Red Dead Redemption 2 Developers Discuss How AI Has Improved Since Grand Theft Auto V

Developers from Rockstar Games discussed how Red Dead Redemption 2 has improved on a technical level in comparison to Grand Theft Auto V.

October 23, 2018

We are just days away from the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, and we are still learning lots of new things about it. While Rockstar did release Grand Theft Auto V on current-gen platforms, it was still fairly last-gen feeling in terms of AI. In an interview with VG 24/7, several developers from Rockstar discussed what improvements have been made to Red Dead Redemption 2’s AI at a technical level in comparison to even the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Grand Theft Auto V. 

Phil Hooker began by explaining how reactive and contextual the AI actually is to what Arthur Morgan does, and how there is a ton going on “under the hood” in order to make this possible. A lot of what happens in Red Dead Redemption 2 simply wouldn’t be possible on the PS3 and Xbox 360.

When asked why these AI improvements weren’t retroactively implemented into Grand Theft Auto V for PS4 and Xbox One, Phil Hooker explained that too much would’ve had to change at a technical level to have made that very feasible:

“[Grand Theft Auto V is] such a complex mixture of animation, AI, and dialogue that we couldn’t unravel it without fear of breaking such a complex game. The truth is, every part of the team came out of working on GTA 5 next gen with a real understanding of the hardware and incredible passion and motivation to carry out numerous technical revolutions in nearly every area.”

Red Dead Redemption 2′s Graphics Technical Director Alex Hadjadj also re-iterated that Rockstar used the development of Grand Theft Auto V for PS4 and Xbox One as a learning experience to become familiar with the hardware:

“By starting with a game designed for last gen, and pushing it as far as we could, we got a better idea of what was achievable on this generation of hardware. Once screen resolution, texture size and draw distances were defined in a sustainable way, it highlighted the areas we needed to focus on for the next big step – things like a global lighting solution, atmospheric effects, or post processing and presentation”

Klaas Schilstra, Director of Engineering at Rockstar, also chimed in to discuss the specific differences between the world and AI requirements of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2:

RDR is slower paced than GTA, but it’s also deeply textured and extremely detailed. hat came through in the graphics in general as Alex said, but also in the detail of what the scene contains. For GTA, we needed a crowd to walk the streets. For RDR, we had to have a populated town of recognizable individuals, and each character in that town needs to do be believable, and seen to be doing something meaningful. It’s possible to recognize the beginnings of this in the technology for GTA 5, but at the same time every one of our systems has evolved beyond recognition to make RDR possible.”

Red Dead Redemption 2 will release for PS4 and Xbox One on October 26. If you want to have the game physically on launch, you still have a chance to pre-order it with release day shipping on Amazon. 

Tomas Franzese

Tomas Franzese is a News Editor at DualShockers, writing a variety of reviews and shedding light on upcoming games for both PC and consoles. While he has been a gamer most of his life, he began writing for DualShockers in 2016 and has almost never put his computer or a controller down since.

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