Rockstar details horses, hunting, and wildlife in Red Dead Redemption 2

After two long years of starving us of details, Rockstar Games is finally unleashing everything we need to know about Red Dead Redemption 2 before it launches. We got some great in-depth previews last week from various outlets which talked about the game’s combat, ridiculous attention to detail, and confirmation of a first-person mode similar to Grand Theft Auto V.

This week, Rockstar is telling all about the beauty of the untamed creatures that roam in America’s heartland. There are roughly 200 animals to encounter in Rockstar’s upcoming western sequel and according to the acclaimed developer, they all have unique behaviors depending on their species and environment.

“Deer, bison, and pronghorn traverse the plains in large herds, scavengers quickly sniff out carrion, sockeye salmon leap upstream, wolves attack in packs surrounding their prey, geese fly in fixed formations, possums play dead, rodents scamper into tree hollows, grizzly bears bluff charge when threatened, and birds of prey soar on thermals. They all form part of a complex ecosystem and must continually fight for their place on the food chain. The wilderness is at once a bountiful and perilous place, for both man and beast, and any predator can quickly turn prey,” reads a new page on Rockstar’s website.

There has been a lot of talk surrounding the AI in Red Dead Redemption 2, specifically how humans aren’t roaming aimlessly. They all have tasks they carry out, daily routines, jobs, and more that keep them behaving like real people, it sounds like this carries over to the animals you find in the game.

Rockstar is deviating from their traditional untouchable one-man army formula with their new game by adding some survival elements. While hunting played a large part in gaining wealth in the first game, it’ll do much more than just bring you money. It’ll feed protagonist Arthur Morgan and his fellow gang members, it’ll help you craft things, and more.

Rockstar is cutting any corners with their hunting system in Red Dead Redemption 2, players will have to learn the intricacies of fishing by picking proper baits and lures, account for wind when hunting, and strategically place and time shots to effectively take down targets. Depending on your weapon, you may impact how much value your take is based on how much bullets or explosives ruin the pelt or meat. Players will also have to track animals’ blood if they don’t fatally tag an animal.

“Hunting and fishing are essential skills for survival in the wilderness, providing food, materials and a source of income. A huge variety of fish swim the many rivers, lakes and streams, and selecting the right bait or lure is key to a successful day’s haul. Tracking an animal takes focus and patience; move carefully and watch the wind direction or you will alert your prey. Choice of weapon and shot placement are also very important and will affect the quality of the meat and pelt, which in turn affects the price that traders will pay for them. Make sure to pick the right gauge of rifle for the size of animal that you’re hunting, or master the use of the bow for a quiet and clean kill.

After a successful hunt, you can either skin and butcher the animal on the spot or take it with you whole. Just try not to leave it too long or the scavengers will come looking. Skins, parts, meat and entire carcasses can all be loaded onto your horse to be sold to the butchers in town, taken back to camp for the stew pot, or crafted into clothing or other items. Nature amply provides and there is no reason to ever go cold or hungry.”

Lastly, Rockstar detailed any cowboy’s best friend: horses. Red Dead Redemption 2 will feature 19 different breeds of horses which come with varied stats, you can buy them or try and wrangle one you fancy in the wild if you’re up for it.

Horses are also more than just a ride in this game, they’re your main inventory. You’ll stash larger weapons such as your bow and arrow and rifles on them, have them carry outfits, hats, and masks, and they’ll even be used to transport any game you kill along the way. Your bond will grow with your trusty stallion as you feed it, groom it, upgrade it with various saddles and gear, and much more. If it becomes wounded, you’ll need to try and heal it with any resources you have or run into the nearest town to get some.

“Your horse is your constant companion, and you will rely on them just as heavily as on any of your fellow gang members so it is important to take good care of your animal. By keeping it groomed and well-fed, you will start to see improvements in stamina, performance, and handling and it will become less skittish as the bond grows between you. With 59 different styles of coat, and a huge range of customizable tack, including saddles, horns, stirrups, spurs, you can create a horse that is truly your own, and develop a personal and unique relationship as you explore the world together.”

It sounds like Rockstar has really been utilizing these last 5 years to create something very in-depth and special. Red Dead Redemption 2 releases on October 26th, 2018 for Xbox One and PS4.

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