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AnthMUFC-Champs

A Theory on Chapter 5

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AnthMUFC-Champs

Spoilers ahead for those who have not yet completed all chapters and the epilogue of Red Dead Redemption 2...

 

So having played all the chapters and the epilogue of Red Dead Redemption 2, I have recently been doing a lot of research into the strange omission of New Austin from the main story and the even stranger appearance of Guarma in the erratically structured chapter 5. That's when I came up with a theory which might explain why New Austin was omitted and Guarma was instead included in the specific story format we witnessed in the game. I believe that New Austin was initially meant to be the main location for the setting of chapter 5 as opposed to Guarma. I also believe that Guarma was a late addition to the game to compensate for the scrapping of New Austin as the main location. Now if this indeed correct then the main question here would be, "why would Rockstar scrap New Austin in favour of Guarma?" 

 

It's been widely reported that at least five hours worth of content was cut from Red Dead Redemption 2 and possibly even more. What has also also been cited is that Rockstar were struggling with development prior to the game's release and that it may have been downsized considerably to save on space. The final game already consisted of a large amount of disc space which eventually led to the two disc solution. I think initially Rockstar had planned for a longer and more cohesive chapter 5 similar to the other chapters within the game and it was to be set across New Austin following a similar structure that had already been established throughout the story. This would make sense as the state was located further enough away from the rest of the map and was a great place to lay low due to the sparse population, cholera epidemic, lack of law and sprawling deserts and ghost towns scattered across the state. New Austin is also located down the river and across the lake from Saint Dennis but further west enough so the boat story arc we seen that lead us to Guarma could still technically be played out. John Marston, who claims he never visited New Austin in the original Red Dead Redemption, was also arrested during the Saint Dennis bank robbery so he would not be present in the chapter. This explains why he was arrested as Rockstar would want to keep the the story "canon" plus he does not have a reason to be left out of the final Guarma story arc which in my opinion further supports the New Austin theory for chapter 5.

 

When explored it's clearly evident that New Austin has been modelled as if it was set in 1899, not 1907 as seen in the epilogue. Arthur also has unique dialogue exclusive to that state, this can be heard when the player uses a glitch to travel to the location in the final game. It's infamously and frequently mentioned that Dutch's final plan was to gain enough money and travel to a "tropical paradise". Having some of the gang members actually make it to one in chapter 5 felt like a rushed story arc in my opinion and that the illusion would of been better maintained without the Guarma arc. Not to mention the structure of that chapter felt chaotic in itself and very different from the rest of the game. Pre-release there were numerous videos, screenshots and reviews that either showed or mentioned Arthur visiting New Austin. Ultimately it would make sense for the location to appear at some point during the main story considering it is one of the only states left at that point where the gang does not have a bounty. The only reason the player has a "wanted dead or alive" bounty in the final version of the game is to stop the player accessing the area.


In conclusion I think Rockstar did initially intend for chapter 5 to be set in the state of New Austin instead of Guarma but due to development issues this was scrapped in favour of a smaller location with a more toned down, simplistic and shorter chapter structure.

 

EDIT: As mentioned in a post, I forgot that Guarma was on the leaked map. In that case I think both locations were somehow involved in Chapter 5. Possibly the gang do indeed go to Guarma as we seen in the final game but when they return to the mainland they end up in New Austin for a bit. This makes sense as Guarma is geographically close to Mexico which borders New Austin. It would also make sense for them to lay low for a bit in a state where they are not wanted before rushing straight back to the same place they were initially running from.

Edited by AnthMUFC-Champs

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RyuNova

Also the hot arid climate would not have done Arthur any favours would it? We see what happened to him from Guarma.

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Darealbandicoot
1 hour ago, AnthMUFC-Champs said:

Spoilers ahead for those who have not yet completed all chapters and the epilogue of Red Dead Redemption 2...

 

So having played all the chapters and the epilogue of Red Dead Redemption 2, I have recently been doing a lot of research into the strange omission of New Austin from the main story and the even stranger appearance of Guarma in the erratically structured chapter 5. That's when I came up with a theory which might explain why New Austin was omitted and Guarma was instead included in the specific story format we witnessed in the game. I believe that New Austin was initially meant to be the main location for the setting of chapter 5 as opposed to Guarma. I also believe that Guarma was a late addition to the game to compensate for the scrapping of New Austin as the main location. Now if this indeed correct then the main question here would be, "why would Rockstar scrap New Austin in favour of Guarma?" 

