One of the fun things about second games is that characters from the original often come back to visit, whether they be old, familiar friends or mortal enemies. Red Dead Redemption 2 is no different, even if it takes place ten years before the original.
Some of those old characters have certainly gotten a face-lift in terms of graphics, but how do their personalities hold up? We’re here to answer that question by taking a dive into both games to see how each of these Wild West folks has changed with the passage of time. (And watch out—spoilers ahead!)
10 Herbert Moon
Even though he's just a store owner, Herbert Moon manages to stick around in both RDR2 and RDR1. He's a familiar figure, as he runs the General Store that the player frequently visits over the course of their travels.
His personality remains the same in RDR1 and RDR2, and it reflects the anti-Semitic attitudes of the time period. His ego is through the roof, as is evidenced by his frequent use of his own name in conversation. Herbert also has a lot of faith in his own theories, and he largely thinks he’s right about everything (even when it’s clear he isn’t).
9 John Marston
Our old protagonist from RDR1, who lets Arthur Morgan take the wheel in RDR2. We do get to see how being part of the Van der Linde Gang has affected this much younger John. Unlike the morally-neutral but honorable family man we see in RDR1, John is much colder. He isn’t as devoted to his family, and he struggles to deal with the gang’s influence on him and his morality.
Ultimately, RDR2 tracks his transformation from that bitter young man. Though it may be hard to reconcile the two game's personalities at first, the evolution we get to see beats out that initial trepidation.
8 Edgar Ross
Edgar Ross, or Agent Ross, plays a huge role in RDR1, as he’s the FBI agent that forces John to track down each former member of the Van der Linde Gang. His presence is still very much felt in RDR2, as he lurks on the sidelines everywhere Arthur Morgan goes.
His personality stays much the same between the two games, which is to be expected of this underhanded antagonist. He believes wholly in the law and places himself on a higher moral pedestal, despite the fact that he holds Abigail and Jack’s potential deaths over John’s head in RDR1.
7 Archer Fordham
Fordham is an interesting character, as we see much more of him in RDR1. However, his cameo at the end of RDR2 points to the events that have yet to pass, and it certainly sends a chill down our spines!
Fordham is Ross' partner, and the two of them work together against John and the rest of the Van der Linde Gang. Though he doesn’t get too much screen-time, Fordham is depicted as unceasingly loyal to Ross and his mission. He engages in most every action taken against John, but he does show increasing respect for the RDR1 protagonist, unlike Ross.
6 Dutch Van der Linde
Dutch is, and always has been, quite the charismatic fellow throughout the years charted in RDR1 and RDR2. His attempts to form gangs in both are similar, too. The Van der Linde Gang was formed as a home for outsiders, and Dutch’s Gang in RDR1 seems to have the same intent, albeit with a vendetta against the government.
His descent into the madness we see in RDR1 is finally tracked in RDR2, where we get to see that transformation from a hopeful but merciless man into a delusional killer. Dutch’s growing awareness of the futility of his actions is something to behold, to say the least.
5 Javier Escuella
A bit of a scoundrel, Javier Escuella seemed like a bitter husk in RDR1—and we get to see his former, full personality in RDR2. His idealism is what brings him to the Van der Linde Gang in the first place and keeps him there, despite the increasingly-morally ambiguous actions they collectively take.
Javier's idealism is what makes his arc in RDR2 so interesting, too, especially as Dutch slowly loses his way. Javier’s devotion to both Dutch and the Gang is tested to the fullest extent, and his trust in others becomes shakier over the course of the game.
4 Bill Williamson
Another former member of the Van der Linde Gang, Bill is an often-brutal character, but we get to see his quick slide into that brutality in RDR2. In RDR1, Bill has truly embraced the criminal lifestyle and lets his temper run away with him. In the second game, though, his initial devotion to the Gang and to Dutch’s vision is made much clearer.
His arc follows a descent like Dutch’s and Javier’s, though Bill’s is fueled more by increasing paranoia. Losing all of his loyalty to the Gang took a toll, one that he paid for with his oddly-empathetic personality.
3 Jack Marston
The ten-year time jump backward from RDR1 to RDR2 introduces us to a very young Jack, who’s only a child being raised by the Van der Linde Gang at the time. Though he isn’t actually present for as much of RDR1, John talks about him frequently, and Jack’s revenge against his father’s killer wraps up the first game.
Personality-wise, we see more of Jack's in RDR1, as he’s much older and more defined. We still get to see the beginning of it all, though, as his recklessness and simultaneous honesty comes through, even at four years old.
Uncle is another character that largely doesn’t change from RDR2 to RDR1. He’s depicted as an alcoholic layabout with a penchant for accomplishing almost nothing that’s asked of him. Despite his unchanging nature, Uncle is one of the oldest members of the Van der Linde Gang, and, to give him some credit, he does occasionally complete tasks.
His failure to take care of the Marston ranch, Beecher’s Hope, in RDR1, though, ends up defining him as a character, even ten years prior. It’s easy to see over the course of RDR2 how his character could’ve ended up messing up so badly.
1 Abigail Marston
Abigail eventually becomes John’s wife, though in RDR2 she remains Abigail Roberts, mother of her and John’s child, Jack. Her personality is consistent in both games, as she’s depicted as both maternal and no-nonsense. Her backstory is explored more in RDR2, though, as we get to see her relationship with the entire Van der Linde Gang.
Abigail’s relationship with John is what changes the most between games, as John himself changes from a cold, distant father to a more caring man. Abigail is increasingly frustrated with his inability to care in RDR2, but their relationship is depicted much more positively after they reconcile before RDR1.