Rockstar’s games are always some of the most technically impressive products in the market at the time of each one of their releases, a statement that, by the looks of it, will ring truer than ever with Red Dead Redemption 2. Every single second of footage we’ve seen so far from the upcoming game has looked, to put it simply, stunning.
And though the visuals and the level of detail are certainly impressive, the promise of Red Dead Redemption 2’s dynamic NPCs is what excites the most, what with them having the potential of delivering some of the most believable NPCs and NPC interactions in any video game ever.
According to Rockstar, the beginnings of the technology they’ve used for this in Red Dead Redemption 2 can be seen in what they did with Grand Theft Auto 5 as well. Additionally, the fact that they ported GTA 5, a PS3/Xbox 360 game over to current-gen consoles also helped them get familiarized with the hardware of the PS4 and the Xbox One, to be able to optimize Red Dead Redemption 2 much better.
“By starting with a game designed for last gen, and pushing it as far as we could, we got a better idea of what was achievable on this generation of hardware,” graphics technical director Alex Hadjadj said while speaking with VG247. “Once screen resolution, texture size and draw distances were defined in a sustainable way, it highlighted the areas we needed to focus on for the next big step – things like a global lighting solution, atmospheric effects, or post processing and presentation.”
“RDR is slower paced than GTA, but it’s also deeply textured and extremely detailed,” director of engineering Klaas Schilstra added. “That came through in the graphics in general as Alex said, but also in the detail of what the scene contains. For GTA, we needed a crowd to walk the streets. For RDR, we had to have a populated town of recognisable individuals, and each character in that town needs to do be believable, and seen to be doing something meaningful. It’s possible to recognise the beginnings of this in the technology for GTA 5, but at the same time every one of our systems has evolved beyond recognition to make RDR possible.”
“It’s such a complex mixture of animation, AI, and dialogue that we couldn’t unravel it without fear of breaking such a complex game,” said Phil Hooker, director of technology. “The truth is, every part of the team came out of working on GTA 5 next gen with a real understanding of the hardware and incredible passion and motivation to carry out numerous technical revolutions in nearly every area.”
“Because you can do all these things with the people in the world, you expect to have similar interactions with the law,” he continued. “And because you can do that, then you expect some interaction with animals in a similar way, so animal calls or petting a dog makes sense.
“We wanted to have that feeling of interaction and consistency applied to everything. As soon as we went to a certain level on this game in some areas, we realised we had to go that far in a lot more areas in order to make it feel like you were in the world and that the world felt believable to you. Maintaining that level of consistency across so much of the game, through the missions, into the camp, to the people in the camp to everything else out in the wider world, I think, means that you believe this world is really there.”
Red Dead Redemption 2 launches for PS4 and Xbox One on October 26. If you want to learn more about the tech behind Red Dead Redemption 2, perhaps you might be interested in reading part one of our three-part series on the game’s tech through here. You can watch part two here. Recently, the game’s full map and a bunch of gameplay footage were also leaked.