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What Could Have Been / Red Dead Redemption 2

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During its 8 year development cycle, the game went through an insane amount of changes, resulting in a lot of this.

Note that many of the links are to videos taken in the epilogue, so most of them contain spoilers. Check them at your own risk.

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    Locations - Major 
There seems to have been plans to have about twice as much playable area than in the final game.
  • New Austin, while absent from the leaked map from 2016, may have had a larger role before being cut down significantly - there's a lot of content and files that suggests that even if it were Out of Focus, it was still going to be accessible before the epilogue.
    • Some pre-release material showcases Arthur and the gang in NA, the official guidebook mentions the book Jack left behind in the pre-Blackwater camp is in New Austin, and a now patched glitch allowed players to explore the region before it opens up, revealing that Arthur has dialogue and journal entries for the content there, and that the collection sidequests that can seemingly only be beaten as John could be beaten with Arthur as wellnote . The credits also show a brief shot of Pearson having a photo of the gang in what appears to be New Austin (Although it's most likely meant to be a stand in for another state out west, considering the fact that John tells Bonnie that the gang never made it to New Austin).
    • The 1907 version of the area has no graves with a date-of-death after 1899, and the games files include 1899 & 1907 versions of each shopkeeper - the final game only ever uses one of these models for them. This has led to a theory that the main reason New Austin cannot be explored until the epilogue is that Rockstar simply ran out of time before they could fully create both 1899 and 1907 versions of the region, and used the assets intended for both to build its current version.
    • Pacific Union Railroad camp has an info card if you go to where it is in 1911 and bring up the card. Likewise, Jack in the epilogue mentions the Great Plains train track, which isn't there in the final release.
  • Mexico is also huge and incredibly detailed for a place you never visit. People have been able to glitch into Nuevo Paraiso and it’s pretty much a match for the first game. The textures aren't complete but the structures and non man-made landmarks are all pretty much there. Datamining the 1.00 PS4 version reveals a lot of hidden stuff about the region, including text files, Dummied Out buildings, and even coding for player bounties, implying it was planned to be a part of the game or is planned to become DLC. Jeremy Gill also mentions Frontera Bridge, which connects New Austin and Nuevo Paraiso... but the bridge doesn't exist in-game, ponting towards the "cut" side of the spectrum.
  • Guarma is so full of secrets and unused content it's insane. It was also originally called "Guama", presumably after the real island near Cuba, but was changed for whatever reason.
  • There's a lot of stuff out-of-bounds that cannot be ever seen in regular gameplay, especially in the northern sections of the map.
    • Ambarino was redesigned partway into production; some trailers feature mountains that were either moved or removed for the final product. For example, Adler Ranch used to be at (more or less) the current Barrow Lagoon, there was a road north near Chez Porter, Calumet Ravine didn't exist, and the Dakota River continued further east, pretty much surrounding the entirety of Ambarino.
    • The northernmost parts of Ambarino has several unseen landmarks, such as an aftermath of an avalanche, an unseen glacier tunnel near where John is rescued early on and a frozen lake with an interior mesh below it.
    • Tempest Rim is an odd case, as despite being on the in-game map, it is completely inaccessible and animal A.I doesn't work there. With the help of mods, it's been discovered that Tempest area has several unseen and unaccessible roads in it, which combined with the beta map from 2016 suggests the northenmost parts of the Ambarino region were more easily accessible and expanded slightly to both north and east.
    • On the leaked map, Roanoke Ridge and Grizzlies East extended significantly further to the northeast. Van Horn was originally on this area and north of Annesburg, and an area (possibly a gang hideout) called "Tallulah Jetty" occupied it's current spot. While made inaccessible, the northeastern off-map areas still show signs of the original plans as it has a lot of detail put into it.
    • Interestingly, the unreachable landmass that reaches all the way from west of Annesburg to the south of West Elizabeth has animal and canoe spawn pointsnote  and NPC A.I works in certain locations there. The fact that the shoreline has the same Gravity Barrier as other map edges suggests the player was meant to be able to reach the shoreline, but not much else.

