Towards the end of Red Dead Redemption there’s a brief respite from all the gunslinging and violence. After reuniting with Marston’s family at Beecher’s Hope you’re quickly put to work—taming wild horses, scaring off crows, herding cattle, and catching up with your son, Jack. Hanging with the Marston clan serves as a calm before the storm, but it begs the question: what if Rockstar made managing your homestead a full-fledged component in RDR?
There are choice clues in the RDR2 announcement trailer that lead us to believe Rockstar’s big sequel will contain aspects of farm simulators.
Ranch Management Will Be Optional, But Rewarding
If in fact Rockstar takes the multiple protagonist approach, there’s a good chance you’ll need a base of operations somewhere in the frontier. If so, we hope there are opportunities to repair and upgrade your farm. Perhaps you’ll need to defend it from bandits, crafting defensive upgrades so your gang has a secure stronghold. Or maybe you could take a money making approach and turn it into a lucrative farm. Either way, the game probably won’t require you to do anything with your plot of land to progress the story, but you’ll be rewarded for your investments if you do.
Hauling Your Hunts
You need meat and leather, so you saddle your horse and head off for deer territory. It doesn’t take you long to find and kill one, but you’re not going to just skin it then and there. So you hitch it to your horse and walk the beaten path back to your farm. In the RDR2 trailer, such a scenario seems to play out, with a hunter trekking back to his little home on the praire.
RDR flirted with lite-RPG mechanics, such as gathering and crafting materials. Here’s hoping the sequel adds more depth to these activities, such as building your own ranch this time around.
A glimpse of a general store in the RDR2 trailer could be a sign of a much larger economy. There’s a carriage passing through town, a man carrying lumber, and a shopkeep milling about outside. It’s possible that not only is farming a side activity, but there are other means of making income that don’t require shooting things.
Like Fallout 4, maybe there’ll be a way to set up trade caravans to deliver goods from your farm to various outposts.
Cattle Herding: The Sequel
Cattle herding was a necessary evil in Red Dead Redemption: not quite fun or rewarding, but at least an attempt at old timey domestic farm chores. From the trailer it looks like cattle herding could return, along with other cow chores, like breeding for better quality milk and beef.
Rockstar pushes the boundaries of open-world games, and Red Dead Redemption 2 will no doubt maintain this progressive streak. If GTA V let you be… well, anything you wanted to be, than it’s worth speculating RDR2 will offer an even greater degree of freedom and player choice. Want to manage a farm and tend to your crops for a bit? Or maybe you'd just like to be a freelance farmhand, roaming from ranch to ranch in search of the occasional oddjob? With a world this big, we’re betting Rockstar will pack it to the brim with activities.
What do you think—would you like to see a little Stardew Valley thrown into RDR2?