Dan Houser talks RDR with Entertainment Weekly

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Part of Dan Houser's recent interview with Entertainment Weekly talks about Red Dead Redemption. An excerpt is below including some spoilage for those who have not made it to the end of the game.

"Looking at how the storytelling evolved in the Rockstar games after GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas feel to me like they’re a little bit more satirical. Then you get to GTA IV and Red Dead, and the storytelling seems to adopt a more realistic, even tragic note. Is that evolution something that’s been on your guys’ minds?

I think Red Dead’s a little bit different, because we wanted it to have its own tone. You still wanted to cast a somewhat knowing look at society at that time, because it would be odd not to. It’s still kind of the birth of consumer culture and that kind of stuff, it’s quite interesting to look at in the periphery of the game. The theme of what we were trying to explore in the game, I guess, was what it meant to be an outlaw in the days [when] outlaws were coming to an end. So that is probably [in] it’s nature [a] sort of tragic, somewhat romantic concept. You can’t make too cynical. It still hopefully had some humor in there.

In some ways, San Andreas was stepping into that direction as well. With GTA IV, I still think that it’s more than Red Dead, it’s still halfway between a tragedy and a black comedy. The world is still comic. [Niko's] naïveté — he’s a tough guy, but equally sort of country bumpkin naïveté — is in some ways comic and in some ways tragic."

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

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"In Red Dead Redemption, the average person plays the main story game for dozens of hours. One of protagonist John Marston’s main goals is to build a better life for his son — to ensure his son isn’t an outlaw, like him. And then, in the end, Marston is killed, and the player takes control of Jack, who becomes an outlaw like his father! Was that always the plan? Or did it come later in the development process?

It’s sort of back to that discussion we were having earlier, about the challenge of balancing story in an open world game. Mentally, the game is a series of mechanics. I can ride, I can shoot, I can speak to people. The gamble — and the argument, and the sort of complex thing for us to follow through on — was to kill John Marston. We figured, it’s gonna annoy people, but it’s gonna annoy people in the way that they want to be annoyed: They just don’t really realize it. It’s gonna make the experience have a lot more weight. It’s gonna make the whole theme of the game make sense.

From a technical standpoint, what do you do with all the stuff you haven’t done? Well, you’ll carry those on as the son. But then the son’s all wrapped up in them. He’s essentially become the father. Maybe that’s the point."

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You can read the full interview here or just the juicy GTA bits at iGrandTheftAuto here.

Thanks to our friends at Rockstar Network for finding this and join us at the GTA 5 forums!