Rockstar Games is a well-known game developer with a long and varied history. Most of its titles are the most anticipated releases of their respective years, and the company's popularity has continued to grow as time passes. With each new release, Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto have become accustomed to massive sales, but the developer has neglected a few franchises like Bully, Max Payne, and L.A. Noire in favor of ensuring that only two are nurtured to become industry leaders in storytelling,
It's become much easier to compare the two franchises as both have an open world and extensive emphasis on character development and cinematic storytelling. The differences are as subtle as the similarities, though, and there will be players who obsess over one while neglecting the other.
Red Dead Redemption is About Story
While the Grand Theft Auto franchise has always included a narrative, the storytelling in Red Dead Redemption has always been an exception, as both stories seamlessly tie together to create a western experience unlike any other in the video game industry.
Theft Auto's storytelling does seem to be different, in that each quest line is presented in a manner that's unfamiliar to movie enthusiasts, but the franchise has yet to craft a narrative that stands out from the rest. In Red Dead Redemption, it's usually the funny and unexpected scenes that the player creates while distracted from the main story.
The Social Commentary of Grand Theft Auto
As a result of the present socio-political situation, Grand Theft Auto has always been a parody of life itself. Many of GTA's funny or depressing moments are because the games' events mirror what's happening in the real world, although in a much more exaggerated manner.
Red Dead Redemption's setting in the wild west means it doesn't need to rely much on current social commentary, but does well to include historical themes such as women's voting rights and Native American survival. Maybe that's the point; Red Dead Redemption isn't a franchise that relies on comedy as a pillar of its success, so naturally, it'll differ in its tone as well as its handling of real-world situations and talking points.
Red Dead Redemption has a character, and GTA has a setting.
The aforementioned characters are certainly worth a mention in Grand Theft Auto, but John Marston and Arthur Morgan are equally worthy of a mention in the sequel to Vice City. Both Arthur Morgan and Tommy Vercetti's often-reluctant journey towards the light or Marston's constant struggle with the past he left behind are simply far better.
Where Grand Theft Auto excels is in its setting. New Austin is a shambles-like dust bowl, while New Hannover (and its surrounding areas) is stunning and diverse, but they are so fun to explore and simply exist in. Whether it's Arthur or John, creating chaos on the sun-soaked streets of Los Santos or the drab, purpose-built structures of Liberty City isn't needed. The real main character is the area that players are exploring.
Some Similarities, Even More Differences
Both Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption have broad open worlds, stunning visual effects, and great production value. On the surface, it's easy to assume that the other is a recreation of the other, just in a different context, but this isn't the case. GTA will appeal to those who wish to create their own story by using the tools it offers.
As focusing on the two industry leaders, time will tell whether Rockstar Games is right to put other franchises to the side, but both operate at different ends of the single-player spectrum. The similarities are obvious, but the similarities between Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto are what make them exceptional, as well as ensuring that Rockstar remains one of the most popular gaming developers.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is now available on PC, PS4, Stadia, and Xbox One.