I default to assuming the worst about Rockstar Games. That is a reasonable position because Rockstar is the worst. My years in the industry have shown me little to contradict the impression that Sam and Dan Houser are egomaniacal assholes who treat their employees like garbage and perpetuate a studio culture fueled with fear, run by a leadership that never hesitates to lie on record.
The Housers insist they’re making some of the best games in the world, conflating “best” with “most successful.” I appreciate Rockstar’s consistently excellent stories, writing, and cinematics, but I’ve never truly warmed to any of their work. Imagine my surprise, then, when I fired up Red Dead Redemption 2, a game that’s breathtaking in experience, masterful in design, and almost incomprehensible in scope.
The days of the outlaw are almost over, announces the handwritten title card. Cowboys are out, Robber Barons are in. The “wild” west is now largely tamed. The American Civil War is ancient history, the California Gold Rush is in its final gasps, the last of the Natives are displaced. Those who survived all that dysentery along the Oregon Trail are now established homesteaders, feverishly engaged in a systematic campaign of soil annihilation that will, in a few decades, trigger the Dust Bowl crisis. A new kind of war looms on the horizon, and nations are already plotting in secret.
Newfangled things and ideas roll through towns where once only tumbleweed did that. Telegraph lines and railroad tracks – not just a few but dozens of each – stretch from sea to shining sea. The world has changed, and the changes won’t stop.
For the men and women of Dutch Van der Linde’s gang, it’s an alien, unwelcome time, throwing into chaos the only way of life they know or want. For Arthur Morgan, who hooked up with Dutch’s crew as a teen and grew to a capable if ornery middle age under his stewardship, the pace of progress has triggered what could best be described as an existential crisis. They’re trying to make it as outlaws when the days of the outlaw are almost over. A botched riverboat heist ends in blood and disaster, forcing the group to flee, with most of the Pinkerton Detective Agency on their trail.
The only path available is east, but to Van der Linde’s gang, “east” is the Voldemort of cardinal directions. “You want to go east?” gasps an incredulous Morgan. “Toward all that… civilization?” But they have no other options.
As RDR2 is a prequel, those familiar with the first one will likely remember Dutch Van der Linde and some of his gang – particularly John Marston, who was the protagonist of 2010’s seminal-though-unenjoyed-by-me Red Dead Redemption, set several years later.
Themes of people adrift in changing worlds dominate Rockstar’s work. Arthur Morgan grew up in the waning days of the Old West. He does not want to change and doesn’t know how to do anything else anyway. Tragically, Morgan has sufficient wisdom to comprehend both how much adaptation he must do and how much better the future will be… for others. The future is a world that has no place for people like him.
The days of the outlaw are almost over.
Unlike his father-figure Dutch Van der Linde and the others in the gang, most of whom unreservedly cleave to the perception of themselves as heroic nonconformists, Morgan has few illusions about the kind of man he is, and is not ashamed of the path that defined him. He’s a killer. He breaks bread with killers, he takes council with them, he looks up to some of them. Which is interesting because though you’re generally free to play Morgan however you wish, it’s still an Old West adventure about a gang of criminals. You have to accept certain realities inherent in that. If you can’t or won’t, this isn’t the game for you.
It works fine in context, and you rarely feel like you’re being railroaded. True, most of the large moral decisions are out of your hands, but all that means is the RDR2 karma system judges you on little things: how you behave toward passers-by, the kindness you show your horse, the help bestowed upon strangers. Momentary choices like whether to take more than is owed from a debtor, whether to pet or scold a dog, whether to spare or kill a foe. These are the decisions that impact Morgan’s identity. And there’s a strong argument in favor of judging someone by the details rather than the broad strokes.
I prefer this approach, frankly. People put way too much emphasis on the idea of “freedom” in games, as if it were even possible to make one where you could do anything at any time. More choice is not always better. The player should have some agency – how much depends on the game – but it should be based on the developers’ intent. That’s especially true for developers interested in using games to tell stories. The fact that it’s a game doesn’t automatically mean the audience has a right to wreck it.
RDR2 strikes an interesting balance here. You have a fair amount of leeway to be a good guy or bad guy, but you’re also the player, meaning a person outside of the game itself. This is not a traditional RPG where you’re meant to inhabit the protagonist. Arthur Morgan is his own man. And it’s clear to the player that Morgan is ultimately a pretty bad dude, even if you play him as a saint. There are limits. This is the foundation of Morgan’s pain and the fuel for his uncertainty about the future. But there’s no decision to be made: his roots go too deep to pull up.
