It's been three years since the initial release of Red Dead Redemption 2, and we're still thinking about that expansive Wild West open-world shooter. Developer Rockstar Games has gone above and beyond in the detail department, making the tuning as fine-tuned as possible – you can see it everywhere, from weapon sluggishness to writing in the logs. There are so many incredible details that players will likely miss most of them even after multiple playthroughs.
We've revisited some of our favorite games from the previous generation, and Red Dead Redemption 2 deserves a second look. As I replayed it, I noticed so much more than I had missed the first time around – and it drove me down a rabbit hole of discovery. I just have to share some of the wild minutiae the internet has discovered. Some of them took years to find. Strap on your draw irons, because we've got 25 extremely small details you never noticed in Red Dead Redemption 2.
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Sometimes the scenes will change depending on your actions. Saving the brother of Arthur Morgan's wife (what a mouthful) from the weird cult, if you kill the cult leader, the cultists will all kill themselves jumping off the side of the cliff. There is never any reason to kill the cult leader. You are never asked to do so. It's just something weird that you can trigger.
Towards 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 strange cabin where the mutant woman is kept on the plantation grounds! Yes, there is a strange female mutant in a cabin on the plantation. Do it, and Arthur/Penelope share unique dialogue. [Source]
Many unknown missions can be completed by John Marston instead of Arthur Morgan. All cinematics are changed, just like in RDR1 with John/. There's one other small detail that changes when you swap characters - the sound effect that plays when you mark enemies with Dead Eye is the exact same sound used in RDR1, replacing Arthur Morgan's unique sound effect. [Source]
Speaking of John Marston, while working at the Proghorn Ranch in the epilogue, he doesn't just push open the doors when they don't open. He will strike instead. What a civilian young man. [Source]
We all know that John Marston can visit the graves of all deceased gang members throughout the game, always in a location that is meaningful to the character or his death. But, John Marston can also return to the various campsites where the gang has stopped. Returning to these sites initiates little flashbacks with John as he recalls those times. [Source]
Roll with Dutch
Here is one we all know. There are two voice tracks for each driving scene. The characters speak in low voices if you stay close and shout if you are further away. If something interrupts the discussion, they always comment and then pick up where they left off. We all know this, 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 you what you're doing.
When you run in Dutch before missions, he will comment if you try to hit him! He taunts Arthur, asking him if he really needs to cheat just to win. Who would even think of trying to hit Dutch? [Source]
In any saloon, you can watch customers eat in real time. The food they eat will gradually decrease. Sometimes they even hunt a single rolling pea. [Source]
In the main lounge of Saint Denis, there is an annoying lady in the corner who is always screaming for drinks. If Arthur Morgan approaches her with a drink in hand and a new haircut, you can actually interact with her! There are several interactions as you progress through the story, but it 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 as well.
You can even come back as John Marston later in the story for a little interaction. She looks much older when you return. [Source]
The Many Faces of Arthur Morgan
If Arthur is hunted by bounty hunters, he will speak in a low voice when calling his horse. He'll even tell his horse to shut up if he makes too much noise while you're riding. [Source]
We all know Arthur has to wear different clothes depending on the weather, but it also changes his physical appearance - not just his idle animation. In the cold north, Arthur's face turns pale and blue. In the hot south, Arthur's face turns red and he becomes visibly sweaty. [Source]
Rotate the camera and zoom with photo mode, and you can actually see Arthur Morgan's eyes change with the light. His eyes dilate in the dark and twitch in the light. You can even see unique details in the eyes of the animals - owls eyes glow at night. [Source]
the stars in the sky
The natural world of RDR2 is incredibly detailed. When it rains, you can stand under the trees for a lighter shower. After the rains, the ground will be muddier and water will continue to drip from the roofs. We've all noticed it, but the details also extend to the sky. 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 through the story, the Moon will go through realistic, shape-changing phases! Even the Moon is not static in RDR2.
Stupid Animal Tricks
Animals are full of unique special interactions. Especially dogs. You can watch more than people eat. Dogs will eat too! And if you stay around them long enough, they'll poop. If you whistle, the 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 chase each other just like in real life, but if you watch them long enough, you can catch more fine details. Bears will scratch their backs on trees. Wolves will cry if one of their pack dies. You can find them screaming on the body. [Source]
The horses are also full of small details. If a horse is friendly, its ears will change position. A friendly horse has high ears. A hostile horse has its ears lowered. We all know that horse tentacles contract/expand in different weather conditions – we all know that! But, if you ride a horse too hard to sweat, then ride in a nice cool indoor barn, the sweat will crystallize white. It's a real phenomenon!
Play with corpses
After a shootout, you can actually come back later to see the condition of the bodies solo. This doesn't happen for all bodies, but bodies left in the open world (when you're not doing missions) can stick around for a while. Leaving a body to rot in the wild, it will realistically decompose over time – animals will haul them away, and sometimes they will even become skeletons. [Source]
By throwing a body in water, it will float and eventually sink after a while. You can sink bodies much faster by riddled them with bullets. [Source]
Le secret de Trelawny
While exploring the town of Saint Denis, Arthur Morgan can occasionally hear a member of the Trelawny gang talking to a woman and children inside one of the buildings. It looks familiar - is it Trelawny's family? Is this the company he always runs away for? And there's no guarantee you'll ever hear this little secret. [Source]
If Arthur Morgan approaches the door, he will say "Trelawny, is that you?" and Trelawny will respond, saying they'll catch up later.
Depending on the long arm you have equipped, the shells will change on your bandolier. The more you pull out, the more gaps you'll start to see in your bandolier. It's not perfect at 1:1, but it's a nice detail.
Guns can misfire when dropped, and they can also protect enemies (and you!) when equipped. Characters with a pistol have a sufficiently detailed hitbox, bullets hitting a pistol in the back will not hurt you.
We all know that the caliber and type of arrow is important when hunting. To get the best meat possible, you need to use the right gun (and the right type of ammo) for the job. The Varmint Rifle is needed to get the best quality meat, as too big a gun will ruin it, but that goes for human targets as well. 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 is so much more! We're not even talking about all the hidden easter eggs in RDR2. We have to leave some mystery in RDR2.