Many of us play Rockstar’s epic sandbox-style games not for the characters, quests, or well told stories, but for the sheer freedom each game allows. Want to skydive into a military base, snatch a tank and destroy every car in Hollywood? You can. And oftentimes raking up wanted stars and outrunning the authorities is more thrilling than any mission the game could provide.
In essence, Rockstar games allow you to become the raging bull in the china shop.
While the amount of destruction was more limited than it’s cousin Grand Theft Auto (no grenade launchers in the Wild West? WTF), Red Dead Redemption included its own version of Rockstar’s crime system. Players could still go on a shooting spree, in which case either local guards, bounty hunters or special forces would hunt the player down. Fraud, arson, theft—even horse theft was considered a crime! The West may have been Wild, but you couldn’t get away with everything.
So how will Rockstar’s big Western sequel handle crime? Let’s take a look at what kind of trouble we hope we can get ourselves into.
1. More Crimes, More Problems
The usual assortment of crimes will likely return to Red Dead Redemption 2: cracking safes, kidnappings and holdups, stealing, destruction of property, cheating at poker, etc. But what other crimes might you be able to commit? Given the popularity of Grand Theft Auto V’s heists and online gang systems, RDR2 will likely explore what it was like to run a crime ring in the Wild West. This could include gun running, drugs, prostitution, counterfeit currency and more.
2. Witness This!
Red Dead Redemption’s witness system was pretty cool: if you committed a crime and someone saw you, they’d run to the nearest officer and report you. However, you could bribe them to shush them up, or, if you didn’t care for such trivialities, hogtie them and silence them however you saw fit.
Here’s hoping Red Dead Redemption 2 features an advanced version of this system. Maybe one of the protagonists is more charming than the others and can talk his way out of crimes. Maybe witnesses will hide and try to get revenge on you later down the line, or assign you a quest that helps them out in exchange for their silence.
3. Crime And/Or Punishment
While you can have every lawman in the country chasing you down, once you’re caught you’re good as… respawned? Yes, unfortunately the consequences were never as severe as I would’ve liked them to be—this is a videogame after all. But with Red Dead Redemption 2, I think Rockstar should up the ante.
If you’re a gonna be a bad hombre then you shouldn’t have access to most towns and villages. You have to live life on the run. And should you be caught, well perhaps you’re given a probation period of some kind, or (if there are multiple protagonists) you have to switch to another character and bust the previous one out of jail.
4. “You Gotta Run”
We only hear one line of dialogue in Red Dead Redemption 2’s trailer: “Listen to me, when the time comes, you gotta run and don’t look back. This is over.” One could assume our characters are going to be on the run for a big chunk of the game, or at least to get the ball rolling. Maybe you and your gang are always on the lookout for bounty hunters and lawmen, and the game won’t let you relax until you clear your name.
5. Border Patrol
Just like the real world (well, most of the time), crossing the border in Red Dead Redemption to either New Austin or Nuevo Paraiso meant your bounty didn’t follow you. Crimes committed in another country kept a separate tally.
Given the rumored size of Red Dead Redemption 2’s map, there’ll be plenty of regions to explore and borders to cross. It’d be interesting if Rockstar wove more Native American influence into RDR2 and applied a different bounty/crime system based on which territories you were in—and who you’ve sworn allegiance to.
So, what crimes did you commit in Red Dead Redemption, and what do you want to be able to do in RDR2?