Red Dead Redemption’s Horses Were a Huge Hurdle for Rockstar

May 28, 2010Written by Jonathan Leack

After a 2-year hiatus, Rockstar have finally released another epic sandbox title to add to their collection. Red Dead Redemption was the first game by Rockstar to be featured in the Wild West environment, and with that undertaking came a great deal of challenge. One of the many challenges involved the horses in the game, and according to Rockstar it became a big obstacle.

While interviewing the development team at Rockstar, the UK PlayStation Blog learned just how difficult it was to make the horse-riding experience in Red Dead Redemption feel and look right. When asked about how the team made the horse movements seem so realistic, the team replied:

Making the horses look and move believably was a long, arduous and messy process that included shooting our own motion capture of horses in action, right down to sticking the little white balls all over the horse in order to get the most accurate capture data and picking them all up and sticking them back on when they would fall off.

They added:

We had a famous stunt horse called Blanco and a very accomplished rider to put him through his paces. Capturing the horse’s real, natural movements, as well as the way the horse and rider worked together, was an amazing experience. Once we had the capture data, it was a case of choosing the right breeds, watching films and videos of them in motion and even using some of our facial animation technology to recreate the muscle movements. We’re immensely proud of the horses in Red Dead Redemption – they’re like nothing ever seen in a game before.

Horse movements have been known to be an incredibly different integration for video game developers. The muscle and leg movements have looked awkward in just about every title of the past that has tried to simulate realistic movement. Overall, Rockstar have done a great job with not only the horses, but with the game as a whole. Movements for the characters both ingame and in cutscene are stunning, and are worthy of praise.

Be sure to check out our review for Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption if you haven’t already.