Today IGN shared some their thoughts and experiences after playing 45 minutes of Red Dead Redemption 2. There was a lot of interesting tidbits of information to be gleaned from their preview, like how horses will be different, dead eye seemingly being unchanged (sweet!), and how a lot of your daily activities will revolve around being a member of a gang.
However, for me, the juiciest information was in regards to the robbery scene that was observed. Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption are known for their adrenaline pumping action missions that usually come in at the climax of a story thread. Grand Theft Auto V took these missions to the next level, though, allowing you to plan certain missions out in heist form, giving you some choices on how you wanted to approach certain high stakes situations. This feature made its way into GTA Online, and it’s arguably the best part of GTA V as a whole.
So, considering that the first Red Dead Redemption iterated on features first seen in Grand Theft Auto IV, I’m hoping the same process carries over between GTA V and Red Dead Redemption 2, specifically with respect to heists. While the IGN preview doesn’t spell that out in as many words, it certainly reads like something that is at least similar.
A situation was described in which Marsdon is approached by a couple of gang members that want to hit a bank in a small nearby town. Karen, one of his fellow crew members, is to serve as a distraction, but how that plays out is apparently a decision left to the player. Should she play the part of a little-lost girl or the drunken harlot?
Quite how much difference this sort of choice makes remains to be seen, but if GTA V is anything to go by, missions could play out quite differently depending on how you chose to approach it. Yet in the instance described, it was very much a spur of the moment sort of choice in which there didn’t appear to be any detailed planning beforehand as there would have been in a GTA V-style heist. The on-the-fly decisions continue later in the mission described, too:
“Inside are five safes, but shouts from Lenny and Karen out front indicate time is running out. Arthur has two options, displayed once again in the bottom right of the screen – he can attempt to crack the safes or blow them open. We opt for the latter and Arthur wedges a stick of dynamite in the handle of each safe door before taking cover behind a nearby desk and waiting for them to blow open.”
As exciting as these quick decisions sound, though, I do wonder whether there was a level of pre-planning that IGN’s editor wasn’t privy to. It seems unlikely that Rockstar would go backward from GTA V given how well received that particular feature was. Surely, the developer wouldn’t want to scale back the decision-making process for its next big game. Of course, there is perhaps the slight restriction placed on the notion of GTA V-style heists in a game set in 1899. Consider that the different phases of each heist were typically kept fresh and interesting with all sorts of technology: helicopters, computer wizardry, guided missiles, etc. Comparatively, robbing a bank in a modern day setting like GTA V is far more involved and complicated than showing up with a gun and a stick of dynamite in the wild west world of Red Dead Redemption 2.
That said, the wild west has its own set of x-factors and potential low-tech curveballs to throw at players. Perhaps we’ll be ungating stampedes of cattle through townships, or allying ourselves with native Americans to help infiltrate government policed areas? If there’s one developer that has a proven track record of making sure their hot-ticket games are bigger and better with each passing iteration, it’s Rockstar. From what we’ve seen and heard thus far, I think it’s fair to presume player choice is going to feature heavily throughout each facet of the game, and hopefully, that extends to full-on heist mission planning. Without raising the bar of expectation too high, until I hear something otherwise that disappoints me, I’m going to choose to trust that Rockstar is taking the best of its most iconic GTA title and applying it here, scaling it up for even bolder and intense robbery missions in Red Dead Redemption 2.