Rockstar Games are known for their attention to details in their games’ NPCs and world around the player, whether it is iconic Grand Theft Auto pedestrians or Red Dead Redemption 2’s horse. During gameplay walkthroughs, a number of people commented on the horse’s behaviour, acting like an actual animal companion, not just a mean of traversing the map to get to the next mission.
Art Director Aaron Garbut was featured in the December issue of EDGE, where he revealed how much work was actually done on the horse. Garbut admitted the horse underwent several iterations “for years” to reach the state we have seen right now. All this was because the development team wanted it to have its own personality, “reacting to the world in a way that’s unique to its breed and your bond with it.”
Like many parts of the game, the team iterated on the horse for years. The personality of the horse will come through in its behavior, reacting to the world in a way that’s unique to its breed and your bond with it. Your horse should feel like a living creature with a mind of its own, and we spent a lot of time tagging elements of the world so the horse knows where it wants to go, and what it wants to avoid, as much as the player.
Beyond that, though, we want the horse to feel like a companion. You start to care for it, and it upsets you when it’s hurt. Looking after it, and bonding with it, becomes something you want to do not just for the benefits it can bring but because it’s your most trusted friend.
If it’s hurt and dying, you have limited time to get it medicine, and it’s at times like these that the game opens up its own adventures. Suddenly nothing matters as much as helping your horse. That said, you could just let it die and get another. Well, I couldn’t. Maybe you could.
Red Dead Redemption 2 releases on October 26 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. Pre-orders went live for Xbox One and PS4 earlier in June, and recently, the game’s trophy list got leaked, with the list dominantly filled with Bronze trophies.