Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t getting much love from Rockstar, as the company shifts its focus away from updating Red Dead Online, and, supposedly, towards the development of Grand Theft Auto 6. Players are frustrated, let down, and pained – and we think we’ve found the perfect metaphor, courtesy of a horrendous cutscene glitch, which transforms John Marston’s joyful house-building project into an existential, cougar-filled nightmare.
As posted by YouTuber Brother Foller, a bug in the late game of Red Dead Redemption 2 seems to have spawned a cougar — that giant, man-eating, instant-kill cat that normally preys around Benedict’s Point — into the cutscene where John, Charles, and Uncle are building the Martson ranch. It’s one of the happiest and most memorable moments of RDR 2, punctuated by that wonderful “House Building Song” by Johnny Cash collaborator David Ferguson. Only now, it’s hell, as John’s hammering and nailing is constantly interrupted by a furious cougar, bursting into the scene like the Kool-Aid Man, and savaging him to the ground while Charles and Uncle hopelessly watch on.
It’s hard to pick out a favourite moment here. This is the perfect image of a videogame desperately trying to keep itself together, while also being torn apart, literally, by its own programming. But at two minutes, 43 seconds, when John’s threat-detection AI seems to kick in, forcing his head to turn away from the board he’s nailing, and towards the incoming predatory cat, while all the while, since he’s locked in a cutscene, he’s also powerless to move, has to take the prize. As Brother Foller rightly notes, this is the face of “stress”.
Though not quite in the way we would hope, glitches like this prove there’s still life in Red Dead Redemption 2, at least until July 13, when players are planning its huge, online funeral.