Bonding With Your Horse in ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ Is Really Important

red dead redemption 2 dead animal horse

In a western, a person is only worth as much as their horse is. And for Red Dead Redemption 2, not only did Rockstar Games spend years thinking and developing systems around horses, but it will ask you to also think about your four-legged friend, quite often.

If you’ve been paying attention to Red Dead Redemption 2 in the build-up to its launch, you’ll know that there’s a variety of horses in the game, all with different attributes. Further, the more you bond with your horse — by doing things like petting it — the more it will begin to trust you, which will come with its own advantages. And of course, if you don’t take care of it, your horse can die, meaning you’ll need to replace it and start the process all over.

That said, speaking to EDGE Magazine (via Wccftech), Art Director Aaraon Garbut revealed further details on just how much work went into the design of horses in the game, and the systems built around them.

“Like many parts of the game, the team iterated on the horse for years,” said Garbut. “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.”

The director continues:

“Beyond that, though, we want the horse to feel like a companion,” said Garbut. “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.”

Caring for your horse sounds like a nice level of immersion and brings the game closer to realism, but it also sounds like it could get tedious, and possibly even frustrating if your horse dies cheaply. It will be interesting to see just how Rockstar Games implements and balances all of this.


Red Dead Redemption 2 — also known as the Horse Caretaker 2018 — is poised to release later this month on October 26 via the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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