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Red Dead is a series of Western-themed video games developed by Rockstar Games after being acquired from Capcom.

Red Dead Revolver was originally developed by Capcom as a spiritual successor to their 1985 arcade title Gunsmoke before being cancelled. Rockstar's acquistion lead to the project's revival, rebranding, and eventual release in 2004.

2010's Red Dead Redemption served as a thematic sequel with almost no overt ties to Revolver and decided to take more cues from its sister series Grand Theft Auto when Revolver could've been considered Max Payne in the Wild West. It was initially developed as more of a passion project that wouldn't hold a candle to a GTA entry and thus had a rocky development behind it. To Rockstar's surprise, it ended up being very close to the average GTA in sales and formed a sizeable fanbase, encouraging a fair share of DLC and online support, most notably the beloved Undead Nightmare expansion pack.

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After many rumors and many more requests, Red Dead Redemption 2, a prequel to the first game, was announced in 2016 and released in 2018 after a one-year delay.

Dan Houser has stated that the series would be revisited yet again if Red Dead Redemption 2 meets enough success.


Works in this series include:


This series provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Plenty.
    • Arthur Morgan's late father Lyle was an outlaw who would even beat his son. Arthur only remarks that he was a "no good bastard" and that his death didn't come soon enough.
    • John Marston initially believed that his son Jack wasn't his due to his then-girlfriend Abigail's line of work as a prostitute who slept with a few of the men in their gang, and thus abandoned him and Abigail for some time; an event of which thoroughly embittered Arthur. When he returned, he was extremely neglectful to Jack to the point where Abigail would occasionally ask Arthur to help her raise him. Into his teenage years, the effects of this childhood abuse clearly took its toll on Jack, as he is extremely quiet, depressed, and insecure around his father.
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  • Bullet Time: Every protagonist is a crack shot, as expected from a series paying homage to the genre.
  • End of an Age: This is a recurring theme starting with Redemption. The glory days of The Wild West as depicted in Revolver are coming to an end and civilization is starting to take over. Redemption 2 goes into detail about the fall of the Van der Linde gang thanks to the ways of the outlaw no longer being as effective thanks to stronger law enforcement and Redemption has the last few prominent members die out as the budding FBI ties up loose ends.
  • Expy:
    • John Marston resembles Red Harlow physically. By extension, his son Jack resembles both him and Harlow as an adult, even moreso the latter as he goes on a quest to avenge his father much like Red.
    • Bonnie MacFarlane resembles Annie Stoakes, also from Revolver, both physically and in background as a rancher's Action Girl daughter.
    • A lot of Arthur Morgan's characterization is exactly how the remnants of the Van der Linde Gang described John himself back in their heyday in Redemption, making the latter a Decomposite Character of himself. Retroactively, this serves as John's Character Development as he aspires to follow in Arthur's footsteps after his sacrifice.
  • Fallen Hero:
    • Dutch van der Linde is the example of this series. He started out as a man who wanted justice for the downtrodden and many of his crimes were in the name of redistributing wealth to the needy, Just Like Robin Hood. With enough tragedy and the existential dread of civilization inevitably snuffing out the glory days of The Wild West, Dutch went insane and caused his gang to disband. By 1911, he is notorious not just for his golden years but for his new ventures with his new gang made entirely of frustrated, lost Native American men in an attempt to recapture his original goal.
    • Javier Escuella takes after Dutch in being someone who is eternally grateful for the latter rescuing him from rock bottom and agrees wholeheartedly with his Robin Hood philosophy. Once Dutch starts going off the deep end, so does Javier, as he becomes openly hostile to Arthur and John. When they finally decide to leave the gang, Javier very hesitantly sides with Dutch and disappears, eventually ending up back in his home of Mexico. When John finally tracks him down years later, Javier is a sleazy, disheveled mercenary working for the same government that caused him so much pain.
  • Genre Shift: Revolver was a linear, arcade-style shooter while the Redemption sub-series is an open-world action-adventure in the same vein as Grand Theft Auto.
  • Karma Meter: The "Honor" meter, introduced in Redemption. As expected, good deeds increase Honor and bad deeds decrease it. Wearing a mask while up to no good can avert this.
  • Nice Hat: This is a Western. Redemption 2 gives you the chance to pick up hats in the world if you deem them nicer than yours.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • Edgar Ross treats Nastas as if he's a complete savage who doesn't understand English. Nastas is actually quite literate and even wears a suit, much like most of West Elizabeth. Harold MacDougal isn't a villain but he similarly treats Nastas as if he's just a dumb brute and is extremely, blatantly racist towards Native Americans, even insinuating that the brains of Natives are inferior to Caucasians'.
    • The Lemoyne Raiders, as expected from the Deep South. One member even outright calls Lenny a "nigger" when they plan to steal a stash of weapons from Shady Belle.
      • Lemoyne is also home to a faction of The Klan. Cathartically, they are major Butt-Monkeys and, of course, you can kill them, which actually results in an Honor increase.
    • The Mexican Army and random banditos waste no opportunity to call John a "gringo".
  • Precision F-Strike: Compared to its sister series, this series is quite restraint with its use of the word "fuck". A few characters in Redemption I and II use it, John uses it about three times, and Arthur uses it only twice; one in a song and the other when insulting The Klan in a random event.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Every main game's cover depicts a rather disgruntled cowpoke ready to blow your brains out.
  • A True Story in My Universe: The events of Revolver are constantly recounted as an urban legend in the Redemption sub-series.
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