The Open World Philosophy of Red Dead Redemption 2 - New Info

Simo

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,009
#1
The below info comes courtesy of German gaming outlet GameStar and GTAForums member, TheExecutor10, who translated it from German to English.

Below is some of the info that was featured in a extensive interview with Rob Nelson at Rockstar North back in March when they saw a 45 minute demonstration. The link below has more details but here's a rundown of some of the info. Again cheers to TheExecutor10 for translating and sharing, there's a lot more in the link!
https://gtaforums.com/topic/913869-new-information-from-gamestar-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.



- If you set up your own personal camp in a dangerous area (for example near groups of people that don't like guests in their area), you will experience very different situations than before, because you are just in the wrong place, even if you thought you have been everywhere and seen everything



- Next to smaller buildings like a barn (that is in the building process on 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 epxanding on this idea.



- The transition from free-roam open world gameplay to mission and cutscenes will be even more fluent and seamless than in GTAV. All types of missions, cutscenes and the general open world should feel like organic parts of the same thing, there is no clear distinction between them like in other games.



- NPCs are unpredictable and believable in their actions and reactions, they have different temperaments. There will be shy people, who will give you their money without you even drawing a gun but also more aggressive people that will immediately attack you if you just antagonize them also without you drawing a gun. Some confident NPCs may ride just past you and ignore you, if you try to rob them. Some may shoot you, while others will first threaten to harm you. R* wants you to feel like you never know how this certain NPC will interact with you and with that R* wants to encourage you to test out different playstyles. You can be an honorable thief or a violent psycopath and the world will react accordingly, but you just never really know how they will react.



- 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.



- There will be no "checklists-type of missions" like in Ubisoft games or Mass Efffect Andromeda. R* doesn't think in categories like 'content' and 'prefabricated content', they want to blur the lines between everything the player does in order to increase immersion. R* doesn't necessarily want you to know when you are doing a main or a side mission or when you are interacting with a main character or just an NPC, but they will inform you in a very subtle way about it.



- There will be many optional things to do, but R* wants them to be just as high-quality, engaging and fun as the main missions and you should feel like you never know what to expect. This will cater to all kinds of players: Those who want to rush the main story and those who want to do everything and still have a great experience.



- "Random sh*t that doesn't fit the context will not happen [in RDR2]": Random encounters aren't really random, there is a certain system in place that ensures those encounters make sense in terms of how far the players have progressed in the story, what they are currently doing and where they are heading to. The changing surroundings and random encounters provide content for the players that makes them loose themselves in the world in a very organic way and naturally provide gameplay for them (in contrast to the very forced 'checklists-sidequests' in other games).



- The areas in the game not only feel different because of the looks but also because of the different gameplay-mechanics only possible in that area (like different animations for traversing different terrain and flora or different objects to interact with). Since animations influence how connected you feel with the world, R* focuses on making them as believable and fluent as possible in every situation. For example there is an animation for Arthur stowing his weapons, which he had previously strapped on his back, in the halter of the saddle. And there are different skinning animations for different animals.



- Things you should do in the missions can be done in the open world: For example in Trailer #2 we see Arthur pushing a bank manager through the door. You can do exactly that with every other NPC in free-roam.



- The world is as realistic as possible, as long as it is still fun



- Even outside of missions and cutscenes you can listen in on conversations in your gangs camp - or approach them more closely so that the other outlaws can include Arthur in their chat. The camp, the atmosphere and the conversations should change noticeably in the course of the story



- Instead of slaughtering degraded animals to polygon objects without hesitation in order to be able to craft a larger wallet, the creatures in Rockstar's western game are living beings with - simulated - feelings. This should always be aware of the players when they press the trigger or let the arrow zoom. To kill animals quickly without much suffering you need to take your time to learn the right techniques.



- 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



- You can modify your weapons to enhance their stats
 
Oct 25, 2017
23,496
#4
Again, so far, it sounds cool, but like nothing new or anything we haven't seen before. Which means it comes down to other factors, like mechanical prowess, storytelling, and mission design, which so far I have found Rockstar to be lacking in.

We'll see.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,062
Atlanta
#6
it sounds cool but not really like anything i havent seen in other games. its probably something i need to actually see to understand. would be nice if they would show us
 
Oct 27, 2017
985
#8
Sounds like it amounts to a lot of changes in presentation. Hopefully the yellow dots for missions are gone, and the transitions are more natural than that.
 
Dec 19, 2017
3,155
#10
Find it interesting that not a single preview has mentioned Euphoria. I hope that with all the focus on AI R* has still made improvements to the physics.
 

