Single player games, especially RPGs with large sandbox maps, really rely on interactions with the grandiose cast of the Non-player characters throughout the story. Take Preston Harvey from Fallout 4 for example, or the love triangle you find yourself in The Witcher 3. These characters that we love or hate really shape the experience of the game, but sometimes it feels as though they are shoved in our faces due to the drive of the plotline laid in front. This feeling may come from our inner social butterfly and its wish for more interactions and more possible outcomes from the dialogue that happens throughout the game rather than a very linear outcome. Which is what happens when more often than not an NPC comes along that feels like a companion, as opposed to their own person with aspirations and character traits. Red Dead Redemption 2 is fixing that issue with an all new NPC system, here’s a little look into some of its worth while aspects.
According to the Playstation Blog, while exploring the world, the player can interact with NPCs by holding L2. While targeting an individual, the game will bring up an interaction menu with a plethora of dialogue options such as Defuse or Threaten. This allows the player to feel like they truly have a choice on whether or not to be abrasive or polite in conversation with townsfolk. On top of that, NPC’s have their own characteristics and agendas, such as a seedy shop owner in a settlement trying to cheat you out of a sale or honest farm folk on outskirts just trying to help out their families and friends.
Every character in the game has uniquely programmed conversations that, when walked past, can be activated by the main character. This includes compliments, insults or even simple comments on your hygiene. Another interesting facet of the upcoming game revolves around more violent interactions between players and the world at large. For example, if someone is attacked by you or you bring their family members harm, they or bounty hunters will hunt you down and try to kill you at random times. This should make gamers who are more prone to violence think twice about their actions and the consequences that follow. That said, you sometimes will only have a split moment to interact with events or people in the game, so your decision making skills will play a crucial role in the characters developmental process.
Here’s is a quick quote excerpt from an interview from French website JeuxActu with Rockstar’s Bob Nelson (Co-Studiohead and Art Director):
“Being immersed in a credible world with a captivating story, capable of engaging the player, while giving them the freedom to lose themselves, then returning to the main quest in a natural way, is something important for us. And that was our main goal for Red Dead Redemption 2, to erase the boundaries between all these aspects to make it coherent and organic. Everything must appear natural, without any transition or lag, to reinforce the sense of immersion and connection between each mission.”
He later goes on to say;
“ You can kill people to steal their money, but you can also threaten them and extract their currency less violently. To leave the choice to the player is very important for us. It is not a Manichean system, it is not good against evil, everything is nuanced. Of course, we play Arthur and he has his own character, but you are given the opportunity to shape his way of behaving a bit.”
You can also look forward to fun base camp interactions with your fellow gang members. Arthur can join in many different activities with them to make money for the group, including heists or personal errands. Having conversations with different individuals you find around the camp will unlock these for you, so unleash your inner social butterfly to find bigger and better jobs. Overall the scale of possibilities in terms of interacting with NPCs is seems larger than most games on the market. I can only imagine that game streams and twitch channels will try to truly harness this for comedic potential as there is a host of unique interactions to be had.
I am sure more information will come soon, but for now, I can say ithat I am very excited to play this game and piss off many, many NPCs.
Red Dead Redemption 2 comes out October 26th for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.