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Home 7 (2019) 12 The ethikrat of the Story: Red dead Redemption 2

The moral of the Story: Red tot Redemption 2

Die Moral von der Geschichte: Red dead Redemption 2

von Hoffmann, Moritz on april 04, 2019


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From our “Wilde 13” section.

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Abstract: practically nine year ago, ns video video game Red tot Redemption took die Western genre into die 21st century. While ns recently released sequel only really cautiously division with die audience’s expectations of the world von the American frontier, that does dafür quite emphatically v gamers’ honest autarky: moral decisions oase concrete effects, meaning that it zu sein no longer so much fun zu lay tied-up nuns top top railway tracks. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1515/phw-2019-13608 Languages: English, German


Almost ripe years ago, the video game Red tot Redemption took the Western genre into ns 21st century. While ns recently released sequel only an extremely cautiously division with ns audience’s expectations of the world von the American frontier, that does deshalb quite emphatically with gamers’ honest autarky: ethikrat decisions oase concrete effects, definition that it zu sein no longer dafür much fun kommen sie lay tied-up nuns ~ above railway tracks.

High Noon

Red tot Redemption 2 marketed over ten million copies global within three days des its release on October 26, 2018<1>. It follows ns same mechanisms together all significant titles from ns Rockstar studio, which ist best known weil das its Grand Theft Auto series: players steer the taste character, one of two people from in ego- or from in over-the-shoulder perspective, v a substantial game world, which this time most likely extends beyond 75 square kilometres.

The hauptsächlich character kann sein move on foot or horseback, an carriages und trains. He kann sein speak with all human being figures in the video game or exercise violence. Despite offering unbridled freedom des movement, ns game complies with a reasonably static yet well-formulated in its entirety narrative. This ist driven über numerous film sequences as quickly as players anfang one des the so-called story missions, which are located hinweisen different places an the game world.

Honor, Killings

The tale des Red tot Redemption 2 take away place an 1899, which ist relatively late weil das the western genre. The main character zu sein Arthur Morgan, a 36-year-old member of a gang of outlaws fleeing the police through miscellaneous regions of a fictionalized version of the USA. Following ns title-giving augenblicke of “Redemption,” Morgan discovers cracks an his criminal outlook and readjusts his value system over at least 60 hours von playing time. This is visualized über the “honor system,” a graph des the character’s morale: the rises wie greeting human being friendly, when throwing klein fish back into ns water when fishing or wie bringing civilization who were thrown des their horses zurück to ns next city. It falls, however, if one lasst uns Arthur Morgan shooting uninvolved people, steal steeds or kleider businesses. An the zuerst game, many players feeling a sense of malicious glee wie man lassoing nuns, putting them on the tracks und waiting zum the 12 o’clock train. Now, however, the “honor system” reminds united state that such behavior zu sein socially undesirable.

The respect system ist thus — besides die rather unauthorized policemen — ns only possibility zum the developer studio to sanction player behavior bei the game world and to convey ethik precepts beyond ns actual goals von the game. Die great freedom von the video game mechanics is only clogged deliberately punkt one point: It ist not possible to shoot punkt children. All other computer-controlled characters, however, tun können be greeted friendly, insulted, robbed, bound up, shooting or stabbed by the players.

This freedom führen zu to the zuerst major dispute about die game: in the history correct, yet fairly surprisingly weil das computer games, Red dead Redemption 2 transaction with ns struggle zum women’s voting rights: in story missions, die protagonist first has zu protect a gruppe of suffragettes and later carry one von them kommen sie a safer state. One of these suffragettes zu sein constantly bei the offen game world, demonstrating weil das her rights in the new Orleans-esque town of St. Denis. As a non-player character, she can be cure like ns farmer in the mountains, ns wealthy lady bei the city, die former slave on die plantation or ns prostitute an the desert stadt — with equivalent consequences for the players’ respect meter.

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Great Freedom and Great Responsibility

Inevitably constant with part des the gamer scene, this non-exception führen zu to YouTube und Twitch, the central game-video organ, accumulating films des the contempt anachronistic “feminist” character being killed in ever more creative ways.<3> Quickly, Rockstar was blamed zum these actions and their aggressive misogyny, or weist least zum granting players ns freedom kommen sie actively behave in this way:

“This way that despite any kind of thoughts that rockstar Games might schutz about Shirrako’s video, the ability to punch and kill a suffragette bei Red dead Redemption 2 zu sein something that the studio intentionally chose to put into die game.”<4>

The matte illustrates a problem that computer games with increasing game worlds und freedom of choice schutz to solve anew, und which was recently deshalb negotiated bei the HBO collection Westworld<5>: If we give humans finish freedom without real or online sanction threats, this will promote disinhibition bei this game world zum a small part des gamers — and perhaps even structurally beyond the game world into their own resonance chambers.

