You’ve probably been hit recently with Youtube ads about it. The rootin’-est tootin’-est huntin’-est shootin’est series about the wild, wild west has returned. Though at this time no Will Smith cameo has been confirmed, Red Dead Redemption’s second trailer dropped a few days ago. A lot happens in its 1:29 runtime and as a causal watcher who is mostly just concerned with the big bullet points – the biggest being, that the game is coming out – it’s easy to overlook a lot of enjoyable details. I took the time to break down a lot of what to take away.
The trailer opens up cinematically with a man and his horse surrounded by all the classic, establishing mis-en-scene one would expect: the camp site, the undisturbed plains, the sun peeking over the mountains. The classic soft western backing music acts as foundation as successfully as it has in the previous Rockstar western titles. From the beginning, it has all the makings of an exciting and immersive trailer and no guns have even been discharged.
The trailer continues, proving itself to be narrative driven by sticking with the single character to be followed. Beginning to shed light on what’s going on in this world, our character is seen aggressively disturbing a man sleeping on his bedroll in a situation that is clearly some form of debt collection. It is clear by this point that this character is going to be some kind of villain or extreme anti-hero as shakedowns are typically not something your average lawful good character is interested in doing unless gold “good job” stars are what’s hiding in the pockets of the assailed.
The trailer progresses following our character’s travels up a visibly high mountain that puts a lot of the world on display, a feeling of scale and height that I am very hopeful will make it into the game as far as its ability to create an attractive rendering distance in the way Grand Theft Auto V has already proven Rockstar is capable of creating. Moving forward there is a very purposeful and interesting shot with a passing wagon that reveals our main character riding through your classic western town that includes various types of wooden buildings typical for the genre. Next comes a shot of the bells of a church, another western staple, and at this point, the trailer’s dialogue has revealed who this character is and their significance.
The trailer follows Arthur Morgan, a member of Dutch’s gang which was an integral plot element and group that John Marston was also a part of in the previous game. By this point, it is clear that the story being told is one happening before Dutch’s death, as Dutch was taken out back old yeller style in the previous title.
It would seem as though Rockstar has taken a very artfully gentle approach to “earning” its “evil” characters. Thinking back from the progression of the silent protagonist in Grand Theft Auto III, then Tommy Vercetti in Vice City, then Carl Johnson, then Nico Bellic – our protagonists that are shown to be anti-heroes are always coupled with genuine traits that make them believable and their choices of criminal acts realistic and comprehensible for the audience following a narrative. This time however it would seem, and I hope, that our lead is truly an awful person, the waters of morality not muddied by good intent. We have played before as a good guy who is the product of a bad environment, it’s time to go deeper and explore how someone who is a crazed chaotic evil sociopath might deal with their world and affect the events of their story, you know, like playing as Brucie in GTA IV.
As the trailer continues, Morgan establishes himself as a deplorable human-being in the best way one might. He is seen threatening the son of a deceased man. It’s one thing to directly threaten someone, but a truly evil character paints a picture with what they imply. As the shot before shows the young man’s mother crying over a tombstone, in the following one you hear “Maybe when your mother’s finished mournin’ your father. I’ll keep her in black – on your behalf.” The cutaway that follows shows how causal Morgan is about threats of murder, his expression, not a cheesy evil scowl or crazed smile, but something much more frightening and subtle. His expression during this threat is a realistic expression on the conviction on the face of someone who you really should not doubt will kill you after having killed your father.
The title slate falls and it’s clear how much this character’s aggression and violence is going to be a plot element. From here, things become more of a montage. In quick succession, we see the robbery of a train and perhaps a bank as well. From the background dialogue, we hear Morgan speaking to a group and come to learn how he leads others in crime as well as engages in it himself.
As the video’s composition begins to hasten and mount into a crescendo we see more scenes of violence and chaos and a big detail of the presence of a bow in the game, showing this world to be more primitive, a quality Dutch hoped to preserve in the advancing world the first redemption game.
then suddenly things shift to show other aspect of the story, showing there is more going on than senseless violence. The trailer ends showing a side of vulnerability and perhaps compassion to Morgan, displaying a potential love interest and finally his own words declaring his loyalty to the morally questionable and precarious Dutch.
There is still a while to go before the game’s release some time in spring of next year, but these details give fans a lot to theorize, investigate, and hype. Judging purely by the studio’s track record and what is being shown in the video, this game will improve on the open-world formula. Redemption 1 separated itself from Grand Theft Auto and had its own identity. This author hopes the aiming system is improved on and the ability to manage your posse is an option. Until then, we will keep you up-to-date
What would you like to see? Drop a comment and let me know!