A Fistful of Developers
Red Dead Redemption 2 is currently the most successful entertainment property in the history of humankind. It cleared $725 million in the first three days and continued to top sales two months after release. Consider the fact that it only exists on two platforms (Xbox One and PS4; the inevitable PC release is several months off) and you begin to perceive the scope of its dominance.
The scope of the game, meanwhile, is an order of magnitude more staggering. The scale of Red Dead Redemption 2 is nearly inconceivable. If you’re interested in games at all you’ve probably heard some of the more mind-blowing statistics: 500,000 lines of recorded dialogue, over 300 speaking roles, a critical path that can exceed 200 hours. But none of that really speaks to the logistical demands, to what’s required to take a game like this from concept to functional release.
Here’s some perspective: Red Dead Redemption 2 was in constant development for eight years at 17 studios across six continents for an estimated budget of $450 million. The credits list a highly misleading 4,200 names. Like most developers, Rockstar only credits people who were at the company when the game shipped, so the actual number could easily be three times that. It’s the only way a game this enormous and this detailed can be made.
Which begs the question… is something so enormous and detailed worth that much effort, expense, and time? Had they chosen to make it smaller by a factor of X, less detailed by a factor of Y, or less ambitious by a factor of Z, no one except them would have noticed the difference.
Size, they say, doesn’t matter. A debatable point, I admit, but it’s proven true more often than not in games.
I often buy “open world” games – think Horizon: Zero Dawn, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, The Witcher 3, Mad Max, whatever – because like most people I’m tantalized by the idea of a broad play area that simulates life and encourages you to participate in that simulation. Yet even with the investment necessary to make RDR2, an investment that far exceeds almost everything we’ve seen before, a game that delivers at such scale and scope is borderline impossible to create. There’s just too much to simulate, to say nothing of the effort involved in handcrafting player experiences throughout such a world. Developers have no choice but to put a box around their ambition.
The result, understandably, is a big map with a handful of unique moments that lend a sense of occupancy, and a gazillion rudimentary experiences copy-pasted throughout the world to make it seem full. Such games quickly reveal themselves to be quite limited and often tedious after a few hours, when it becomes clear to even the most simpleminded players that the same activities are just placed against new backdrops, with the occasional narrative interstitial to keep the story on track.
Importantly, plenty of open world games are awesome despite this. Sometimes it has a conceit or mechanic that makes it memorable, like Shadow of Mordor. Sometimes the game as a whole is just so solid you can’t find it too wanting even if nothing’s specifically exceptional, as with Horizon: Zero Dawn. But overall, open-world games tend to offer large maps and small experiences.
Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn’t break that mold so much as nullify it. It takes advantage of story and setting to lean in to what are typically shortcomings and embrace them. The sheer size of the game, the detail and complexity of its systems, precludes making something that’s genuinely unique moment to moment.
Here is a surprisingly slow-paced game, at times almost languorous. It doesn’t go out of its way to fill up your to-do list and doesn’t offer many loopholes for checking things off. Fast travel, for example, is available but era-bound: stagecoaches and trains with specific, inconvenient destinations. If you want to get somewhere, you’re better off taking your horse. And it can take a while to get where you’re going, if you ever do; enough happens on the road that distraction can be the order of the day.
This accomplishes several things. It shows off Red Dead Redemption 2’s astounding visuals, which on my PS4 Regular at 1080p borders on photorealistic and consistently takes my breath away even after dozens of hours; it gives you a chance to “live” that life of quiet, reflective travel punctuated by loud and dangerous adventures; it showcases the effort that went into the world, with its bustling AI-driven society, believable weather systems and authentic flora and fauna, right down to the behaviors of wild animals; and it encourages you to appreciate your horse, which will change several times throughout the game but never be less than a crucial fixture.
And the One You Rode In On
There are 19 breeds of equine in Red Dead Redemption 2, each with their own stats, capabilities, and quirks of horsitude. Your first is borrowed, as part of the game’s wonderful setup and tutorial.
As for me, my second was a little poo-colored Morgan, a breed not much bigger than a pony. I bought her at Amos Levi & Sons Stable and Farrier for $15 and named her Horsemeat.