Plum

Member
May 31, 2018
3,700
#11
It's kind of hard to visualise some of these features when I haven't seen anything of the game itself. Don't get me wrong, I like what I'm reading about how Rockstar are going about things but I'd much rather see these systems in action instead of simply being told about them.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,608
#14
Seems like R* are still unparalleled in being the GOAT of creating open-worlds it seems. Nothing even comes close.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,267
#15
There was a lot of talk of NPC “schedules” in MGS5 that ended up being absolutely fucking nothing.

Every time that’s mentioned it never really amounts to much. So here’s hoping Rockstar does something truly nuanced and immersive with it this time.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,062
Atlanta
#19
im with phantom thief i really dont get whats so crazy about all this, sounds like every open world game in the past few years. would have blown my mind at the beginning of the gen

maybe they should show us, would be easier to communicate whats so special about it than talking
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,652
#20
That wanted system detail sounds great! My biggest pet peeve with GTA V was how cops were initiated with. Games like Watch Dogs 2 and Mafia III are good examples in ways to improve things.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,900
Australia
#23
- Instead of slaughtering degraded animals to polygon objects without hesitation in order to be able to craft a larger wallet, the creatures in Rockstar's western game are living beings with - simulated - feelings. This should always be aware of the players when they press the trigger or let the arrow zoom. To kill animals quickly without much suffering you need to take your time to learn the right techniques.
This sounds more disturbing than anything.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,403
#24
How? I am actually asking. What about this is ambitious? None of this sounds like anything other open world games don't already do. Maybe I am missing something, but what?
The amount of seamlessness and NPC interactions detailed in this article and the March previews are definitely not standard across open world games. In fact, the genre still has big issues with cohesiveness, interaction, and consistent detail/production value quality in pretty much every game, to the point that you can absolutely see the seams, different tiers of activity, or even where the developer straight up ran out of time and money.

Now of course we need to play this game to know if Rockstar truly delivers anything noteworthy, but if you are familiar with the genre and reading between the lines, there is ambition here.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,062
Atlanta
#25
The amount of seamlessness and NPC interactions detailed in this article and the March previews are definitely not standard across open world games. In fact, the genre still has big issues with cohesiveness, interaction, and consistent detail/production value quality in pretty much every game, to the point that you can absolutely see the seams, different tiers of activity, or even where the developer straight up ran out of time and money.

Now of course we need to play this game to know if Rockstar truly delivers anything noteworthy, but if are familiar with the genre and reading between the lines, there is ambition here.
maybe they should show that then
 
Oct 25, 2017
23,496
#26
The amount of seamlessness and NPC interactions detailed in this article and the March previews are definitely not standard across open world games. In fact, the genre still has big issues with cohesiveness, interaction, and consistent detail/production value quality in pretty much every game, to the point that you can absolutely see the seams, different tiers of activity, or even where the developer straight up ran out of time and money.

Now of course we need to play this game to know if Rockstar truly delivers anything noteworthy, but if are familiar with the genre and reading between the lines, there is ambition here.
I mean, The Witcher 3 did this back in 2015...
 
Oct 25, 2017
392
Virginia
#27
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
I really like this. I've recently been giving a lot of thought to how NPCs in games tend to have hostile responses at any slight provocation. For example, if the player wanders into an area they are not supposed to be in, the first response from enemies is lethal, rather than trying to detain or escort out. Obviously given the context, lethal force is warranted on first sighting, but something like this is something that I would like to see more often in games - more non-violent interaction between enemies and the player.

A lot of this sounds very admirable, and Rockstar has an eye for detail that few can match. What worries me, however, is how the game actually feels to play. Rockstar tends to prioritize nice animations over smooth player control - and this has been a trend of theirs since... forever, really. Max Payne 3 is the closest they've gotten to satisfying locomotion/kinesthetics, but even then it still was lacking when compared to other third person shooters from a control perspective.

The controls are what turn me off from Rockstar's stuff, 100% of the time. It's very difficult for me to engage their works further when the mere act of controlling my character is needlessly arduous. I hope - again - that they can address this issue.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,867
#28
- 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 epxanding on this idea.
Who else had Lure of the Temptress flashbacks when they read this?



 
Oct 25, 2017
1,403
#30
I mean, The Witcher 3 did this back in 2015...
I don't agree. The Witcher 3 succeeds in providing massive amounts of context for a lot of missions, but there are clear demarcation lines when you are in one kind of activity vs. another, one zone vs. another, one tier of mission vs. another. On top of that The Witcher 3 is still a relatively static world with little in the way of dynamic activity.

