Whether you’re already knee-deep in the swampy bogs of Lemoyne or trying to pull your company out of the snow-capped ice coffins of the Ambarino mountains, there’s no mistaking the visual feast accompanying every backdrop within Red Dead Redemption 2. We can see how much it’s evolved from GTA V. In an interview with Polygon, Rockstar North Art Director Aaron Garbut stated the team wasn’t looking to film or art for inspiration, explaining the need for a less passive experience.
We were building a place, not a linear or static representation, so while in the past we had looked to both, it no longer seemed as necessary or relevant. We are not building a passive experience. […] Numerous systems in our lighting, cameras, weather and time of day come together with the player’s actions and the world and characters we have built to create something unique and constantly changing.
Garbut went on to explain that the connection between sky and landscape was an integral component of bringing RDR2’s setting to life in a way that felt ever-changing. By building the relationship between sky and landscape as one that melds the two seamlessly, players will have a more visceral sense of immersion when dramatic weather changes occur. To give this relationship an aesthetically pleasing form, Rockstar looked to landscape paintings for inspiration:
[We] looked to reality, we looked to the places that we were riffing from. […] However, there were certain areas like lighting where there were some direct inspirations. Owen Shepherd, our lighting director, looked to the pastoral and landscape painters like Turner, Rembrandt and American landscape painters from the 19th century such as Albert Bierstadt, Frank Johnson, and Charles Russell.
The general consensus from those already playing RDR2 seems to be that Rockstar’s landscapes are masterful, crafted expertly with truly inspired methods. But if spectacle isn’t something to make you make you purchase a game, I urge you to read our review of the game, because there’s plenty to do within it.
Who else is enjoying the beautiful scenery in RDR2? Let us know in the comments.