Rockstar may take so long to make a new game these days that entire franchises start and finish in between, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t aware of the shifting landscape of expectation when it comes to open-world games.
Some fascinating insight into the depth and immersion of Red Dead Redemption 2’s open-world have emerged from an interview with Rob Nelson at Rockstar North.
German gaming outlet GameStar and GTAForums member, TheExecutor10, (who did a cracking job of translating it from German to English) have the story, and it goes into the nitty-gritty of trying to revitalize the open-world formula.
There’s plenty to digest, but here are some key highlights from the interview.
- Since having an Open World is nothing special today and size doesn’t make a game great (No Man’s Sky), Rockstar Games set out to make their Open World different from any other. With Red Dead Redemption 2 they want to create the deepest, most detailed, believable and interactive Open World they have ever built. Everybody and everything needs to be believable, from the Barkeeper of the local saloon to the pebble that descends a slope or tiny frogs hopping around. Small details, big difference.
- Rockstar’s philosophy is that players in their open worlds are increasingly likely to lose themselves, distracted from their real tasks, but not torn from the gaming experience. Barrier-free games, you could say.
- Smaller buildings like a barn (that is in the building process at first sight, but will be finished when you come back later), villages and even towns will change over time.
- If you complete a mission (for example with your gang members), you will see them returning to their daily schedule instead of just disappearing or walking nowhere with no specific destination. Every major character exists in the world, not just in missions. This is inspired by Michaels house and the life of his family, you could see your family in-game, not just in missions. In Red Dead Redemption 2 they are expanding on this idea.
- R* doesn’t want to call the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 a sandbox. Because in a sandbox, you can do whatever you want. Sure, R* wants to give you a lot of freedom, in their Open World you can do whatever you want, but only as long as it makes sense for Arthur, his story and the world itself. Nothing should break the immersion.
- If you commit a crime and the lawmen have a hunch that you are the offender, they will first talk to you instead of shooting you instantly, and you can talk yourself out of the situation.
There’s plenty more to read if you head on over to GTA Forums and read the full post.
If Rockstar does manage to pull this level of detail off (and it probably has a better chance than most) then Red Dead Redemption 2 could very well live up to the enormous hype it’s generated.