There’s been a ton of information on Red Dead Redemption 2 lately, and out of all of its breathtaking new features and mechanics being unveiled and detailed, the one that has seen the most limelight has perhaps been its NPCs and the dynamic interactions that centre around each and every one of them.
While speaking with the Official Xbox Magazine (November 2018, Issue 169), Rockstar North’s Imran Sarwar, who’s the game’s Director of Design, spoke about how Rockstar is approaching NPCs and interactions with them in Red Dead Redemption 2, and how, ultimately, all of it is unlike anything the studio has done with any game in the past.
“The gang are family and they have relationships with both Arthur and each other,” said Sarwar. “So when you’re not out in the world doing your own thing, you are relaxing with them in camp, or heading out for supplies with them, staging a heist or some other activity. The gang know when Arthur is in camp and when he’s caused trouble out in the world. We had to upgrade all of our gameplay and AI systems so that the gang members were smarter and equipped with better memories, so that they would respond naturally to Arthur and invite him into conversations.”
“Once we were committed to that, we realised we had to push those ideas out to the way that Arthur interacts with everyone, which led to the creation of the interaction system that exists for the entire world,” he continued. “Whether it’s a shopkeeper, a lawman or a passing rider – you can interact with them in a variety of ways without ever drawing a gun, and those options will be contextual based on what kind of person they might be and the situation you’re in. It’s a huge leap forward and immerses you in the world in a way that we have never been able to do before RDR2.”
Meanwhile, thanks to a video done by the Red Dead Network (which you can view below), we also have a few more tinier details on the functioning of NPCs in the game. Most notable of these is the fact that you can see all characters (and other things) in the world going about their business and moving around even at a great, great distance, while Arthur has the option to engage groups in conversation as well as individuals. He can, incidentally, also talk to NPCs while he’s doing other activities, which sounds like a normal thing to human beings, but is a blessing for anyone who’s played a lot of video games.
Red Dead Redemption 2 launches on October 26 for the PS4 and Xbox One.