It’s been three years since the initial release of Red Dead Redemption 2, and we’re still thinking about this expansive wild west open-world shooter. Developer Rockstar Games went above and beyond in the detail department, making the setting as period accurate as possible — you can see that everywhere, from the slowness of the weapons, to the writing on the newspapers. There is so much incredible detail, players are likely to miss most of it even after multiple playthroughs.
We’ve been revisiting some of our favorite games from the previous generation, and Red Dead Redemption 2 deserves a second look. While replaying it, I’ve noticed so much more that I missed the first time — and that lead me down a rabbit hole of discoveries. I’ve just got to share some of the wild minutiae the internet has discovered. Some of it took years to find. Strap on your shooting irons, because we’ve got 25 extremely small details you never noticed in Red Dead Redemption 2.
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Changing The Script
Sometimes, scenes will change depending on your actions. When saving Arthur Morgan’s wife’s brother (what a mouthful) from the weirdo cult, if you kill the cult leader, the cultists will all kill themselves by leaping off the side of the cliff. There’s never any reason to kill the cult leader. You’re never prompted to do this. It’s just something weird you can trigger.
Near the end of the Penelope / Beau side-missions in Lamoyne, you can ride with Penelope to the train station. Instead of going straight there, Arthur can take her to the weird shack where the mutant woman is kept on the plantation grounds! Yes, there’s a weird mutant woman in a shack on the plantation. Do it, and Arthur / Penelope share some unique dialogue. [Source]
Many stranger missions can be completed by John Marston instead of Arthur Morgan. The entire cutscene is changed, just like in RDR1 with John / Jack. There’s another small detail that changes when you swap characters — the sound effect that plays when you tag enemies with Dead Eye is exactly the same sound used in RDR1, replacing Arthur Morgan’s unique sound effect. [Source]
Speaking of John Marston, while he’s working at Proghorn Ranch in the Epilogue, he doesn’t just push at doors when they don’t open. He’ll knock instead. What a civil young man. [Source]
We all know John Marston can visit the graves of all the gang members that died throughout the game, always in a location that’s meaningful for the character or their death. But, John Marston can also return to the various camp sites the gang stopped at. Returning to these sites initiates little flashbacks with John as he remembers those times. [Source]
Riding With Dutch
Here’s one we all know. There are two voice tracks for every riding scene. The characters talk in lower voices if you stay near, and shout if you’re further away. If something interrupts the discussion, they always comment then continue where they left off. We all know that, but if you shoot animals on the ride, your companion will usually comment. Score a good shot, and they’ll compliment you. Whiff and they’ll ask what the heck you’re doing.
When racing Dutch before missions, he’ll comment if you try to kick him! He’ll taunt Arthur, asking if he really needs to cheat just to win. Who’d even think to try to kick Dutch? [Source]
In any saloon, you can watch the patrons eating in real-time. The food they eat will gradually diminish. Sometimes they’ll even hunt a single pea that rolls away. [Source]
In the main Saint Denis saloon, there’s an annoying lady in the corner that’s always shouting for drinks. If Arthur Morgan approaches her with a drink in his hand and a fresh haircut, you can actually interact with her! There are multiple interactions as you progress through the story — but she still won’t give you the time of day. She reappears at the Mayor’s Party as a guest, and you can interact with her there too.
You can even return as John Marston later in the story for a small interaction. She’s looking a whole lot older when you return. [Source]
The Many Faces Of Arthur Morgan
If Arthur is being hunted by Bounty Hunters, he’ll speak in a hushed voice when calling his horse. He’ll even tell his horse to be quiet if its making too much noise while you ride. [Source]
We all know Arthur needs to wear different clothes depending on the weather, but it also changes his physical appearance — not just his idle animation. In the northern cold, Arthur’s face turns pale and blue. In the hot south, Arthur’s face turns red and he becomes noticeably sweaty. [Source]
Swivel the camera around and zoom in with photo mode, and you can actually see Arthur Morgan’s eyes change depending on the light. His eyes dilate in the dark and constrict in the light. You can even see unique details in animal eyes — owl eyes glow at night. [Source]
The Stars In The Sky
The natural world of RDR2 is incredibly detailed. When its raining, you can stand under trees for a lighter shower. After the rains, the ground will be muddier and water will continue to drip from the rooftops. We’ve all noticed that, but detail extends to the sky too. At night, if you study the stars, you can spot real constellations like Orion. [Source]
The passage of time matters in RDR2. As time passes and you progress in the story, the Moon will go through realistic phases, changing shape! Not even the Moon is static in RDR2.
Dumb Animal Tricks
Animals are packed with unique special interactions. Especially dogs. You can watch more than people eat. Dogs will eat too! And if you stand around them long enough, they’ll poop. If you whistle, dogs will follow you — some of them will even help you sniff out animals like in RDR1.
There are even more weird animal interactions. We all know animals will hunt each other like in real life, but if you watch animals long enough, you can catch more tiny details. Bears will scratch their backs on trees. Wolves will mourn if one of their pack dies. You can find them howling over the body. [Source]
Horses are also full of tiny details. If a horse is friendly, it’s ears will change position. A friendly horse has its ears up. An unfriendly horse has its ears down. We all know that horse tentacles contract / expand in different weather conditions — we all know! But, if you ride a horse too hard to get it sweaty, then ride into a nice cool interior barn, the sweat will crystallize in white. Its a real phenomenon!
Playing Around With Dead Bodies
After a shootout, you can actually return later to see the state of the bodies in singleplayer. This doesn’t happen for all bodies, but bodies left in the open-world (when you’re not doing missions) may stick around awhile. Leaving a body to rot in the wilderness, it will realistically decompose over time — animals will scavenge them, and sometimes they’ll even become skeletons. [Source]
Dumping a body in the water, it will float and eventually sink after a period of time. You can make bodies sink much faster by riddling them with bullets. [Source]
While exploring the city of Saint Denis, Arthur Morgan can hear on-again off-again member of the gang Trelawny talking to a women and some kids inside one of the buildings. He sounds familiar — is this Trelawny’s family? Is this the business he’s always running off to deal with? And there’s no guarantee you’ll ever even hear this tiny secret. [Source]
If Arthur Morgan approaches the door, he’ll say “Trelawny, is that you?” and Trelawny will respond, saying they’ll catch up later.
The Magic Of Guns
Depending on what long arm you have equipped, the shells will change on your bandolier. The more of them you fire, you’ll also start to see empty spots in your bandolier. It isn’t 1:1 perfect, but it is a cool detail.
Guns can misfire when dropped on the ground, and they can also protect enemies (and you!) when equipped. Characters with a gun equipped have a detailed enough hitbox, bullets that hit a gun on your back won’t hurt you.
We all know caliber and arrow type matters when hunting. To get the best possible meat, you need to use the right gun (and ammo type) for the job. The Varmint Rifle is required to get the best quality meat because a gun that’s too big will ruin it — but that also goes for human targets. Improved Arrows have more penetrating power than regular arrows, and you can see it in action! Just compare / contrast bodies after an arrow fight.
And there’s so much more! We don’t even talk about all the hidden Easter eggs in RDR2. We’ve got to leave some mystery in RDR2.