In Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar wants you to be best friends with your horse. In Red Dead Redemption, the horses were beautiful and obedient and always just a whistle away, and Rockstar talked about letting you bond with your horse, but they didn’t fully commit. After riding a horse for long enough, it would become loyal, but nobody really knew what that meant. Here’s an 8-year-old GameFAQs thread of players trying to figure it out. It’s two pages of speculation punctuated by this cold but concise critique: “A horse is just transportation for me.” – zooknut. That was the problem with Red Dead’s horses. They were just vehicles.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is gonna change your relationship to horses in a few key ways. First of all, they don’t magically teleport to you whenever you whistle. If they’re not within earshot, they won’t come running. Breath of the Wild took the same approach. You had to keep track of your horse, and in a game about being in a vast, lonely wilderness, they were your only friend. Red Dead Redemption 2 gives you another reason to stay close to your horse: Your horse has all your guns. Your inventory is limited to what an actual cowboy could carry. So if you want more than a few weapons, you’ll have to stow the extras on your horse. But it’s not just a moving weapons locker, you’re actually gonna want to take care of it. You can brush them or give them tasty treats. Having a healthy relationship with your horse will unlock new movement abilities, like sideways trotting, this sick drifting maneuver, and even some light dressage.
Red Dead 2 is so dedicated to their horses that they actually added a full horse menu. We don’t have footage of it, but here’s how it works: In addition to the brushing and feeding that we already talked about, you can remove the horse’s saddle. This might mean you can ride bareback. *eyebrow, Russ laughs in the background* You can also command your horse to flee. This might be useful if you want to keep your horse safe in a gunfight or another dangerous situation. You can pet them! Because it’s nice to pet a horse. And you can lead them by the bridle. We’re not sure what the gameplay purpose of this is, but it’s romantic. And last, but not least, there is an option called “Study Horse,” which just lets you bask in their equine glory. “That’s a nice horse!” The granularity of these horse options really hammers home the point that Rockstar wants you to care about your horse. In Red Dead Redemption 2, horses aren’t just an anonymous, disposable vehicle. They are a companion. And they need you just as much as you need them.