Here's a great write up on the game that includes a trip to the studio and interviews with the heads of Rockstar:http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr...ddead-20100425
Ask Dan Houser what Red Dead Redemption is about and the usually loquacious VP of creative at Rockstar Games pauses for 10 seconds. "It's America," he finally replies. "The birth of modern America. What was gained and what was lost."
"They're called westerns, not outlaw' or cowboy' films, and that's an inherently geographical word," said Dan Houser, a fast-talker with a shaved head who cites "The Wild Bunch" and 2005's little-seen Australian film "The Proposition" as inspirations. "One thing games do better than any other media is give you a sense of place. This is what we consider doing a western properly."
The Proposition has been in my Netflix Watch-It-Now queue for a while now. I'll have to check it out prior to the game release. Anyone see it?
Roughly 500 people around the world have contributed to Redemption over the last five years. By contrast, Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the bestselling game of 2009, was made by fewer than 100 people in two years.
It hasn't been an easy five years, insiders admit, with several journeys down paths never finished. It's difficult to imagine the finished product being much bigger, however, as it takes at least 40 hours for a single person to complete and hundreds more for those who pursue optional challenges and play together online.
Because Red Dead Redemption takes place in desolate, rough country, integrating a hallmark trait of Rockstar's past games the ability to chance upon interesting people and things to do was a major challenge. "It would have been contrived to say Here's another small town and another small town,' " said producer Steve Martin. "So we made the natural world alive with bears, coyotes, cougars and snakes. It gives you that sense of struggle against the wilderness."
"We have just over 500 characters who all have names, family members and jobs," said Josh Bass, head of art. "You can see a man at 7 a.m. in a Mexican market manning the chicken stand and at 6 p.m. he'll go over to the local pub."
The least defined charcater in the game, in fact, may be John Marston. Though he has an overarching goal, players define what kind of man he is and what kind of game Red Dead Redemption is based on how they handle the thousands of interactive moments that make it up. In one optional mission, Marston finds a woman being held up at gunpoint along the side of the road. He can save her, participate in the robbery and pocket the money, or ignore her and ride off into the sunset.
"The morally ambiguous cowboy is the perfect protagonist for the style of game we make," observed Houser. "Sometimes you can be the hero, sometimes you can be the bad guy, and sometimes while you're deciding what to do, a bear comes out of nowhere and eats someone."