She stayed with me for maybe a game-week before I traded her for a burly Ardennes stallion, a bay roan with a white diamond. Ardennes are warhorses. Big, brave, obedient but stupid. I named him Horse D’oeuvres, and together we had many adventures before he galloped headlong into a tree in a fit of excitement and brained himself, leaving me carrying his heavy saddle and bags, on foot, back to the nearest stable.
I’d saved up to buy Horse D’oeuvres and had little money for a replacement. So I settled. In the old west equivalent of the horse discount aisle I found Horse-atio (Thrift, thrift, Horse-atio!). Tennessee Walkers are garbage horses for garbage people, and I hated him and his stupid spotted fur coat. It was the lowest point of my cowboyhood.
When money allowed, I unrepentantly shot Horse-atio in the face and bought Horsecrux, a beautiful dappled silver Thoroughbred. Beautiful and sweet-natured, she was visible at a gallop as nothing more than a grey blur. At $450 she was no small investment but returned it many times over, despite a tendency to be skittish when faced with snakes or gunfire.
By this point I’d put probably 40 hours into the game. I was perfectly happy with Horsecrux, but curious about an online tip that spoke of a legendary beast. Lots of wild horses roam RDR2, though there’s less money in capturing and selling them than you might expect. From what I’d read, the creature I was after was something special, the lord of all horses: a unique, pure white Arabian that inexplicably made its feral home in the mountains near a frozen lake. The project took me most of an evening, first climbing the mountain while fending off wolves and bears, then finding the creature before frostbite took me, then slowly, patiently earning her trust.
I thought about naming her Hoarse, but given where she’d chosen to live, I went with Horseicle. She is my everything.
If you think I’m being goofy and obsessive about horses, you haven’t played Red Dead Redemption 2.
Horse care is important. These animals are not self-cleaning and if left to their own devices they might not get enough to eat, or eat the wrong things, so regular brushing and feeding a balanced diet are necessary unless you want your steed to get sick. Treat your horse well and over time you’ll increase your bond with it, unlocking new maneuvers. A trusting horse is easier to control and less likely to fear loud noises or predators.
They’ve dramatically improved horse mechanics from earlier games. It’s easier to control a horse using thumbsticks than it is a car, but games have historically not done well with either. The original Red Dead Redemption finally drove me away because I couldn’t stand riding a horse. Thanks to greatly polished controls and greatly improved horse AI, RDR2 has easily the best horsing around of any game I’ve played. Your horse will become an expression of how you play, and you will choose horses, saddles, and tack based on how their strengths and weaknesses match your style.
You’re also in charge of Morgan’s general survival, so he must eat (too much and he’ll get fat), sleep, bathe, and shave. You must wear suitable clothes for the weather and pack enough food for long journeys. You can hunt, naturally, and fish, and collect animal skins to sell. AI-controlled people tend to stick to well-traveled roads, but off the beaten track you’ll find hundreds of little experiences worth the visit.
Our own Jason Dobry bounced hard off the first Red Dead Redemption because he was irritated by the dull, repetitive tasks built into it. He found gathering wild herbs annoying in a game of its nature and felt these activities were, if not absolutely essential, at least encouraged to the point where they inserted voids of boredom between the much more interesting quests and story content.
Fair warning, it’s all back in RDR2, but better integrated. You do still want to gather plants and flowers. Some make good treats for your horse and some can be crafted into tonics that enhance or restore capabilities. RDR2 is pretty similar to its predecessor overall but improved in every possible respect. You can ignore practically any “survival” activity if you feel like it, just by purchasing what you need in towns. Fling yourself in a river instead of bathing and grow a magnificent beard instead of shaving (yes, Morgan’s hair and beard grow throughout the game). But where this stuff was tedious in RDR1, here it feels like part of the tapestry, and I for one didn’t mind it at all.
Home on the Range
When you’re not out on the plains, you’re likely at camp with the Van der Linde Gang, Arthur Morgan’s adoptive family and a most colorful cast of characters.
I guess I never really gave much though to the old west, but if I’d been asked what an “outlaw gang” looked like, I’d have conjured up an image of four or five dudes sitting around a campfire eating beans, maybe playing a harmonica, then rustlin’ cattle (whatever that means) in the morning. But the basic logistics of outlawry demand a more realistically self-sufficient environment, and Rockstar has created an amazing cultural microcosm in RDR2’s camp.
