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Red Dead Features You Never Knew Were Cut

The Red Dead franchise as a whole consists of Red Dead RevolverRed Dead Redemption, and Red Dead Redemption 2. According to HowLongTobeat.com, these are seven-hour, 18-hour, and 48-hour games, respectively. Clocking in at around 73 hours in total, then, the Red Dead series includes more than three straight days worth of gameplay based on these averages. Crafting a compelling video game franchise of that magnitude inevitably means a considerable amount of ideas are left on the cutting room floor.


Over the course of designing each entry in the Red Dead series, the developers at Rockstar ultimately removed some pieces of content once planned for inclusion. However, evidence of that content remains in both footage of earlier versions of Red Dead titles and unused data included among the games' files. Countless players have progressed through the entirety of the Red Dead franchise unaware of this multitude of removed game elements. With that, here are some noteworthy Red Dead features you never knew were cut.

Timed missions in Red Dead Revolver

While subsequent entries in the series would be defined by open world gameplay, Red Dead Revolver is entirely mission-based. Progressing through the game, then, is a largely linear experience. The only change in pace from its discrete levels is an explorable hub town with some resident NPCs. Due to its level-based design, Red Dead Revolver is much closer to an arcade game than either Red Dead Redemption. That said, earlier versions of Revolver once included a notable arcade game-inspired element absent from its final version: a timer.


A trailer for an early version of Red Dead Revolver (developed by Capcom, which ultimately abandoned the project) features a prominent timer at the top of the screen. It counts downward, suggesting players had a limited amount of time to clear each level. At the end of each stage in the final build of Red Dead Revolver is a results screen that provides players with an assessment of their performance. Among the metrics tracked is the total amount of time spent to complete a level. That said, the final version of the game's levels include no time constraints, merely tracking time to measure the player's efficiency.

'The Smell of Grease Paint' mission in Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption 2 includes a mission called "The Smell of Grease Paint." In it, protagonist Arthur Morgan aids members of a traveling sideshow at the Van Horn Trading Post. Its events have virtually no impact on the game's story, simply concluding in a comic performance by the sideshow. That said, the mission has roots in Red Dead history. Its current form is ultimately a version of a side quest originally intended for the first Red Dead.


Based on audio remnants of the planned Red Dead mission, protagonist John Marston would have received an inciting request from a lonely stranger. He was then tasked with recruiting a giant to become friends with the quest-giver. However, upon returning to see him, John found out that the giant had become murderous, and had the option to kill him.

Certain details of the mission in its primordial state and as it appears in Red Dead Redemption 2 differ. That said, fans have noticed that the two central characters in the scrapped Red Dead mission are nearly identical in appearance to those in "The Smell of Grease Paint" in Red Dead 2.

A dead horse

Fans looking into Red Dead Redemption's code have found a dead horse including among its various unused data. The dead horse — more accurately undead, given that it's fully animated despite an emaciated appearance — is rideable, just like its living brethren. However, there's currently no way to even make use of a glitch or exploit to obtain the dead horse in-game. Players have only been able to encounter it by editing or modding a save file.


Though the dead horse is fully present in the code of Red Dead Redemption in its base form, it may have at one point been intended as a mount unique to the Undead Nightmare zombie expansion. This is suggested by the fact that when John rides the mount in Undead Nightmare it has unlimited stamina.

The dead horse's character model does, in fact, appear in Red Dead Redemption, though it's non-functional. During the mission "Spare the Love, Spoil the Child," John saves his son Jack from a grizzly bear. There, players can encounter the corpse of Jack's horse after being mauled to death by said bear. That corpse is the same in appearance as the rideable zombie horse.

Hunting bats

Hunting is among the key features of both Red Dead Redemption games. It's featured in a number of quests as well as simply a component of both games' open worlds. Accordingly, nearly all wild animals can be caught and killed. They can then serve as both sources of meat and their pelts as items for crafting or selling. However, in the first Red Dead Redemption, bats remain the sole exception. Bats cannot be hunted or skinned, only killed.


That wasn't always going to be the case. A screenshot from an early build of Red Dead Redemption shows bat wings as included among several items procured by John from hunting various animals. Bat wings are no longer an item in Red Dead Redemption, but presumably would have been obtained from bat hunting.

Bats are unique in that they're small and travel in large swarms. Thus, a single shot from a shotgun can take out multiple bats at once. Players therefore could have obtained and thus sold a considerable number of bat wings by taking advantage of this fact. Rockstar may have simply wanted to prevent players from exploiting such a simple source of revenue.

A second love interest in Red Dead Redemption 2

Despite the game's considerable size, romance doesn't play a major role in Red Dead Redemption 2. The only semblance of a romantic interest for protagonist Arthur Morgan is Mary Linton. However, she's more of a figure from his past than an active romantic prospect in his present.


According to one of Rockstar's co-founders Dan Houser in an interview with Vulture, Red Dead Redemption's writers had planned at one point to incorporate two love interest for Arthur. Houser didn't go into great detail about the game's initial two romance options, stating that one of those two characters simply didn't work. Thus, much of the planned romance was removed from Red Dead 2.

One of the two love interests mentioned by Houser is likely Mary. The identity of the other character, and even whether or not it's even that of a character included in the game's final build, remain up for debate. In-depth speculation by Reddit user SkippingTheDots posits that Arthur's second love interest is likely to have been Sadie. The post cites as evidence a description of Sadie by Rockstar hinting that she has a special affinity for Arthur.