    Locations - Minor 
While the unused regions/states/countries are the most noticeable change, there are also several minor changes to the map.
  • While the "Slaughterhouse" camp from the beta map is not in the final game (possibly replaced by Clemens Cove, which was not marked as a camp in the map) the Prinz & Co. slaughterhouse near Saint Denis has an inaccessible interior mesh, so it may have been repurposed as a prop building.
  • The entire interior of Gaptooth Breach exists in the game, but is blocked off.
  • Saint Denis was originally going to be called New Bordeaux, until Mafia III used the same name for its pastiche of New Orleans, which prompted Rockstar to change the name of their city.
  • Dewberry Creek is marked as a caravan camp instead of Clemens' Point. The island that houses Sisika Penitentiary was also a bit further to the north.
    • Related to the above, moving the map cursor just north of Sisika (where it was on the beta map), causes the game to display the "Wanted Dead or Alive" message that appears over restricted areas - a remnant of when it was located there.
  • Fort Wallace in Cumberland forest has a similar oversight, which confirms it was originally located in Ambarino. Its "Wanted" prompt appears just below the "GR" of "Grizzlies East" on the map, an area the map index calls "Fort Wallace, Grizzlies East". Wallace station was also located in Ambarino, presumably near the fort. While it is officially located in West Elisabeth, the station's info card claims it's in Ambarino, as does its water tower and a leftover signpost found under the main map.
  • Thieves Landing has interior files for an exotics shop like Van Horn, and the files mention both a fence (The town has a fence in Online) and a ticket shop, suggesting it was meant to be more than just a gang hideout.

    Plot & Characters 
  • According to the Houser brothers, around 5 hours of content were removed late in development. The only thing they specifically mentioned was a sub-plot about an another potential love interest for Arthur. According to Roger Clark, the love interest was supposedly Abigail, though cut voice lines suggests it might have been Eliza (see below).
  • It's been speculated that the game originally started before the Blackwater heist. This theory stems from the above mentioned 5-hour cut content, the route the gang takes to Colter, Arthur's unused lines in New Austin and his journal entries from before the game starts. However, going by the leaked map, The Grizzlies intro has always been planned since at least 2016.
    • During the intro cutscene, as the gang is traveling outside the map, some unique terrain data is loaded in. While the data is hidden in regular gameplay, using PC tools to load it results in a long, detailed road; it never appears outside of the cutscene, and most of it is never seen even in the cutscene. The most popular theory is that the player either rode through it on horseback while dialogue plays or that the player actually drove the wagon seen in the intro.
  • The Isabeau Katharina Zinsmeister missing persons poster, despite being mentioned in the official guidebook and being hinted in-game seems to end in a dead end, as no-one has managed to find anything despite months of searching. As Isabeau doesn't show up in the credits, it's assumed the quest is either unfinished or her body is extremely well hidden. Interestingly, the door that leads to the stairway in the Van Horn fence note  appears to be interactable, as taking cover next to it shows the "open door" prompt only for nothing to happen and walking into it seems to start the door opening animation before suddenly switching to the "door locked" animation. A young adult character model of her has also been found in the files for the PC version. There's even a piece of script that describes she needs to be brought to the Annesburg sheriff - no-one has been able to locate the script's trigger, and it's assumed the sidequest was gutted when Roanoke Ridge was scaled down.
    • Similarly, the mysterious caveman model from the files is mentioned in Ambarino scripting, likely as a Point-Of-Interest. In all likelyhood, he was meant to be found in a section of the map that later got cut.
  • Molly O'Shea was originally going to go to the mayor's party with Arthur and co. during "The Gilded Cage". The outfit she would have worn was found in the game files. She was cut from the mission for unknown reasons.
  • According to Roger Clark, Arthur’s son Isaac was actually in the game at one point. He was going to be an infant who died in Chapter 1.
  • Guido Martelli, one of Angelo Bronte's henchmen who later takes over for him in the epilogue has both a voice actor in the credits and a character model in the files. He does actually appear in the game, standing right beside Bronte during the mission "The Gilded Cage", but the fact that he had a voice actor suggests his role was originally much bigger.
  • Arthur is marked in the character model files as “Character 0” while John is “Character 3”, suggesting that there were two other playable characters somewhere along the line. A leak has suggested that originally the high-honor ending had you play the epilogue as John while low-honor was Dutch. Who the other character could possibly have been remains anyone’s guess.
  • John's character design/model in during the epilogue seems to have gone through several changes before Rockstar settled with the one used in the final game.
    • His 1899 hairstyle appears in several menu images, briefly appears in a pre-rendered cutscene during "A New Jerusalem", and there's even a slightly longer version of it in the files, which is never seen in the game itself - it's assumed to be a remnant of what John's hair growth was like.
    • Two of his vests were originally buttoned off to match their looks from the first game. The "Thompson" vest was kept completely open (this variant even appears in the credits), and his signature "Cowboy" vest had the lowest button open. Interestingly, the latter was later made available in Online. His range gloves were also altered in a patch - originally they were quite a bit smaller than every other variant, but their size was noticeably inflated, although the original mesh is still used if worn with a coat.
  • Voice lines from Eliza (Arthur's deceased lover), as well as characters mentioning her, can be found in the game files [1]. Not only that, but she was going to interact with John in the epilogue [2] suggesting she was going to be alive throughout the main story and epilogue. This complicates things, as Arthur can be seen walking away from two graves marked with crosses in the third trailer, which possibly means that Eliza's fate was changed relatively late into development.
  • A datamined loading screen has Mary on a boat with Arthur and Bill in their Guarma outfits suggesting there was another mission with her that got cut.
  • The sidequest "The Noblest of Men, and a Woman", originally involvemeeting up with five gunslingers instead of the four encountered in the final game. The cut fifth gunslinger, Frank Heck, has a model in the game's files, but even more interesting is that he would have been encountered in Tumbleweed, again, most certainly another remnant from when Arthur was meant to be able to explore New Austin.
  • As proven in this tweet, Seth Briars was/is intended to be an NPC in Red Dead Online, but was either cut for unknown reasons or is being reserved for a future update, most likely a Halloween-themed one considering his reputation as a grave robber/lover and his Ascended Extra status in Undead Nightmare.

