In the fourteen years since Red Dead Revolver first came out on the PS2 and Xbox back in 2004, Rockstar’s Red Dead franchise has changed in interesting ways. Though the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2 is only the third game in this series, the franchise already has some serious cachet, and even though it doesn’t have the pedigree of something like, say, Rockstar’s own Grand Theft Auto, one definitely gets the feeling that if things continue in the right direction, the day that that’s no longer true probably wouldn’t be too far away. To gear up for the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2, in this feature, we’re going to be looking at fifteen interesting facts about the series, from Red Dead Revolver, to Red Dead Redemption, to the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
RED DEAD REVOLVER WAS ORIGINALLY IN DEVELOPMENT AT CAPCOM
Though Red Dead has become one of Rockstar’s most valuable properties, it was Capcom who first started development on the game. The game was under development at Angel Studios, under the funding and oversight of Capcom, but both companies disagreed on the direction that they wanted Red Dead Revolver to take. As such, the game was cancelled by Capcom in 2003. Recently, however, Angel Studios had been acquired by Rockstar’s parent company, Take-Two Interactive, and rebranded as Rockstar San Diego, and one of Angel Studios’ former projects caught the eye of Rockstar boss Dan Houser. In December of 2003, Rockstar acquired the rights to Red Dead Revolver from Capcom- and the rest is history.
REVOLVER WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO BE VERY ARCADE-Y
Rockstar isn’t a studio that shies away from bombastic, over-the-top, arcade-y fun, as the Grand Theft Auto games perfectly show, and though Red Dead Redemption itself is very different in style, Revolver was definitely leaning more in that arcade-y direction. However, back when it was still under development under Capcom, it was apparently, much more arcade-y. It was so arcade-y, in fact, that it even had a character that could fly. “The Capcom game was uber-arcade,” Hamish Brown of Rockstar told BBC in an interview in April 2004. “It even had a character who could fly. We kept its arcade roots but gave it a more realistic backdrop. It was a case of taking Capcom’s personality and infusing it with some of our own, taking out things like the four-foot moustaches on the Mexican bandits and adding motion capture cut-scenes and voiceovers that capture our dark sense of humour.”
IT WAS DECIDED NEAR THE END OF REVOLVER’S DEVELOPMENT THAT THE SEQUEL WOULD BE OPEN WORLD
Even though Rockstar probably couldn’t have known just what Red Dead would go on to become and how well it would go on to do for them when they first acquired it, they at least knew that it wasn’t just going to be a one game thing. Because even before Revolver was out, they were already in the planning stages of what they wanted the sequel to be like even while the development on the first game was wrapping up. And during this time, they’d already decided that the game that would go on to become Red Dead Redemption would be an open world title.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION- SPIRITUAL SUCCESSOR
Thanks to its switch to an open world setting, its brand new narrative that was unrelated to the first game, and its switch in tone to a more grounded style of storytelling, even though technically Red Dead Redemption was a sequel to Revolver, Rockstar didn’t look at it that way. They looked at Red Dead Redemption as more of a spiritual successor.
