Red Dead Redemption’s Honor system—the socially acceptable measure of Marston’s actions—was a bit lackluster. Whether you decided to play as a squeaky clean saviour or a ruthless ne’er-do-well, the game’s world didn’t alter that much, and the story played out the same either way.
There were some perks, of course. Those who walked on the light side earned twice as much for bounties, would win the adoration of nuns (and a special amulet that made enemies less accurate), and the Duster Coat Outfit. Bad guys received steep discounts in Thieves’ Landing and could beckon a special dark horse. You know, because bad guys love bad horses.
Rockstar will likely improve on this system, if not alter it entirely. Here’s our ideas on how Honor could be better in Red Dead Redemption 2.
In GTA V, the character Franklin was given a significant choice near the end of the game: kill Trevor or Michael. You could (and you probably did) decide to team up with both of them to take out all of your enemies together. But if you wasted one of your friends, well… that was the end for them. And you never speak with the survivor.
RDR2 should embrace multiple outcomes. The world should be lighter or darker at the end, depending on how you played. Lives and entire towns will likely be at risk and your decisions should have a permanent effect on the world.
Increased NPC Reactions
You know those scenes in Westerns when everyone is having a jolly good time in the saloon and suddenly the door swings open, the ragtime piano comes to a crashing halt, and everyone stares in horror at the bad guy?
I want that to happen in RDR2.
Depending on your notoriety in the original RDR, NPCs would react differently. They’d either greet you politely as a keeper of the peace, or cower in fear at your insults. High honor allowed you to get away with one murder scot-free, while low honor kept eyewitnesses from snitching.
But let’s take it further. High or low honor should activate unique quests, depending on your playstyle. You could become sheriff of a small settlement and turn it into a bustling trade outpost, or kill the sheriff and turn it into a ghost town, only fit for thieves. The world would react accordingly.
And the next time you entered a saloon, the party would stop.
A horse or a duster coat? Seriously RDR? If I’m going to be a bad guy, I want nothing short of my own fortress. We’re notorious criminals for crying out loud! And yeah, I want the cool horse skins and outfits, too. Perhaps Red Dead Redemption 2’s version of Thieves’ Landing will only be accessible to bad guys, while heros gain access to safe homes and army equipment.
Being a dishonorable bandit should also come with a high price. If you’re robbing banks and wasting townfolk across the dusty plains, you bet the bounty on your head will be high. Like RDR, people could challenge you to duels, and Johnny Law will never be too far behind.
Similarly, honorable players will be rewarded, but the stakes will be equally high for them too. Clearing out bandit camps won’t come down to a quick use of Dead Eye, it’ll be a life or death scenario.
Choose (and Train) Your Comrades
Your honor should not only unlock special perks, quests, and scenarios, but it should also determine the types of characters you meet on your journey. Assuming there is a gang building mechanic to RDR2, you might be able to train, equip, and enlist certain characters to your cause.
Depending on your honor, Red Dead Redemption 2 could go full Mass Effect 2, letting you either develop a skilled and pious gang of do-gooders or heartless cutthroats that could fall permanently in battle. And whether you were good or bad, your comrades will either come to your rescue or leave you in the dust.