The Wildlife of Red Dead Redemption 2 is Stunning

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We are so close to finally falling back into Rockstar’s Western Frontier and the latest images released are nothing short of breathtaking. Rockstar Games posted an article on their website highlighting the wildlife that will be present in their highly anticipated game, Red Dead Redemption 2. Each image is accompanied by brief explanations of what we can expect from the gameplay on October 26th, painting an image of a vibrant open world that is truly alive.

Let’s break down some of the key takeaways from the article:

  • There are roughly 200 species of animals, birds, and fish

  • Each animal will respond to their environments in unique ways

  • Deer and bison travel in herds; wolves attack in packs; possums play dead etc.

  • Animals compete for “their place on the food chain”

  • Hunting and fishing provide food, materials, and can be sold for profit

  • Seems there will be a survival aspect to this game as it mentions horses must be fed to keep up health and stamina

  • Choosing the correct bait and lure is important for successful fishing trips

  • You will have to actually track animals

  • Weapon choice while hunting can affect payout (i.e. a clean shot with a bow will lead to the highest payout)

  • You can skin the animal on the spot, or take the whole carcass with you by placing it on your horse

  • There are 19 breeds of horses all of which can be broken-in or bought

  • Each horse has their own characteristics and you must keep the horse groomed and well fed

A few months ago we did a popular little segment known as The Glitch Report on an episode of The Ombra Gaming Podcast ™. At the time, I joked that Rockstar was going to unveil Red Dead Redemption 2 as nothing more than a hunting simulator. After seeing these images and reading how in depth the wildlife is in this game, I don’t think I’d have any issue if this actually was just a hunting simulator. Playing as John Marsten in Red Dead Redemption, I spent a large portion of my time traversing the wild west, hunting any and all animals I came across. As much fun as I had, the hunting and wildlife systems present in that installment are nothing in comparison to what is described in the article from Rockstar. The thought of many sleepless nights spent hunting out west doesn’t exactly bum me out. In fact, I’m already trying to craft my hunting strategies while knowing the bare minimum about how the game actually plays!

Just a man and his horse.

Just a man and his horse.

One item that jumps out to me is the focus on a survival aspect. The added wrinkle of keeping your horse fed and groomed will be a necessity for all players. Travel becomes a tedious affair without a trusty steed, and, as the article alludes to, the bond formed between Arthur and his horse is vital to success. Not only is it important to keep your horse happy but because of the camp mechanic it’s necessary to keep those traveling with you content as well. That means hunting is more than just collecting skins and meat for crafting and profit. Arthur will hunt to ensure the rest of the gang doesn’t starve. A hungry camp doesn’t seem like the most useful or pleasant bunch.

With each new detail that emerges, Red Dead Redemption 2 looks more and more like the potential Game of the Year. For a while now, we’ve known the main story emphasizes the demise of the Van Der Linde gang. After the past week we have been given an in depth look at the world around Arthur and company. Rockstar has a solid track record of delivering rich, open world experiences and with everything we now know it appears they’ve outdone themselves yet again. Is it October 26th yet?