Bruce Straley, co-director for The Last Of Us and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, has ironically criticised Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 for being linear and removing choices. Although Straley is a masterful director who has the best pose when playing video games on E3’s presentation stages, his remarks about a lack of choice and being forced to do what the story requires is more than slightly hypocritical.
The game killed me when I tried to flank in that mission - like so many RDR2 story missions. They need me to do what the story requires & continually remove my choices. The env was open & I had the skills, but they punished me for thinking for myself instead of rewarding me. ☹️— Bruce Straley (@bruce_straley) January 14, 2019
In addition to complaining about not being able to ‘flank that mission’, Straley continued to criticise the game for being a linear story where players aren’t allowed to think for themselves:
“They need me to do what the story requires [and] continually remove my choices. The [environment] was open [and] I had the skills, but they punished me for thinking for myself instead of rewarding me. …removing player choices in order to achieve ‘epic stories’ undermines the power of interactivity completely. So, it winds up NOT being epic, because I end up frustrated that the game just doesn’t trust me. Then I’m just ticking boxes to start cutscenes.”
It’s more than ironic for Straley to criticise Red Dead Redemption 2’s lack of choices when The Last Of Us and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End were exactly the same. Despite Uncharted 4: A Thief's End having more 'open' areas than prior instalments, the road to progress and kill enemies was still linear and one-way. Meanwhile, with The Last Of Us, although you could ignore enemies rather than kill them, there were plenty of instances where your hard work was ruined by an invisible enemy being deployed to trigger a cutscene.
Straley continued to say that the mission in Red Dead Redemption 2 has made him “want to continue thinking of how to honor the mechanics [and] opportunities we’ve afforded the player – not wedging them into sequences I feel would be epic because of some story outcome.”
The Last Of Us and Uncharted director can criticise Red Dead Redemption 2 however he wants, but his issues with the game are odd seeing as Naughty Dog are renowned for telling linear narratives where players can’t choose what to do. And this isn’t saying either of the aforementioned titles are bad because video games should have ‘epic’ stories where players are forced to do things in a certain way; not every game has to feature a boatlaod of options so players can do whatever they want.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Although we disagree with Strayley’s comments and believe Rockstar’s title is the best open-world game since The Witcher 3, there’s no denying Red Dead Online is an ugly grind. Meanwhile, in other Sony and Naughty Dog news, a director has been hired for Tom Holland’s Uncharted movie, and an ex IGN employee has said The Last Of Us Part 2 is 100% confirmed for 2019.
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