Prompt: Create a narrative, narrative expansion, and gameplay mechanics for Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption follows the protagonist John Marston, a former gang member trying to live an honest life. Ultimately, John sacrifices his life to save his family's. John Marston's character development has made him one of the most iconic and beloved characters in video games. Given the death of John in RDR and his iconic status we knew that he needed to appear in a prequel.
Our storyline, in Red Dead Redemption 2, follows a former Civil War soldier that moves out west to become a sheriff to support his family. As a sheriff, the gamer faces taking down John Marston's gang. The story creates a point of tension for the gamer because they know that John will survive. We came to the Adversary System from a sentiment that focus group participants had; that in the west you can get away with almost anything. The gamer can use the system to take down the gang by any means necessary or to work alongside John's gang for personal gain. The gamer perspective provides another chance to experience John Marston's story albeit from the side of the law.
We wanted our mechanics to encourage exploration and the tension that comes with it. The people we talked to love the idea of the west because of the excitement and fear of the unknown, the nomadic lifestyle, and the adventure. We developed mechanics that would take into account the temperature, weather, day/night, dry/wet, drinking water, consuming food, item size/volume, and item reliability. All of these systems are to force players to plan trips outside of settlements. Making the gamer feel vulnerable because merely drinking pond water could cause death.
After the release of RDR, Rockstar developed an expansion called the Undead Nightmare which is a zombie survival story. Through focus groups, our team discovered that gamers' favorite mission involved Big Foot. Gamer insights led us to the creation of an expansion pack called American Gothic. American Gothic explores morally ambiguous stories of many American folklore monsters in this spin-off world while keeping true to the same Sheriff character in our RDR 2 wild west concept.