” He points this out to remove the idea of “hardcore realism” and instead present a “boost in immersion”. He doesn’t believe that Food would be anything to worry about such as San Andreas or Minecraft.
“There are upgrades to your camp. We know that the camp is the lifeblood of the gang in a sense that its where you retreat to.” He doesn’t think it’s a hub world exactly, more just… a camp. “It’s everyone’s sort of gathering place [to] figure out what the next step is.” “If you choose to keep the camp well fed, they can fend for themselves, you don’t have to – but if they do lose food they won’t be in a good mood, and [vice versa]. If they are well fed, there will be festivities, and more.” It’s possible there are supplies that let him preserve food for longer.
Now, Jon Ryan talks about the online part of the game. “They registered Red Dead Online years ago, I think – there was a partnership with Sony years ago, we’ve known online is coming forever. I don’t really think they’re gonna talk about it at all other than the info from the pre-order details, so we focus on the story mode and the world and the characters probably up until the month before launch.” When asked when he thinks the online mode will launch, citing GTA Online’s delayed launch after the game had released. “GTA gave me two weeks with the world to learn how to play the game, so theoretically I would love to see Red Dead Online release some weeks after the game has already come out.”
“So the Ultimate Edition comes with bonuses to online.” confirming outfits and parts of outfits which you can pull info for the customization system of GTA Online which goes in-depth for clothing and character customization. “You also unlock a theme for your personal camp which, and again this is not for sure – it sounds like you have a campsite which is yours and yours alone, or its likely you could get control of your own gang.” However, this is speculation, not confirmation. “We know you get a rank boost up to at least Level 25, and it might be like GTA Online where you keep going forever.”
This is most of what Jon revealed, but you can watch the whole talk show here.