Interview with Red Dead Redemption Devs


Red Dead Redemption, the Western Sandbox game developed by Rockstar and touted by many as “GTA in the Wild West” is almost here, May 21st to be exact. The game has all the ingredients to be a huge success and definitely sounds like Game of the Year material, although it faces tough competition, and also, this is Rockstar after all, they don’t make bad games.

Well thanks to Now Gamer we get an insight into the development of the game thanks to a recent interview they held with Kris Roberts, Tom Shepard and Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser.

First off, Dan Houser explains the challenges he faced while developing Red Dead Redemption:

 “From a technical perspective, it was a complete nightmare, because we wanted to include so many things that were vital to making the game we wanted and a massive headache to make fun and look right – amazing gunfight physics, beautiful horses, lassos, stagecoaches with so many moving parts, animals, and so on,” said Houser.

“For the game to be fun and engaging and everything we hoped it could be, we had to include a huge range of classic western moments – stand-offs, duels, stagecoach fights, gunfights on trains, hold-ups, bounty hunting, and so on. This is the strength of the game, but doing this in a seamless way in a massive open world was a huge challenge.”

And here is a Q&A with Shepard and Roberts about the multiplayer aspect of Red Dead Redemption:

What stuff is there to keep the player busy in Free Roam Mode?
Kris: In addition to operating as a game lobby to help you gather posses for more structured games like Capture the Bag or Shootouts, Free Roam also operates as a version of the ambient game world, open for you and 15 other players to wander at your leisure at any time, doing pretty much whatever you want.

The game has a robust system of leveling up, and we want players to rank up in any mode they like best, including inside Free Roam. To help give Free Roam more structure and opportunities for players to test themselves we’ve created a series of challenges for users to try. Some of these are similar to challenges in single-player, but the majority of them are unique to multiplayer.

Outlaw challenges revolve around shootouts with law enforcement, or collecting the bounties of other players who’ve already taken on the Law. So gaining kill streaks while wanted, or earning high bounties on your own head will all come with their own benefits. In addition, this can actually turn into its own game. For example, if you ride into the town of Armadillo and start trouble with the law there, the first person with a bounty of $1000 dollars on their head will be denoted a Public Enemy, and suddenly everyone else in the game world will be offered this bonus if they are the person to take you down.

Or you might prefer something a little calmer, like the Survivalist challenges, where you’ll have to track down specific herbs found in the world and collect them. As in single player you can do this at any time so you might just stumble on the right ones while riding with your friends or you may need to seek them out. For the sportsman, there are hunting challenges, where you are told to hunt and track specific animals. As you progress in that challenge you’ll have to go after more dangerous animals and will eventually discover special hunting grounds where having a posse with you is going to come in very handy if you want to survive very long.

Lawbringer challenges are focused on you and your posse taking on the gang hideouts that are scattered across the world. In order to complete the most basic Lawbringer challenges, your posse has to battle individual gangs for control of a specific hideout. Once inside the hideout, you have to take on waves of reinforcements until the hideout is yours. The challenges get progressively more difficult as you rank up.

Sharpshooter challenges are exactly that – challenges to take out specific animals or perform specific shooting tricks, like strings of headshots, or cleanly disarming enemies. It doesn’t stop there, though – each challenge type has separate levels so you’ll always have extra challenges to take on. The best way to find out what opportunities are available is to keep checking your journal as you level up.

When did it hit you to put a shootout at the beginning of each multiplayer game and why?
Tom: This was a classic example of inspiration during development. Our design team was hard at work on the multiplayer game, and we were trying to think of an interesting way to start the experience. The idea of a Mexican standoff-style multiplayer showdown just seemed like a unique idea and one that was perfectly suited to the personal and intimate nature of gunfights in Westerns. Everyone remembers a scene in a great Western when gunfighters are forced to look into the eyes of their would-be killers until the moment the trigger is pulled. It’s just a great way to kick off a multiplayer game, staring down the barrel of your gun at the enemy players, so we decided to try it out. Luckily for us, it was an instant hit with everyone as soon as we implemented it. It’s rare when you get something that works so well on so many levels, making the experience feel more cinematic, fresh, entertaining and funny all at the same time.

How is Dead-Eye different in multiplayer and why?

Tom: Dead-Eye in multiplayer still allows you to paint targets on your enemies, but it does not slow down time. It’s great for lining up targets on the run as you can sweep the reticule over an enemy – or enemies – and know that the shots will find their mark without forcing you to stop and line up a shot carefully.

How extensive are the customization options for your multiplayer avatar?
Kris: When you enter the Outfitter, you can select from nine different character class types including Lawmen, Marshals, Miners or Cattle Rustlers, to name a few, as well a wide range of character models within each type, with more available as you level up. And of course, you will get to choose what breed and type of mount you ride, with some very special breeds available as you progress. In addition, you will be able to give your character a title, and any titles you may have unlocked by completing challenges are will be available here, and will appear over your character’s head so everyone can see what you’ve managed to accomplish. Also, as you level up you’ll gain new weapons to use in Free Roam.

Leveling your online profile; what are the benefits?

Tom: Leveling up unlocks new weapons, avatars, game play challenges, titles, and playlists. There are 50 levels, and you’ll be able to see what playlists you’re yet to unlock by checking the journal

Has it been difficult balancing multiplayer game types when factoring in the inclusion of horses?
Tom: Not really. Each of the areas of the world that we use for specific competitive game types was built with multiplayer in mind, and some of those have the use of horses factored into their design. The skill in making regions like this is to make it flow nicely without the player feeling like it has been designed. Horseback riding has a clear tradeoff for players. They can travel much faster, and can be a tougher target to shoot, but they are also much easier to spot. A good example is the Diez Coronas area, which is a big area in Mexico that’s perfect for team-based games like Hold Your Own (team-based Capture the Bag). You can split teams up into groups with smaller groups on foot creeping in to take control of the cannon on one side of the map, or the Gatling gun placements on the other. While this is going on, you can send out teams on horseback to infiltrate the other team’s base and capture the bag.

Really is a great read and i cannot wait to get my hands on this game.

Again thanks to Now Gamer for that and as always, discuss in our forums here.

I'm a huge fan of the PES, MGS and Uncharted series', and anything else in between. If you love a good gaming discussion or want to talk about anything else, then feel free to get in touch.


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