Morgan’s mobile family consists of about two dozen characters who come and go throughout the game, but camp is never less than bustling. This is a lifestyle, and Red Dead Redemption 2 works hard to simulate it. There’s men and women in the gang, of course. There’s children. Everyone is an “outlaw,” though not everyone’s a gunfighter. There’s a cook. There’s an accountant. There’s a morphine-addled reverend. There’s a couple oldsters tottering around missing the past. There’s a hierarchy and social structure with politics and friendships.
The camp eats. The camp shits. The camp has needs you’re expected to help fulfill. Twenty-five people eat a lot. They drink a lot. They go through hillocks of supplies. Someone has to teach the kid to read. Someone has to darn the socks and maintain the wagons. Someone has to do the books and balance the ledger. And someone’s always coming and going, going to town, going moose hunting, going to see about a girl, going to put some huckstery plan in motion, sometimes vanishing for days or weeks only to turn up later and reassume their place as if they never left. This mode of living is certain to attract some oddball characters, but even oddballs need community. A huge amount of Red Dead Redemption 2 exists for no other reason than to make that point.
Arthur Morgan is a member of this family, so he’s expected to pull his weight in keeping the camp healthy, but RDR2 doesn’t penalize you if you don’t, beyond some passive-aggressive comments from fellow gang members. Personally, I found it soothing to contribute, to bring back a deer or a catfish for the stew, or bundle the gals into a wagon and take them to town. It made me feel good to contribute to the camp’s communal money box. But if it’s not your jam, you can ignore almost all the domestic survival stuff without consequence.
Given the gangsta stylings of the Grand Theft Auto series, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume Rockstar ethos leans toward a certain outlook, sort of like the films of Quentin Tarantino – maybe once he was an auteur, but now he’s just a mediocre director and a privileged white man who gets sad thrills from using a word I personally find so offensive I won’t even utter the socially acceptable first-letter variant.
Rockstar isn’t like that, or if it is it conceals it well. Grand Theft Auto, for all its faults, is a bastion of egalitarian thinking, and RDR2 is too. The most obvious challenge you’re going to face when making a character-driven western is the race issue. And while I was willing to “become” Arthur Morgan to some extent, I wasn’t willing to become some bigoted shitbird who thinks others aren’t fully “people” because of race or gender. There are limits to the roles I’m willing to play.
Red Dead Redemption 2 respected those limits, even shared them. Oh, there’s racism, there’s sexism, but it’s deployed with careful intent, and they neither force the issue nor take the wrong side. Morgan has no problem with African or Native Americans, women, Irish, Italians, anybody. He dislikes people in general, but only despises people who have earned it. He’s clever enough to see that animosity isn’t coded to race or gender, and he’s a little perplexed by people who think it is. It’s not an option to tiptoe around race relations and women’s rights, not if you want to make a game set in 1899 that has any claim to authenticity. The question becomes how you do it.
The answer, in this case, is very well. These issues exist but are rarely front and center in the story, because they’re not front and center in Arthur Morgan’s daily life. Dutch’s gang is pretty liberal, a few assholes aside. Dutch himself treats people with respect until they prove themselves undeserving, and most of his gang follow that model. A person’s value lies in their contribution. Morgan, having grown up under Dutch’s guardianship, judges people similarly. And RDR2’s (brilliant) opening hours basically tell you who you’re supposed to like and who you’re supposed to dislike, while humanizing everybody. Even the caricatures are depicted in 4K. Only later do you discover that part of the reasoning is to make it hurt all the more when things begin to fall apart.
Javier Escuella, Mexican expat, similar to Morgan in capability but often more diplomatic, recognizing when it’s better to simply keep his thoughts to himself – something Morgan rarely does, often to his detriment.
Charles Smith, new-ish to the gang, born of a Native mother and a Black father, has endured a fair amount of prejudice with quiet dignity that belies his incredible competence. “Charles is a wonder,” Morgan muses after they get a chance to hang out for a while.
Lenny Summers, a young, soft-spoken black man with a passion for books, is treated kindly by the gang but doubted by everyone until he’s the only person standing alongside Morgan on a big train robbery that kicks off the main plot. After that Morgan goes out of his way to remind everyone that only Lenny was there when the shit hit the fan, and often defers to the intelligence and self-education of this guy 15 years his junior.
