The Last of Us Director Criticises Lack of Player Freedom in Red Dead Redemption 2

Bruce Straley, game director of The Last of Us and Uncharted 4, has criticised some gameplay decisions in Red Dead Redemption 2.

NecrumOddBoy1712d ago

It's so amazing how the story can alter your perception of a topic based on a headline. After digging through the Twitter comments, I get the complaint that a game that's open world can feel a little off-balance when story missions kind of give you the freedom to move but are not designed to go too far off the rails. R* still is archaic in some ways, but it's still pretty difficult to bring that true cinematic experience into the open world but I think they were getting pretty close there.

thedr9041712d ago

The tweets specifically refer to a mission in the game where Bruce's choices led to him failing, and he criticised this choice of focusing on "epic stories" over gameplay. Not sure how the headline would alter your perception of this, it seems pretty accurate to me.

salmonade1712d ago (Edited 1712d ago )

Bruce is so right too.

I Platinumed Red Dead 2 ok, but so many times in some missions, I would move ahead of the other character and FAIL. Like, for example, killing people easily (the game is NOT hard at all in any sense of the word) and moving too far ahead, and because I didn't read a little message saying "wait for Charles"... the mission FAILED me.

Using my Eagle Vision and seeing the trail of the bandit, but having to wait for Sadie to get through her lines before I could move. At times the game absolutely forces you to stop. At other times you drive a carriage to the house you're supposed to go to, but nothing happens because you need to get back on and move it one meter into more of the 'yellow section'.

nucky641712d ago

what salmonade says is true - and it was very frustrating.

Helljumper921712d ago

I don't get the big deal. Games have set objectives and ways to do them. You can't get mad for failing the mission or being punished.

zeuanimals1712d ago

But it's a sandbox and Rockstar's supposed to be the kings of the sandbox. It's entirely possible to make their missions have some flexibility in allowing you to finish them in your own way, you know, how Rockstar used to make their games.

StormSnooper1711d ago

I don’t think this was a diss of Rockstar or even the game, he is pointing out something that he feels underwhelms or is ineffective because player choice/creativity in his opinion are too high a price to pay just so a cutscene can make sense. He is saying player choice should be given priority and the story has to be implemented so it doesn’t take that away.

P_Bomb1711d ago (Edited 1711d ago )

Yes you can get mad when the game breaks its own inconsistent rules re. honor, looting, loadouts while harping about realism. In real life, if I hop on my bike with my phone in my pocket, it doesn’t bloody disappear when I get off the bike.

I’ve had missions launch me with only my pistols when seconds earlier I was carrying a bloody Arsenal. My horse is two feet away. It’s right there. Let me go get my BFG. Let me line up my shots. What’s that Sadie? No no no don’t shoot my targets for me I got this wtf I was just choosing my gun!!!! No ones moving! Why you rushing me Sadie? I got this I’m aiming I’m gonna shoot I want my gold medal...argh she shot one of them! Moron! THAT HAPPENED

Helljumper921711d ago

Why did everyone wait until now to complain about this when this has been in all the GTAs.

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toxic-inferno1712d ago

I find this fascinating. Naughty Dog are possibly the masters of interactive storytelling... and they are one of the only high profile developers still focused on making linear games.

What is even more remarkable is that they were one of the companies who were instrumental in shaping the 3D open world genre with Jak and Daxter.

zeuanimals1712d ago (Edited 1712d ago )

You could still tackle encounters how you liked in The Last of Us and Uncharted 4 though, the two games he worked as a game director for. And they don't hamstring the experience by making you sit and wait for dialogue to end with a game over screen as the consequence for not staying to chat.

1711d ago
rainslacker1711d ago

TLOU and UC aren't designed around player freedom to do anything they want. There is choice within the confines of the actual levels or scenes, but beyond that, they aren't sold on the premise, or designed for the player to be able to do whatever they want whenever they want.

RDR2 is set up like that, but often sets up scenarios where there is no choice. In many ways, it's more restrictive, because once you enter a mission, its about as linear as it gets. About the only choice you have is the weapons you can use, and for about 1/4 of the missions, that isn't even a choice. You are forced to follow the narrative, and play the scene the way they want it to be played for cinematic effect. This can lead to all sorts of issues depending on how you're approaching the scene. If you're just playing through, no biggie. If you are trying to try things to see what happens, it's pretty much a failed mission. If you don't follow the path, you are penalized, which is why this game only offers the illusion of choice.

