Everything we learned about Red Dead from its developer's interview
Having waited for it for nearly two years, Red Dead Redemption 2 is only a couple of weeks away now.
The stories of its creation and the massive workload which creating the Old West landscape and previously unimagined levels of immersive reality has placed on developers Rockstar has only fired up speculation more.
We know a lot more about it now thanks to Vulture's profile on the game and Rockstar, which is full of juicy tidbits about what to expect when the game drops on 26 October.
It will take over your life
It sounds like RDR2 will take at least a whopping 65 hours to finish, according to Dan Houser, Rockstar's co-founder and vice president of creativity, and that's with five hours of content cut from the game. He says RDR2 is "about a bunch of outlaws who have been living in the Wild West as it’s getting tamed and the pressures that brings to bear upon one particular man. Changing times, changing friendships, changing places, changes emotionally and geographically. It’s more like Thackeray than Hemingway, at least in terms of scale."
The story doesn't sound particularly cheery
The story opens in a bleak barn during a raging snowstorm, where somebody dies. Fun, fun, fun. That's where we meet protagonist Arthur Morgan, a cowboy with a sensitive soul. John Marston from Red Dead Redemption returns, though in a younger incarnation - one mission sees you hike up into the mountains to help a stricken Marston get back home.
A frankly insane amount of graft went into it
The final script for RDR2 ran to 2,000 pages, and Houser reckons that if all the side missions and dialogue were printed off and put in a pile it "would be eight feet high". By way of comparison with Grand Theft Auto 5, for which all of the motion capture work was sorted in five days, RDR2 needed 2,200 days of motion capture from 1,200 actors, 700 of whom have dialogue. In total, there are 500,000 lines of dialogue in the game and 300,000 animations.
Even the trailers and adverts were a massive faff
Houser reckons Rockstar "probably made 70 versions [of the trailer], but the editors may make several hundred". That's probably too many, in all honesty.
No detail was too small to polish
Along with the much-anticipated real-time beard-growth, there are other mad little details - each of the 200 species represented in the game makes its own sound, and there's an extremely irritating but technically impressive 360-degree effect as flies buzz around your head.
The suffragettes will feature
As the game is set in 1899, a time of shifting political and cultural mores, women pushing for suffrage will play a role in the storyline. "It was a time when women were beginning to question [their roles], and the Wild West was an area where people could invent themselves for the first time; many of the people who were inventing themselves were women," Houser says. "They were no longer constrained by society because there was no society."
Burt Reynolds is the reason Rockstar don't work with big actors anymore
A fight between Houser and Reynolds during the recording of a scene for Grand Theft Auto 2 ended with Reynolds shouting, "Get the limey out of here". Houser explains: "I don’t want to speak ill of the dead, poor bugger, but we don’t bring in name actors anymore because of their egos and, most important of all, because we believe we get a better sense of immersion using talented actors whose voices you don’t recognise."
Public Enemy's Chuck D aside, though - Dan had to get another director to work with him - they "always had a good experience with pop stars".