The women of the Van der Linde Gang are glorious. Stalwart Miss Grimshaw runs the camp with an iron hand, often drawing the ire of the other ladies, but is fiercely protective and defiantly capable. When Tilly Jackson is kidnapped by a crew she used to run with, it’s Susan Grimshaw who grabs pistols and blasts her to freedom, despite Tilly’s oft-declared fantasy of drowning Miss Grimshaw in the rain barrel. Molly O’Shea of fiery hair and Irish brogue, currently with Dutch and thus on the outs with the other gals, dying inside because she’s not meant for the life. Karen and Mary-Beth, crucial players in the gang’s many confidence schemes, are best in quiet moments just chatting with others. Murderous Sadie Adler, a barely-stoppered bottle of rage who will happily take respect if she cannot earn it, is far and away the deadliest member of the crew.
There’s Dutch himself, honorable but crumbling before your eyes. There’s sweet, doomed Hosea Matthews, wise and sprightly despite his age. There’s brash Sean, obnoxious Micah, stalwart Bill, cunning Trelawny, nervous Kieran, and lazy Uncle. There’s Pearson and Swanson and Strauss. Plus of course John Marston and his future wife Abigail, their son Jack, and the looming ruin that awaits them all ten years hence in events told during the first Red Dead Redemption.
Each of these characters have their stories and their moments in the unutterably massive experience that unfolds here. They are Arthur Morgan’s family. Family protects its own. When the family is hit, the family hits back.
That’s really what Red Dead Redemption 2 is about: as the gang tears itself apart, we observe the destruction in the most intimate and painful way imaginable. It’s a slow burn. Even Rockstar has acknowledged that the vast majority of players won’t come close to finishing Red Dead Redemption 2. Frazzled reviewers have managed to finish in 35 hours, if you take “finished” to mean “reached the credits,” because doing it that way would make you miss… everything. I’m in Chapter Four of who knows how many and already invested 70+ hours with no real sense that we’re approaching a conclusion, but it’s never felt slow, not for a minute.
Besides, I don’t care. I’d be heartbroken if I drifted away. I dread the outcome, but I want to see. I’m at the point in the game now where no one is safe. Where death comes in shocking, gruesome ways to characters I’d assumed were in for the long haul. Some of these deaths have driven me away from the game for a while, but I dare not stay away long, because I owe it to RDR2 to see it through.
There’s a moment in Persona 5, when Morgana tells you that you’re near the end now, and reminds you that your friends have been at your side throughout the struggle. “No matter what happens, spend as much time with them as you can,” he says, but he’s really saying you’ll go your separate ways in the end. You’ll lose them and part of you will die. The instant he uttered that line I never wanted to play Persona 5 again. The scope of what I was about to lose was too much, and it was easier to ghost the whole experience.
A game as massive as RDR2 is bound to ship with issues, though it has fewer glitches than I’d expect. Most of my complaints stem not from bugs, but from careless design decisions that should have been observed and corrected.
The clunky, confusing save system often overwrites your manual saves with an autosave, rather than keeping autosaves separate like every other game in history. Other menu options are fairly self-explanatory and navigable, but it often takes several button presses to reveal key information or exit a sub-sub-sub screen. Its well-meaning radial menus become challenging to manage simply because there are so many controls in RDR2. Thanks to context-sensitive inputs and regular but non-intrusive tutorial popups, things operate as intended about 92% of the time. But it’s a complicated game, so be ready.
And for all the freedom it affords, Red Dead Redemption 2 has a habit of walled-gardening you in pointlessly irritating ways that wind up breaking quests. Once you’ve “accepted” a task, you’re in come hell or high water. If it’s a critical-path activity, you simply can’t do anything that doesn’t pertain to the quest until it’s completed – including save the game – which is understandable, if annoying as hell. But if it’s one of the thousands of optional experiences, chances are deviating from the game’s prescribed path will trigger a sort of null state where the quest starts behaving very strangely… or stops existing altogether.
These sidequests vary in complexity. RDR2 isn’t an icon hunt like most open world games. You never really know what experiences you might encounter on the road. Some are simple (help a hunter who’s stepped in his own bear trap). Some are intricate, multi-stage operations (help a loopy professor prove that alternating current can be used to humanely execute prisoners). Most can be ruined if you’re not careful, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. Many of the larger subquests are chunked out over Morgan’s adventure, and the task log is useless. “This story will continue at a later time,” it says. Sometimes it’s even true.