Pennywise1381711d ago

One thing I don’t think Spider-Man gets enough credit for, same with God of War though it’s not a fully open world game, is how well it does bring a great cinematic experience into the open world. Spider-Man basically keeps you on track with certain story threads then saying ok now is a good time to go out and explore. I think we are finally starting to see the end of open world games giving you a mission that basically says “go save this person because they are about to be killed any minute” but before you can finish the quest the game throws countless distractions and other side missions at you that by the time you get to the end of that mission a week has gone by and you forgot what even led to that mission in the first place and clearly that person wasn’t killed by your lack of getting there in a timely matter. Getting the pacing right in open world games I hope will be the focus going forward and not just throwing countless amounts of repetitive side missions out there.

Nu1711d ago

lol says the guy that's only developed linear games like Uncharted and The Last of Us.

Strafe1711d ago

It is ironic. Let's criticise this developer of games that are far more ambitious than our own, and far away from our comfort zone. Where we have nothing to compare against. Let's criticise them.

Rockstar are far more forward thinking than ND. ND makes games in a bubble.

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TGGJustin1712d ago

He's absolutely right on this.

salmonade1712d ago

Look. If you take the butthurt out of the situation and look at what he's saying... he ABSOLUTELY is correct about this. There are soooo many examples of this in so many ways in so many missions. Look, I love Red Dead 2 and I platinumed the game friggin weeks ago, grindy boring trophies and all, and I would rate the game a 9 or 9.5, but his criticisms are SPOT ON

chiefJohn1171712d ago (Edited 1712d ago )

He's right and a sense but it's like that on purpose and it has to be like that to tell a great story. If you give the player freed how do you end up with emotional moments of deaths and confrontation and other triggered events. Without contradicting cutscenes?

Open world isn't an open sandbox that's what y'all are confusing it for. Plus if red dead 2 was it's story wouldn't be as good.
No one is butt hurt there's nothing to be upset about I'm just using common sense and know what's required yo tell a great story. For example halo 4s campaign and Spartan ops? One allows way more freedom but it's story and quality lacks because of it. Someone brought up vice city having more freedom and GTA 5 limiting it. GTA 5 hands down had a better story than vice city because of it. If I want to tell a story and capture specific moments you have to limit appoarch other wise you have a game without much substance.

Razzer1712d ago

He is talking about an open mission design being reduced down to a singular path because the story required it. He isn't saying players should be able to dictate the story a la Quantic Dreams type games.

Rachel_Alucard1712d ago

I understand the need to do things that make sense in Arthurs perspective for immersion, but they go too hard on it many times. They did the same thing in GTA5 and I assume their game design philosophy changed because their new design contradicts everything outside the story missions. Like you can do whatever you want outside of story missions, but as soon as you activate one you'll be pushed down a specific path.

ziggurcat1712d ago

@razzer: the story missions aren't free roam, so why should people expect them to be?

Rachel_Alucard1711d ago


If you're going to restrict what you can do in a specific piece of the game for immersion, why let the player freely do what they want outside of that if they don't want them expecting that type of freedom everywhere?

ziggurcat1711d ago


again... because the missions aren't free roam. it's no different than any other game (especially one from R*) that involves some form of free roam mode, and story missions (i.e. Spider-Man, inFamous, Mafia II/III, Horizon, Assassin's Creed, etc...).

Moe-Gunz1711d ago


Those games you mentioned you can tackle the mission in ways you want. One of the best examples of giving the player choice and freedom in missions is MGS5. You can stealth it, guns blazing, drop a crate on a guards head to proceed, blow up a watch tower to create a distraction and enter from the other side, etc.

This is what he’s talking about. People are failing to understand that he’s not referring to how the story is told but more so about how the missions are executed.

ziggurcat1711d ago


some missions you can choose to do stealth or go in guns blazing, so...

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1705d ago
ClayRules20121712d ago (Edited 1712d ago )

“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.” I feel his pain. Happened to me sometimes as well.

“I want to continue thinking of how to honor the mechanics and opportunities we’ve afforded the player-not wedging them into sequences I felt would be epic because of some story outcome”

Right on, Bruce. Can’t wait to see what he does next.

FalconofLucis981711d ago

Hes left Naughty Dog, doubt hes doing anything of the sorts.

ClayRules20121711d ago

Yeah, I’m aware he left Naughty Dog. But on his Twitter I think I read something about him doing something new or he hinted at something new.