One of the key areas of Red Dead Redemption 2's gameplay that Rockstar has focused on is how horses work. The bond with your steed is as important as your speed on the draw, and in the upcoming open-world western sequel there will be ample opportunity to ensure main character Arthur Morgan makes the most of his companion.
At a recent hands-on event, we got the opportunity to learn more about how horses work; specifically, how they can be developed. In Red Dead Redemption 2, players will be able to establish and cultivate bonds with their horses. There are a total of four levels a bond can progress through, and each new level provides better response from and control of your horse, in addition to new abilities.
At bond level two your horse will be able to pivot quicker and also do something akin to a skid. Naturally, this will make getting around much easier, and we foresee it being very useful for chase sequences or navigating tighter environments. We're also hoping that we'll be able to drift horses around corners because that would be ridiculous and pretty cool.
As the bond level grows, horses will become more resilient and dedicated to sticking by your side through thick and thin. Early on in the game, they can become spooked by gunfire and other dangerous things in the environment, but the longer you spend caring for it and investing in your relationship, the more fearless a horse becomes. Of course, the world of Red Dead Redemption 2 will throw up all kinds of dangers, and you'll need to ensure your horse is ready for them. In our gameplay demo our level three horse was sent galloping through a swampy area; however, the rattling of snakes and hissing of an alligator freaked it out--clearly it was in need of more training.
Another advantage to spending time bonding with your horses is, eventually, you'll be able to unlock dressage, allowing you to put on a little show for everyone around you. Perhaps a more useful perk, however, is the ability to call your horse over from a greater distance.
As touted in Red Dead Redemption 2's first gameplay trailer, new interactivity options mean that players will have a deeper level of engagement with the world around them. This extends to horses too, since you can calm them, groom them, and generally ensure they're healthy and happy. Horses function as transport, inventory storage, and also as a companion.
Rockstar released a second Red Dead Redemption 2 gameplay trailer on October 1, showing off more open-world action. It focused on how the game gets players into missions and activities in a way that feels natural, revealed more about the new Deadeye system, and showed off the first-person mode.
Red Dead Redemption 2's release date has been confirmed as October 26 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A number of special editions will be available, and you can get details on all of them in our Red Dead Redemption pre-order guide. Red Dead Redemption 2's online mode is set to launch as a beta in November. Rockstar has warned players to expect "teething problems," as is typical of most betas.