Elements of RDR2 pulse with the kind of living-world resonance that’s been lacking in such games: get a tip about a vulnerable stagecoach, for example, and you have a finite amount of time to plan the robbery and carry it out before the coach moves on. There are fantastic multi-part side quests (called “Stranger Missions,” on account of you typically meet a stranger and hilarity ensues) but dawdle too long before triggering the next step and they’ll vanish, never to reappear. Other gang members have their own stuff going on, and may ask Morgan to help out, assuming, of course, he returns to camp to check in. It’s sad that Morgan’s own “stuff” is reactionary and far less woven into the game. Follow up on that stagecoach tip and you’ll do it alone; I’d have much preferred the ability to head back to camp and put together a little posse from whoever’s around and/or whoever you happen to want involved. I’d much prefer mechanics like that over some of the stuff Rockstar did put in: pointless camp upgrades, insipid domino and poker games, and the like.
I started out this piece thinking I’d just write impressions, but by the time I managed to get much down on paper I’d already played Red Dead Redemption 2 for more than 50 hours and “impressions” seemed like the wrong term. But I can’t call it a review — not because I haven’t finished the game, I don’t care about that — I can’t call it a review because I don’t know the answer to the key question yet: it has a hold on me now, and on top of that it’s done a great job sidestepping the traditional problems borne by open world games. But I can’t yet say whether that will keep through to the end.
So I’ll close by talking about the redemption of Rockstar Games, which hasn’t been achieved and probably never will be. Shortly before RDR2 shipped, Dan Houser enthused to New York magazine that the developer had been working “100 hour weeks” to get it done. The predictable firestorm followed, and Houser quickly walked back his remark by claiming that he only meant himself and like two other people; a statement believed by exactly nobody. Shortly thereafter Rockstar lifted its ban on employees discussing work conditions on social media, and the result has been… confusing.
Certainly those who work at Rockstar largely seem happy to be there, and proud of the work they’ve done. Some denied that it’s a harsh environment, while others trotted out the familiar line about game developers being “passionate.” Still others admitted that the death marches were very much a reality, and some showed proof. Rockstar was in damage control mode for a while, even after RDR2 shipped to universal acclaim, but now the news cycle has passed and nothing will change.
It’s hard for me to say this, given how much I like it, but if games like Red Dead Redemption 2 can only be made under the conditions described by some of Rockstar’s employees, then perhaps games like Red Dead Redemption 2 should not be made. That would be a loss to the medium, but things that come at such a human cost are troubling, to say the least.
This is the first time a Rockstar game has ever really held my attention or interest beyond the first glow of amazement at size, scope, and attention to detail. And I’ve worked in the games industry long enough to know that Rockstar has always had a reputation as being a tough place to work, not just because of the Houser brothers’ perfectionism but because of the expectation of long hours and the pay tied to bonuses calculated based on a title’s performance. At least with that latter element, there’s some safety net — no one doubted that RDR2 would be a massive hit, so for those who were able to tough it out at the studio long enough to see the game ship, their bonus this year is likely to be astronomical.
Still, that’s small recompense for people who sacrificed their mental and physical health, their relationships, and (potentially) their love of what they do for the past eight years.
“So you’ve pretty much left the whole ‘redemption’ part behind,” said my brother Marcus after I described one of my more nefarious adventures to him.
It’s sort of an interesting question. Redemption is in the title, it’s true. But in the first RDR, it was clear how that word applied to John Marston. It’s less evident in this installment. Certainly Arthur Morgan is a bad guy. Even if you err more on the side of good moment to moment — as I did — you’re ultimately a bad guy. There’s no escaping it. The thing is, Arthur Morgan doesn’t really care.
At one point a lady asks him if he’s considered the afterlife. “What do you think it holds for you?” she asks.
“I expect it’ll be hot and horrible, Miss, or I’ve been sold a very poor bill of materials,” he replies, not missing a beat.
Perhaps a better title would’ve been Red Dead Salvation, though that would have messed up the alliteration thing they’ve got going. The path your character is on in this game is somewhat fixed, and the karmic points he earns or sacrifices won’t really impact his fate one way or another. At the end of the day, Arthur Morgan and the gang are looking for a home that no longer exists, and a peace they’ll never find. The payoff for us is in the journey.
Call Steerpike a lily-livered, cow-pokin’ greenhorn here.