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Red Dead Redemption 2, Tone, And Humor

It’s not GTA, but hey, Herbert Moon

Rockstar Games has a penchant for being the funny guy amongst the major game developers and publishers in the industry. Humor in video games is pretty hard to do well and has usually been reserved for point’n’click adventure games and, on occasion, RPGs. Sure, many other titles have a lick of humor here and there, but it’s either just one or two quips or simply straight up horrid.

And then there’s Rockstar Games. In spite of also being the masterminds behind the Max Payne series, which might as well have gotten the subtitle “we can be serious too, promise”, and having released not particularly lighthearted titles like L. A. Noire and Red Dead Redemption, they’re still regarded as one of the main bastions of humor in AAA gaming. Sure, Ubisoft did make that one good South Park game once that got censored into oblivion on half the planet, but that isn’t exactly what we’d call tendency.

Where GTA is in its entirety derived from satirical humor, and Max Payne is a serious trip down alcoholism lane, Red Dead Redemption, and presumably the sequel, walk the middle path.

Red Dead Redemption, in essence, is not a funny game, or a happy one either. There will be spoilers ahead, be warned…

This is a game where the protagonist is betrayed and is blackmailed into killing his former partners while his family is held hostage.

This is a game that depicts the death of the Old West, where idealistic concepts of justice and freedom allowed pioneers to live simple lives far from the meddling of the government, which during the game has begun to encroach. This is a game where the protagonist spends the entire runtime trying to distance himself from the life of an outlaw in order to prevent his son from walking the same path, only to get shot into a sieve resulting in his son walking the same path.

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Cheery.

Sure, one can argue that the storylines of GTA games’ aren’t happy either, since they usually feature wholly dysfunctional people plagued with various issues causing them to despise their life and fellow humans, but the games are overflowing with humor, primarily satirical, which make their worlds feel a lot less depressive. Granted, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in Los Santos, but the game is given a whole lot of levity through humor.

Red Dead Redemption, on the other hand, was pretty straight and serious the whole way through. It did have touches of humor here and there, such as Herbert Moon being primarily comic relief, but satire and jokes weren’t as common as in GTA, where every billboard, every radio commercial, every line of dialogue is supposed to be a quip of some sort. That said, Red Dead Redemption wasn’t the depressive kind of serious like Max Payne was, a franchise which practically thrived on making the life of its protagonist as miserable as possible. I mean, he’s literally called pain.

We’re expecting a similar kind of serious tone from Red Dead Redemption 2 with rare, intermittent bouts of levity. If the game does turn out to be a prequel as suspected, a somewhat younger Herbert Moon may make a return much to the joy of fans.

In any case, we’re pretty sure the script for Red Dead Redemption 2 will be much poorer on the front of dick jokes than that of Grand Theft Auto 5. We look forward to learning more about the tone of the game as Rockstar reveals more about it in the coming weeks or months.

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