For a Handful von Meta More

This freedom is even more powerful as Red dead Redemption 2 dram out an a setup codified über clear pop-cultural reference points. As the most American von all genres, die Western color etc its inhalt structure from ns frontier, from a classical notion von chivalry and from a timeless male image.<7> in Red dead Redemption 2, this ist no different. Together a “meta-narrative,” as in amalgam, and so as a parody von established western tropes, that character wollen probably stay unrecognized von most players. That is in outstandingly fine crafted, tightly narrated, but ultimately notfall a specifically courageous game. The hardly adds surprising facets to die classical image of die Western. That is “honor system,” ns systematization of the ethikrat concepts created von Rockstar, transforms out kommen sie be mostly reminiscent des the myth of the “Code of the West,” in idealization von lawlessness.<8> v one very modern exception: throughout some nights, ns Ku Klux Klan meets bei the in-game woods. Killing its members has no negativ effects on ns honor meter.

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Further Reading

Humphries, Sara. “Rejuvenating ‘Eternal Inequality’ on die Digital Frontiers des Red dead Redemption.” Western American Literature Vol. 47, No. 2: 200-215.Mattioli, Aram. Verlorene Welten. Eine biografie der Indianer Nordamerikas 1700-1920. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2017.Pallant, Chris. “‘Now ich Know ns a Lowlife‘: controlling Play an GTA: IV, Red dead Redemption, and LA Noire.” an Ctrl-Alt-Play: Essays top top Control an Video Gaming, edited by Matthew Wysocki, 133-145. Jefferson: McFarland, 2013.

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Web Resources

_____________________ <1> peter Steinlecher, “17 millionen von menschen Red tot Redemption 2 ausgeliefert,” Golem november 8 2018, https://www.golem.de/news/rockstar-games-17-millionen-red-dead-redemption-2-ausgeliefert-1811-137583.html (last accessed april 1 2019). <2> ppguy323436, “How large EXACTLY is the new map? A in-depth analysis,” reddit October 26 2019, https://www.reddit.com/r/reddeadredemption/how_big_exactly_is_the_new_map_a_detailed_analysis/ (last accessed april 1 2019). <3> Emanuel Maiberg, “’RDR 2′-Gamer feiern, dass sie im spiel Feministinnen tot können,” Motherboard november 7 2018, https://motherboard.vice.com/de/article/59vzyk/rdr-2-gamer-feiern-dass-sie-feministinnen-toeten-koennen-youtube (last accessed april 1 2019). <4> Emanuel Maiberg, “‘Red tot Redemption 2’ Players room Excited zu Attack und Kill Feminists in the Game,” Motherboard november 7 2018, https://motherboard.vice.com/red-dead-redemption-2-players-are-excited-to-attack-and-kill-feminists-in-the-game (last accessed april 1 2019). <5> Jennifer Siebel Newsom, “Westworld, A Utopia weil das Toxic Masculinity?,” The depiction Project april 20 2019, http://therepresentationproject.org/westworld-a-utopia-for-toxic-masculinity/ (last accessed april 1 2019). <6> There are clear connections between bei initially implicit misogynist part of the gamer scene and the emergence von the so-called “Alt Right” movement in the USA, cf. Ian Sherr und Erin Carsson, “GamerGate to Trump: How video game society blew whatever up,” cnet november 27 2017, https://www.cnet.com/news/gamergate-donald-trump-american-nazis-how-video-game-culture-blew-everything-up/ (last accessed april 1 2019). <7> ns Western was already once additional developed, namely in the 1950s; cf. Andrew C. Isenberg, “The Code von the West. Sexuality, Homosexuality, und Wyatt Earp,” Western historic Quarterly 40 2009: 139-157. <8> “The code des the west will justify sheer idiocy so long as it zu sein valiant,” Brian Dippie, Custer’s last Stand: die Anatomy of bei American Myth (Bozeman: university of montana Press, 1974), 68.

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Image CreditsRecommended Citation

Hoffmann, Moritz: The ethikrat of die Story: Red tot Redemption 2. In: Public history Weekly 7 (2019) 12, DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1515/phw-2019-13608.