It’s safe to say that the ending to Red Dead Redemption is one of the most shocking endings in video game history. The controversial ending left fans of the game reeling, and it even wound up costing a great deal more money and manpower to pull off. Despite these challenges, the game’s ending had the full support of the higher-ups at Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive.
This is according to Red Dead Redemption lead game designer and co-writer Christian Cantamassa, who gave a lecture at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris. During the lecture, Cantamassa discussed the challenges of pulling off Red Dead Redemption‘s ending, which means that anyone reading on should be weary of spoilers.
For those that have completed the game, it’s no secret that Red Dead Redemption hero John Marston is shot dead at the end. This ending was especially shocking since Rockstar’s open world games have always allowed players to keep playing after finishing the main story, but it seemed like John’s death would have made that impossible. To solve this problem, the developers decided to let players continue exploring the Wild West as John’s son Jack, and even seek revenge for his father in an epilogue of sorts.
The decision to have players take control of a completely different character at the end of the game meant a lot more work had to be done during development. For example, a slew of new dialogue had to be recorded for when players started playing as Jack instead of John, and new motion capture work was also necessary. Considering the added cost associated with this extra work, it may have made more financial sense for Rockstar and Take-Two to nix the idea, but instead his bosses decided to give Cantamassa the opportunity to tell the story his way.
Ultimately, the twist ending at the end of Red Dead Redemption makes it an even more memorable game, and so the decision to kill off John may have been for the best. And if some recent rumors are true, the ending will not go to waste in the sequel, as John’s son Jack Marston may very well be Red Dead Redemption 2‘s main playable character.
Red Dead Redemption is available now for PS3 and Xbox 360.