Sorry gamers, even Rockstar can't make miracles. While there was word going around that Red Dead Redemption 2 would have an amazingly immersive feature, NPCs recognizing if you preferred to play without a map, the claim is now officially debunked. An official source that spent hands-on time with the game says that NPCs will say the same things regardless of how you choose to navigate the wild west.
Many gaming news and enthusiast sites, including Techraptor, were reporting late last week that Red Dead Redemption 2's NPCs change dialog when the player turns off the mini-map. The claims were based on a post from gtaforums.com where a user claimed to read about the feature in the Belgium and Netherlands magazine GAMEPLAY.
The idea was allegedly meant to appeal to gamers who hated the pinpointed locations and exact directions often found in modern open-world games. By turning off the mini-map, such players would be saying that they didn't want such specific guidance. The game would recognize this and change the NPC dialogue, having quest-givers instead provide descriptions of the nearby geography and landmarks. Just as people would in a world without GPS.
However, Alanah Pearce of Rooster Teeth weighed in on Twitter to say that these claims are false. She got to play the game earlier this week, and apparently did so with the mini-map on. She found that the NPCs still gave geography-based directions.
Also, got some clarification: the articles circling saying that if you remove your HUD in the game NPCs will give you more directions are false. They’ll always give you directions, people likely just noticed them more when their HUD was off.— Alanah Pearce (@Charalanahzard) October 10, 2018
Alas, it looks like Red Dead Redemption 2 will only be incredibly immersive, but not perfectly immersive.
Still, the fact that the NPCs even give directions based around landmarks at all is great for immersion. It seems to be an increasing trend in gaming where people don't want navigation or even a HUD at all. The recent Assassin's Creed: Odyssey includes an Exploration Mode that lets players customize the HUD to show as little or as much as they want.
So maybe games haven't gotten to the perfect place where NPCs know how we want to play and act accordingly, but we might just get there someday.