    Game mechanics 
  • There's evidence that you could free roam with other gang members in your party. An (otherwise) accurate early leak mentions a Mass Effect like squad selection menu, there are several reports of gang members suddenly just starting to follow Morgan in free roam, and some gangs have dialogue where they refer to the player in plural.
  • Bobcats were intented to be in the game at some point.
  • In the same link as above, unused lines suggest that more towns had fences/horse fences, including Valentine, Blackwater, Manzanita Post, Lagras, Butcher's Creek and Benedict point. They could also forge papers for unknown effect (presumably making horses sell for higher). There was a "Millesani mine" outfit, and Emerald Ranch had a general store.
  • The Van Horn fence upstairs room is called "Exotics shop" in the files. Judging by the name, players could likely sell orchids there - in the final game, they can only be removed in Algernon's sidequest, making them the only plants that cannot be sold.
  • There's a ton of unused trinkets and talismans in the files, some which still have models and textures. In fact, some of them are even titled with the prefix used for Guarma.
    • The infamous meteor trinket mentioned in the official guide exists in the files but appears to be unavailable in gameplay. Allegedly it was meant to increase your resistance to heat and required 3 meteorite fragments to craft, but only two fragments exist in the final game and getting 3 through a glitch does nothing.
  • Game files include an unused mesh for the ranch pants, which aren't quite as skinny as those used in the final game. The current version was also altered with a patch, which slightly widened the sleeves to avoid clipping issues witch certain boots/spurs.

    Alleged developer reddit post 
  • Only 10 days after the game was released, someone claiming to be a Rockstar employee went on Reddit and listed a large amount of content that was allegedly planned and/or cut from the game. As usual, these kinds of leaks are to be taken with a grain of salt - however, this particular post became notable for containing info on many background details that would explain some oddities in the plot, references things that were later found in the codenote , and overall is a bit too accurate for a post made by random troll only 10 days after release. On the other hand, it also includes a lot of things that contradict previous canon and sound a bit too dark even for Rockstar (many of which involve children). Due to it's sheer accuracy a link to an archive is provided here, but it's probably a good idea to not trust it too much. Unless it's confirmed by Rockstar themselves, nothing from the list should be added to the game's pages on this site.
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