An extensive train mission

In an interview with GameSpot, Arthur Morgan voice actor Roger Clark described a mission that was ultimately cut from the final version of Red Dead Redemption 2. In it, Arthur fought on a train alongside Dutch van der Linde against a group of bounty hunters from Boston. Though the mission he outlined is likely far from the only mission scrapped during the development of Red Dead 2, it nevertheless stood out to Clark as particularly entertaining.


Dutch voice actor Benjamin Byron Davis has also weighed in, describing how he and Clark spent a considerable amount of time recording lines for the mission. He theorized that it ultimately didn't make the final build of the game after failing to meet Rockstar's high standard of quality. Furthermore, Davis noted that Red Dead 2 already includes its fair share of missions in which Arthur and Dutch work together. Thus, the train mission may have been superfluous for that reason as well.

Clark went on to hint at the full scope of unused content in Red Dead Redemption 2, stating that "the amount of good things that they let go of is ... well, that's too much information."

A more tragic backstory for Arthur's son, Isaac

Among a number of tragic moments in Arthur's lengthy story over the course of Red Dead Redemption 2 is the death of his son, Isaac. Arthur describes not exactly being present for Isaac's upbringing, visiting Isaac and his mother only on a periodic basis. During one of those visits, he learns that they were both murdered during the time he was away. That said, Isaac's death in the original Red Dead 2 story was once going to be considerably more harrowing.


The initial plan for Isaac's death was revealed in a panel at the 2019 SacAnime Convention in Sacramento, Calif. featuring some of the creatives behind Red Dead Redemption 2. Arthur Morgan voice actor Roger Clark explained, in response to a fan question, that Red Dead 2 in its very early stages was going to begin with Arthur escaping with Isaac in tow as a newborn baby. Isaac was then going to die of hypothermia. Given that Isaac's backstory in the final version of the game is still plenty sad, it seems that his death as an infant may have simply been deemed excessive.

A Neanderthal NPC

Like Red Dead Redemption and its dead horse before it, Red Dead Redemption 2 contains a number of detailed, unused character models within its own game files. Dataminers have shared a number of those models online, serving as hints of characters that likely once played a role in Arthur Morgan's journey.


Among Red Dead Redemption 2's unused character models is what appears to be a Neanderthal. When the discovery was first shared to Reddit, one of the top comments theorized that it might have been intended for an existing, mysterious giant NPC. The giant is a character Arthur can visit in a remote cave. Arthur can talk to the giant, but can never actually see him. Therefore the Neanderthal very well could have been intended for a version of the giant Arthur could once encounter in the flesh.

Another possible explanation for the Neanderthal is that it was meant to be a new, quasi-fantastical NPC. The Undead Nightmare DLC for the first Red Dead Redemption includes a sasquatch encounter. Thus, Arthur Morgan running into a living Neanderthal in some sort of bonus mission could have once been planned in this same, mystical vein.


Story content in New Austin

New Austin is one of the two primary locations in which the original Red Dead Redemption takes place. It's fully explorable in Red Dead Redemption 2 as well. That said, this is only possible within the game's epilogue, which stars not Arthur but a different character entirely. Visiting New Austin, then, serves as something of a post-game reward for players nostalgic for the location and its importance to the prior Red Dead. New Austin is thus entirely absent from the main game and Arthur's story.


However, some fans of the game have uncovered evidence that this was not always going to be the case. A screenshot circulated on Twitter, for example, includes visual evidence of Arthur undertaking a story mission in New Austin. Furthermore, taking advantage of an exploit to explore New Austin as Arthur reveals that the game includes dialogue unique to when he's in the area. Since Red Dead Redemption 2's runtime is considerable without him ever visiting New Austin, the area was likely cut from Arthur's story to better showcase the plot elements that were ultimately included.

Tempest Rim

Surrounding the explorable map in Red Dead Redemption 2 are considerable, unexplorable swaths of land. Given that they're viewable but not traversable, their inclusion appears to be for the sake of providing the player with a sense that the world Arthur inhabits extends beyond its in-game borders.


Naturally, players have found exploits to explore many of those locations. Tempest Rim is one of said supplementary regions, located to the north of the in-game map. The area can be most easily accessed by camping west of Barrow Lagoon. Leaving camp will then spawn players beyond the invisible barrier normally blocking Tempest Rim. Some signs, however, point to Tempest Rim once being fully explorable and not mere scenery. Wildlife, for example, can be found in the area, though a glitch keeps animals from moving in its snowy areas.

The prevailing theory about its original purpose is that it was going to be the location of Colter, which is the town that serves as Arthur's home base in the game's opening chapter. In a leaked early version of Red Dead 2's in-game map, Colter appears nearly identical in shape to what ended up becoming Tempest Rim.


More Guarma

The island of Guarma is unlike New Austin and Tempest Rim in that it serves as the setting for some important story content. That said, players can only ever explore Guarma during a single, isolated chapter of the game. After that section is completed, players cannot return. However, like with most locked areas, fans have discovered a reliable glitch allowing them to explore Guarma freely. Those who have done so found a much bigger swath of land than that to which the player is confined in a glitchless playthrough. A leaked early version of Red Dead Redemption 2's map too shows a region with more named areas than the parts of the island ultimately featured in the game's final build.


Though the unused portions of Guarma are relatively barren, players can find some of the wildlife unique to the island there. This suggests that additional gameplay in Guarma was indeed once planned. Fans of the game have described the Guarma portion in particular as feeling rushed, further supporting the theory that there was originally more to do on the island early in the game's development.