I’ve played a lot of Red Dead Redemption II and its online multiplayer mode. At this point, I’ve put in hundreds and hundreds of hours. And I’ve seen many strange, cool and bad things. But I ain’t seen anything like what one player shared on the RDR2 subreddit a few days ago.
The clip was posted by Reddit user DMarlow310 and within a few hours was one of the most upvoted posts on the Red Dead subreddit that day. The title of the post intrigued me. Someone claiming to see something totally new in Red Dead Redemption II is usually followed by a photo or clip of something I’ve seen before or can easily explain. Not this time.
In the short video, DMarlow310 is playing singleplayer and walks out of a building and passes by some NPCs. For some reason, one of the NPCs he passes gets angry at DMarlow310 and picks a fight. Maybe DMarlow caused some ruckus in the town earlier and this NPC was pissed off still. Whatever the reason, the NPC threatens the player and begins squaring up, ready to fight. He tosses a few punches and then begins taunting DMarlow310, but mid-sentence a second NPC citizen steps behind the angry NPC, grabs him and stabs him in the neck.
After this random murder, the NPC just walks away calmly, as if nothing happened. DMarlow310 was obviously a bit stunned and surprised and just stands there until the clip ends.
I watched this clip a few times after my first viewing. I was looking for an obvious or possible reason this random NPC decided to jump into a fight and kill someone.
A few things I noticed:
The angry NPC and the murderer are separated by a good amount of space. So it is unlikely that he was already targeting the angry NPC before the video starts.
If you watch closely, you can see the murderer run towards the fight before he stops and slows down, creeping behind the angry NPC.
But more interestingly, if you watch towards the back of the area, you can see the moment the murderer decides to intervene. It happens right before the first punch. He whips around and begins running towards the fight.
This probably has nothing to do with the murder or weird NPC behaviour, but what is up with the way Arthur opens up the doors at the start of the clip. His hands cross in a really weird way.
I scrolled down to the comments to see if anyone had a definitive answer for what happened, but nobody could come up with one. A couple of theories emerged and folks shared stories of memorable NPC encounters, but nothing concrete. A popular theory is that because DMarlow310 didn’t start the fight or punch back, the game tagged the angry NPC as a criminal or aggressive force. So someone stepped in to defend the player.
But why this NPC? Why not an NPC that was closer or actually, you know, watching the whole fight happen? And why only one NPC? Did nobody else want to help a man getting beat up? Also, stabbing him in cold blood seems excessive. Why not tackle the guy or punch him in the back?
It’s possible this was a bug of some kind. The murderer could have been targeting Arthur but instead attacked the angry NPC. It’s possible. Or maybe we just witnessed an NPC abusing the video game world they live in and killing someone without getting punished. That NPC knows it lives in a virtual world. It uses this to its advantage, never sleeping or working, instead of using bugs and game logic to climb his way to the top of the digital Hell he is trapped in.
Or it was a bug. Probably just that…