Great quests and characters aren't the only crucial components to open world game design — the environment needs to feel alive as well. When executed properly, all the pieces come together to form a convincing whole.
Rockstar’s obsession to detail sets their games apart from the rest. Just take GTA V, released in 2013, and compare it to 2016’s Watch Dogs 2. Sure, current-gen hardware allows for some dazzling effects, but Ubisoft’s San Francisco feels cold and artificial compared to San Andreas.
Why? As they say, the devil is in the detail.
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Rockstar’s track record in mind, Red Dead Redemption 2 will feature the most nuanced world the studio has created yet, meaning details such as lighting, sound and weather will be all the more realistic. Let’s take a look at how improved weather effects could play out in RDR2’s western world.
It’s another sunny day. After kicking out your campfire your gang makes haste for a dry ravine that’s home to a couple unsavory types. You progress slowly through a narrow gulch when one of your companions starts shouting behind you. Before you know it, you’re swept off your feet into a swirling cascade of water, rocks and logs. Flash floods could present themselves at any moment in RDR2’s vast world—most likely when you least expect them.
From what we’ve seen, there’s going to be a lot of land to explore in RDR2 and large swaths of that will be open frontier. The perfect place for a tornado to appear, if you ask us. A twister wouldn’t be easy to outrun on a horse so taking shelter in a nearby basement might be your best course of action. Or hell, maybe just dive headlong into the raging beast while screaming about Valhalla. You might catch a glimpse of the megalodon in there, too.
Heatwaves and Duststorms
Could heatwaves scorch the land of RDR2, sparking wildfires and depriving you and your gang of precious water? Rivers and lakes could dry out during times of intense heat, revealing secret caches of goods. Your horse could tire more easily, or force you to seek out shade and bide your time. If farm management makes an appearance, your crops might be doomed as well. Hey, no one said the West was an easy place to live.
Thunder and Lightning
The original Red Dead Redemption had fantastic thunder storms that would light up giant portions of the sky in the distance, and we can only assume Rockstar is going to give us the best rolling thunder seen or heard in a videogame yet. Combined with dry weather, the sudden appearance of lightning might kick off more fires. If anything, it’ll be a spectacle worth putting on the headphones for.
The RDR2 trailer revealed misty morning haze over a body of water, so why not throw some heavy fog into the mix. It’d be the perfect match for a pre-dawn duel as you try to shoot your opponent through a mess of fog. Or you could use it to your advantage the next time you decide to rang a rival gang’s hideout.
We can think of a couple other weather effects we’d like to see, but let’s turn it over to you. What atmospheric details would you like to see in RDR2?