THE VOICE OF JOHN MARSTON
John Marston is without a doubt one of the best and most fiercely loved characters we’ve seen in a video game over the lst decade or so, and a lot of that is thanks to his excellent portrayal by Rob Wiethoff. However, while casting, he was not exactly Rockstar’s first choice. Initially, Rockstar offered the role of John Marston to several well known actors, including Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford and Robert Duvall. They all turned the down- Rockstar eventually offered the role to Wiethoff, and really, we’re quite glad that that turned out the way it did.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION- UNUSED WANTED POSTERS
Seeing wanted posters plastered on walls and structures all across the wild, untamed west of Red Dead Redemption is by no means an uncommon occurrence- it is a game about outlaws and bandits, after all. Apparently, there are also plenty of wanted posters for John Marston and the character Abraham Reyes that were never used in the game, which Rockstar probably placed in the game’s map at some point but eventually removed.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION IN SOUTH KOREA
Localization isn’t something we often give a lot of thought to, but every so often, some games – even the huge ones – don’t get localized in some pretty major markets. Case in point- Red Dead Redemption, which never got dubbing and translation work down for South Korean markets. However, it did come with a guide, which contained translations from the game for players to read while playing.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION- THE ELEGANT SUIT
For all the completionists out there, the Elegant Suit in Red Dead Redemption is something you’re probably familiar with, as one of the nine suits that you need to have if you want 100 per cent completion in the game. That, and the fact that John Marston just looks so darn dapper wearing it, make it a pretty cool outfit. Originally, though, Rockstar intended for it to come without a hat. We’re glad they changed their minds, because that hat makes the outfit ten times cooler.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION- THE DUSTER COAT OUTFIT
This is another outfit completionists are probably familiar with. The Duster Coat, which was literally just a coat that Marston wore over his outfit, was acquired by reaching the Peacemaker Honor rank. As it turns out, it was part of the game since pretty much the beginning of its development. In the teaser released for the game in 2005 (which was the year RDR started development), Rockstar actually even included the Duster Coat outfit.
YOUNGEST AND OLDEST ROCKSTAR PLAYABLE CHARACTERS IN RED DEAD REDEMPTION
Here’s something else about Red Dead Redemption that you might find interesting- at the time of its release, it had both, the youngest and the oldest playable character in a game developed by Rockstar. The youngest being Jack Marston, who was nineteen years of age, and the oldest being the thirty eight year old John Marston. Of course, John Marston is no longer the oldest Rockstar protagonist, having been beaten for age by Grand Theft Auto 5’s 45 year old Michael.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION WAS IN DEVELOPMENT FOR FIVE YEARS
Ideas for what a sequel to Red Dead Revolver would be like had already been kicking around at Rockstar San Diego as the first game neared the end of its development. It launched in 2004, and by 2005, Red Dead Redemption had entered production at the studio. The game was in development for five years, with over 800 people working on it, before it finally launched in 2010.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 WAS IN DEVELOPMENT FOR EIGHT YEARS
Rockstar’s known to be a studio that likes taking its time with the games it works on. As we just mentioned, Red Dead Redemption, which was in development for five years, was a prime example of that. But its sequel, the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2, has taken things one step further. It began development in 2010, not long after Red Dead Redemption released, and after nearly eight years in development (and some heart-breaking delays), it’s finally almost here.
A COLLABORATION BETWEEN ALL ROCKSTAR STUDIOS
What’s interesting about the development of Red Dead Redemption 2 is that no one single Rockstar Studio is wholly responsible for it. In the past, even though there obviously has been some collaboration between Rockstar’s studios, their games have usually been developed primarily by a single team. GTA 5, for instance, was developed by Rockstar North, while Red Dead Redemption was developed by Rockstar San Diego. However, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a collaborative effort by all Rockstar studios. That’s nine studios across five countries- England, Scotland, United States, India, and Canada. The developers of the games, as such, are not Rockstar North, or Rockstar San Diego, or Rockstar Leeds, but Rockstar Studios- a first for Rockstar.
MORE THAN 1,200 ACTORS INVOLVED
During the development of Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar employed over 1,200 actors for motion capture and voice recording purposes. Of these 1,200, over 700 recorded lines for the game. Which, as it turns out, was necessary, because each NPC in the game supposedly has their own mood and personality, and a ton of dialog as well. In fact, every NPC in the game supposedly has over 80 pages of dialog.
500,000 LINES OF DIALOG
Here are some more interesting figures for you. There are a total of over 500,000 lines in the game, a total of 300,000 animations, while all the motion capture work was spread over 2,200 days of recording. Meanwhile, the game also has a main story script that’s nearly 2,000 pages long. Red Dead Redemption 2 is probably the most ambitious game Rockstar has ever made, and these are just a few of the figures that show just how ambitious.