I'm the last person to cape for Rockstar, but if you see what they started with the presentation in GTAV combined with the way they talk about what they could've done better, and what they're trying to do with RDR2, i think it shows a drive for a kind of fluidity and immersion the genre lacks.
 
Oct 25, 2017
13,539
#31
Again, so far, it sounds cool, but like nothing new or anything we haven't seen before. Which means it comes down to other factors, like mechanical prowess, storytelling, and mission design, which so far I have found Rockstar to be lacking in.

We'll see.
it sounds cool but not really like anything i havent seen in other games. its probably something i need to actually see to understand. would be nice if they would show us
In like roguelikes and indie games. We haven’t seen stuff like this, to this level of granularity, in a big budget AAA game. No other AAA open world game is doing those things to the level that this article and the previews are talking about. Even in Watch Dogs 2, which I felt had NPCs that felt quite dynamic, they didn’t have the kind of personalities that R is attempting here

At most, you only find this level of interactivity and reactivity in the contained sandboxes of immersive sims. What massive open world games is doing what the quotes here are talking about?
 
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MisterBear

Attempted to circumvent ban with alt account
Member
Nov 1, 2017
656
#32
I'd love if they never show any gameplay footage and when you get the game, it's just a reskin of GUN for Xbox 360. Just trolling us this entire time...

It all sounds way too good to be true. I'm dying for footage.
 
Dec 19, 2017
1,053
#33
I mean, The Witcher 3 did this back in 2015...
That's basically what it reads like, that they're applying a lot of lessons from Witcher 3. There are side-quests in that game that you don't even realize aren't necessary for the main plot, things flow organically. (contracts and stuff aside, those are obviously player choice in any game)
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,907
#34
This sounds more disturbing than anything.
But shouldn't it be? It reminds me of what Naughty Dog are doing with TLoUPII. Killing isn't meant to look cool, it's meant to make you disturbed and uncomfortable. Because that's what killing is. Those two games will probably be criticized the most for their violence, yet they're also going to be the two games handling violence in the most respectful way by not glorifying it as something awesome or cool.
 
Oct 25, 2017
13,539
#35
That's basically what it reads like, that they're applying a lot of lessons from Witcher 3. There are side-quests in that game that you don't even realize aren't necessary for the main plot, things flow organically. (contracts and stuff aside, those are obviously player choice in any game)
They were still marked as side quests though. You clearly knew was a side quest versus a main quest. Here, it sounds like there’s little delineation between the two
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,900
Australia
#41
But shouldn't it be? It reminds me of what Naughty Dog are doing with TLoUPII. Killing isn't meant to look cool, it's meant to make you disturbed and uncomfortable. Because that's what killing is. Those two games will probably be criticized the most for their violence, yet they're also going to be the two games handling violence in the most respectful way by not glorifying it as something awesome or cool.
That's fair enough, but I was already worried about killing animals in RDR - it ended up not being as bad as I was expecting though, it was video gamey enough :)
I just hope this is more marketing talk than me worrying about hitting an animal in the wrong spot and watching it drag itself around suffering.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,041
#43
That's fair enough, but I was already worried about killing animals in RDR - it ended up not being as bad as I was expecting though, it was video gamey enough :)
I just hope this is more marketing talk than me worrying about hitting an animal in the wrong spot and watching it drag itself around suffering.
From earlier previews it definitely seems like that could be the case.
 
Jul 4, 2018
541
#44
There's two things I really hope for with this game.

1. It has a super expanded version of the heists from GTA V, with a lot more of them (maybe even make them endless so you can do them repeatedly, just like the gang hideouts from Redemption 1)
2. Red Harlow from Red Dead Revolver is in this, maybe as a bounty hunter that at some point hunts after you/your gang. I want Revolver to be acknowledged beyond a multiplayer skins DLC.
 

Cybersai

Banned
Member
Jan 8, 2018
11,631
#45
All of this sounds amazing. Red Dead 2 definitely has the possibility of being the best open world game ever. Rockstar has never disappointed yet. I can't wait to return to the Wild Wild West.
 
Oct 25, 2017
864
#49
That's fair enough, but I was already worried about killing animals in RDR - it ended up not being as bad as I was expecting though, it was video gamey enough :)
I just hope this is more marketing talk than me worrying about hitting an animal in the wrong spot and watching it drag itself around suffering.
This exact scenario was in the demo that the press saw in May. Someone described the animal's writhing and screaming as being disturbing, IIRC.