I recently had a moment in Red Dead Redemption 2 that was like something out of a horror movie. Fresh off a knock-down, drag out brawl in a local saloon, I was trudging back to camp when someone insulted me. So I started following them.
Not realizing that I could get my guns off my horse at the time, all I had on me was my knife, which I had jokingly named "Knifey." I had been sheathing and unsheathing it while walking through town, drawing uneasy murmurs from the local townsfolk. Now I was walking just a step or two behind my my former antagonist, sheathing and unsheathing as I went ("Knifey goes in, Knifey comes out... Knifey goes in...").
I wasn't expecting much to happen, but my unwitting prey seemed genuinely nervous, so I kept it up. Finally he broke into a run and I followed, my knife glinting in the evening light as he stumbled into the forest. Knifey was thirsty.
I began to understand how Michael Myers or Jason Vorhees must have felt as I finally drew close enough to knock him to the ground. My intention was to have a bit of fun with him and let him go, but in wrestling with RDR 2's clunky controls, I started strangling them. Not wanting to choke him out, I cast about for a way to release him, and wound up stabbing him to death.
The moment kind of encapsulates the Red Dead Redemption 2 experience for me. On the one hand, it was genuinely cool to stalk someone like a villain from Halloween and have them react the way they did. I was expecting this poor traveler to ignore me as I followed them, as NPCs tend to do in other games, so when he took off running in panic, it was a delightful moment of surprise. But then I wound up unintentionally stabbing him, which was a reminder of how awkward RDR 2 can be at times.
Such moments, good and bad, are embedded in the DNA of Rockstar's games. On a recent episode of Red Dead Radio Online, I joined Jared Petty to share some of our favorite stories, as well as as to read some of the best anecdotes from listeners. Here's one of my favorites:
On my way to dealing with the first Bounty in the game for the medicine killer, I ran across some random guys yard on foot towards the gorge. His dog started following me and was snarling and barking like crazy, and his owner was following the dog also yelling and barking at me for stepping on his property.
I defuses [sic] the situation with the stranger easy enough but his dog KEPT FOLLOWING ME. And because the dog followed, the stranger followed as well. For a good 3 minutes I walked while screaming scat and scram at the dog and it just followed and growled the whole way. And the stranger followed suit.
I came to the gorge and the dog was still following so I attempted to serpentine through some rocks down the hill. The dog tried to follow, then I heard a yip, followed by a sad THUD. The dog lost its footing near the edge of the gorge and fell to its death.
The stranger cried out, then IMMEDIATELY BLAMED ME, and tried to chase down after me. Fed up, I let him come to me, put my fists up and laid him out on the side of the gorge. Couldnt believe how random and ridiculous of a moment it was on my way to such an early mission. But I'll always remember it.
Stories like this stand out to me because there are so many different systems at play at any given moment. In another game, the dog might have fallen off the cliff and the NPC would have wandered away. Instead they reacted to the death of their beloved pet, and then went one step forward and blamed Arthur Morgan. Rockstar's dedication to maintaining a suspension of disbelief is really remarkable.
There are more stories like this one in the video above, so go ahead and have a watch. In the meantime, check out our ongoing Red Dead Redemption 2 coverage, including all of the RDR 2 tips and strategies you need. And of course, share your own stories of life on the frontier. It seems like everyone has a good one so far.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is now available on PS4 and Xbox One. You can read our full Red Dead Redemption 2 review here.