Red Dead Redemption 2 is Rockstar’s smash hit sequel to their beloved story about a former outlaw hunting down his old game. What’s more is that RDR2 is also a prequel to the original game, which allows for Rockstar to insert as many tributes and foreshadowing into the new story as they please. Well, boy did they deliver! This time around, you play as Arthur Morgan, the Van der Linde gang lieutenant who witnesses the twilight days of John’s infamous former gang and must make hard choices concerning just who and what he is loyal to.
If you haven’t finished both Red Dead Redemption 1 and 2, then put down this article and either go play them or find a Let’s Play video to watch, because today we’re going to be delving into major spoilers for both games. If you’re ready to dive in, come join us while we talk about 10 tributes RDR2 made to the original Red Dead Redemption.
10 John Still Can’t Swim
In RDR, John famously swam like a rock when he so much as put a toe into deep water. Not even his horses could keep him from sinking. In RDR2, Rockstar not only has Arthur constantly make fun of John for it, but you will also lose the ability to swim when you play as John in the Epilogue. Talk about commitment to a character!
9 Dead Eye Is Back!
Dead Eye was the incredibly popular game mechanic introduced as far back as Red Dead Revolver that made everyone feel like a true gunslinger. Once activated, time would slow down and the player could pick off several enemies in one sequence, or even disarm people. This gained even wider traction in RDR, and now it’s back. Now, you can activate it any time while slowly pulling the trigger.
8 The Entire Epilogue
Before giving players time to mourn the ending of the main game, they are suddenly thrown back into the story and very suddenly into John’s shoes. We follow the Marston family 8-ish years after the events of the main story, trying to live a normal and prosperous life. During the events of the Epilogue, we get to see Beecher’s Hope go up piece by piece. This includes the infamous barn. After finishing the Epilogue story, many players felt that this could be Rockstar’s attempt to give John a playable afterlife.
7 Uncle Resting Where He Eventually Perishes In RDR
After Beecher’s Hope is finished and John attends to some unfinished business, players can sometimes find Uncle taking a break in the exact same spot on the porch where he perishes in the first game. To add to the heartbreak, he even sits in the same position.
This call forward certainly hit home for a lot of players, even the ones that didn’t even like Uncle.
6 John Taking Out The Bandit In The Barn
During the Epilogue, John is forced to take up his guns and mount his horse in order to go after a small gang of bandits who are threatening the farm he works for. Abigail disapproves, terrified that she might be about to lose John. John, however, must use his less than savory skills to defend their livelihood and ends up cornering the last bandit in the barn. While the man screams all sorts of threats at John, the player is treated to an in-game recreation of the cover of the first game, with John glaring down the barrel of a gun.
5 The Origin Of John’s Scars
The original game was always a touch ambiguous about how John won his facial scars. Aside from a voice clip that happens when John attempts to fight wolves in the first game with a knife, players were left to speculate as to what animal did that to him. This is confirmed in RDR2 to have in fact come from a close encounter with a wolf pack. After Arthur and Javier track John in the Grizzlies, they come across a perished horse and tons of evidence of a fight, and then a wolfpack as they come off the mountains.
4 Javier Unwittingly Referencing John’s Hunt In The First Game
RDR2 being a prequel to RDR has allowed for Rockstar to make a tremendous amount of call forwards, deliberately ensuring that playing RDR after its sequel will have more of an impact. One of these bits of foreshadowing happens when John is missing in a snowstorm at the beginning of the game, and Arthur and Javier are sent out to look for him.
After some hesitation, Javier agrees to go, saying that if it were him, John would come looking for him. This line sent more than a few shivers down player’s spines.
3 Dutch’s Descent Into Madness
By the time we first meet Dutch in the first game, he's a shell of a man still fighting uselessly against the march of civilization. A single glance at him might still reveal a glimmer of a great man worthy of John’s loyalty, but many players found it difficult to understand how John could have followed such an obvious madman. RDR2 answers this by presenting a much more lucid Dutch at the beginning of the narrative, still filled with his trademark charm and wit. As the story continues and pressures mount, we witness Dutch slipping towards his inevitable heartbreaking fall into madness.
2 Agent Ross Telling Jack To Enjoy Fishing While He Still Can
In a dark reference to an event 16 years into the future, as Agent Ross is leaving with Agent Milton after a tense stand-off with Arthur, Ross makes a snide comment to a three-year-old Jack Marston. “Enjoy your fishing while you still can!” he snarks as he walks away. This ends of being an ironic statement when Jack avenges his father’s unfair end by ambushing Ross while he himself is enjoying post-retirement fishing.
1 Dutch’s Speech Before Leaping Off A Cliff
Dutch’s “You can’t fight gravity” speech is one of the most memorable in gaming. After a long and grueling chase all over the United States to track down the last of his gang, John finally confronts his former mentor, only to listen to a heartbreaking monologue about how you can’t fight your nature. In RDR2, after picking a fight with the US Army, Dutch makes nearly the same speech but instead uses it as a way to clue Arthur in on his escape plan.