The recent gameplay trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2 mostly covered how developer Rockstar Games plans to create a deeper open-world experience. One of the ways it’s hoping to accomplish that is through more meaningful NPC interactions, and part of that is changing the way that players use their guns.
During the trailer, protagonist Arthur Morgan is seen interacting with a few different NPCs in different contexts. Interactions seem to be initiated by locking onto the NPC with L2/LT, kind of like how Zelda’s Z-targeting is used to talk to friendly NPCs in towns. Hard- or soft-locking onto an NPC in Red Dead Redemption 2 seems to bring up several interaction options, depending on the context, with the base choices revolving around either antagonizing the NPC or acting friendly towards them.
But there was one option that really caught my eye: pressing R2 would make Arthur aim his weapon.
Generally, the right trigger is the shoot button, and there’s usually no middle step between pressing R2/RT and killing an NPC. The fact that R2/RT is seemingly tied, at least in this context, to aiming the weapon brings up a lot of questions about how NPC interaction will play out.
Without having played the game, I think we can assume that aiming your weapon at an NPC counts an act of aggression. The weird thing is that there are already separate button prompts for antagonizing or intimidating NPCs.
So what does that mean for the R2/RT function? It’s already a bit unconventional that the shoot button would be contextualized in that way. Generally, the shoot/attack button is consistent, no matter the context. It’s possible that aiming your weapon in Red Dead Redemption 2 is simply a stronger intimidation method than verbally threatening the NPCs. It’s also possible that some NPCs will cower at the sight of a firearm, while others will whip out their guns and aim them right back at you.
We just don’t know, but one thing we can assume is that, at least when it comes to the context of these interactions, you’ll probably have to press the trigger button twice if you want to shoot an NPC.
If this is actually how this mechanic works, it might take away a tiny bit of power from the weapon itself, but it will potentially make firing a gun a much more powerful decision. Aiming a gun is powerful enough, Rockstar seems to be saying. Having to ask yourself whether you really, truly need to shoot an innocent NPC by making you press the button a second time could be an impactful statement, if that’s how this mechanic ends up playing out.
The beautiful lighting and excellent animations might bring Red Dead Redemption 2‘s world to life, but it’s mechanics like this that will make the game immersive.