 

It's been widely reported that at least five hours worth of content was cut from Red Dead Redemption 2 and possibly even more. What has also also been cited is that Rockstar were struggling with development prior to the game's release and that it may have been downsized considerably to save on space. The final game already consisted of a large amount of disc space which eventually led to the two disc solution. I think initially Rockstar had planned for a longer and more cohesive chapter 5 similar to the other chapters within the game and it was to be set across New Austin following a similar structure that had already been established throughout the story. This would make sense as the state was located further enough away from the rest of the map and was a great place to lay low due to the sparse population, cholera epidemic, lack of law and sprawling deserts and ghost towns scattered across the state. New Austin is also located down the river and across the lake from Saint Dennis but further west enough so the boat story arc we seen that lead us to Guarma could still technically be played out. John Marston, who claims he never visited New Austin in the original Red Dead Redemption, was also arrested during the Saint Dennis bank robbery so he would not be present in the chapter. This explains why he was arrested as Rockstar would want to keep the the story "canon" plus he does not have a reason to be left out of the final Guarma story arc which in my opinion further supports the New Austin theory for chapter 5.

 

When explored it's clearly evident that New Austin has been modelled as if it was set in 1899, not 1907 as seen in the epilogue. Arthur also has unique dialogue exclusive to that state, this can be heard when the player uses a glitch to travel to the location in the final game. It's infamously and frequently mentioned that Dutch's final plan was to gain enough money and travel to a "tropical paradise". Having some of the gang members actually make it to one in chapter 5 felt like a rushed story arc in my opinion and that the illusion would of been better maintained without the Guarma arc. Not to mention the structure of that chapter felt chaotic in itself and very different from the rest of the game. Pre-release there were numerous videos, screenshots and reviews that either showed or mentioned Arthur visiting New Austin. Ultimately it would make sense for the location to appear at some point during the main story considering it is one of the only states left at that point where the gang does not have a bounty. The only reason the player has a "wanted dead or alive" bounty in the final version of the game is to stop the player accessing the area.


In conclusion I think Rockstar did initially intend for chapter 5 to be set in the state of New Austin instead of Guarma but due to development issues this was scrapped in favour of a smaller location with a more toned down, simplistic and shorter chapter structure.

Guarma was on the leaked map though. 

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Jason
3 minutes ago, Darealbandicoot said:

Guarma was on the leaked map though. 

This. New Austin wasn't on that map either.

 

My guess is New Austin was a late addition, they tried to make Arthur going there work but ultimately it didn't make sense for them so they cut it but kept NA as it allowed them to do the fan service epilogue with John.

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AnthMUFC-Champs
26 minutes ago, Jason said:

This. New Austin wasn't on that map either.

 

My guess is New Austin was a late addition, they tried to make Arthur going there work but ultimately it didn't make sense for them so they cut it but kept NA as it allowed them to do the fan service epilogue with John.

I forgot that Guarma was on the leaked map. In that case I think both locations were somehow involved in Chapter 5. Possibly the gang do indeed go to Guarma as we seen in the final game but when they return to the mainland they end up in New Austin for a bit. This makes sense as Guarma is geographically close to Mexico which borders New Austin. It would also make sense for them to lay low for a bit in a state where they are not wanted before rushing straight back to the same place they were initially running from. I'll update the main post with this correction. 

Edited by AnthMUFC-Champs

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Nulla Lex Ink.

I like your theory. Though I gotta say, I'm disappointed that I clicked on this and found that it wasn't a topic theorizing that Arthur drowned and the rest of the game was his dying fantasy 😛

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Dark Rosewood Varnish

Its funny because when Dutch mentions that the boat is heading to Cuba I thought something would go wrong, the boat would sink and they'd just wash up in New Austin somehow. I ended up being half right but was pleasantly surprised to see Arthur washed up on a tropical beach. I personally loved the Guarma part of the game and dont really understand why so many people dislike it.

 

Having said that though, I dont think @AnthMUFC-Champs is far off. Considering Guarma was included in the leaked map I think the gang were originally meant to go to New Austin after escaping the island. It actually would have made a lot more sense for them to sail back to New Austin than to go straight back to Lemoyne where they're all wanted. This dawned on me a week ago during my third play though when I realised they pretty much had the opportunity to go anywhere they wanted once they escaped. Chapter 5 is notably quite short as well so it's possible they just scrapped the second half of the chapter because they felt the story was going to be too long.

 

If this is the case then it's a great shame because exploring New Austin with Arthur would have been incredible. It was something I was looking forward to while playing through the story but unfortunately it never happened. For me I just couldn't get into exploring NA as John purely because he claims to have never been there before the events of RDR1 so it's never really made sense to me. Going back to New Austin and visiting all the familiar places in that region as Arthur would have been a much more powerful experience IMO. I'm further convinced that we was originally meant to go to back there as Arthur considering the amount of side quests that take place there (Dinosaur bones, legendary fish, legendary animals etc.) just seems strange having John finish them all off 8 years later. Definitely a missed opportunity.

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TheSantader25

Not using New Austin in Chapter 5 was a huge missed opportunity. I mean HUGE. it's probably the biggest mistake R* made in this game. I don't like Micah but I'm sure raising hell in those deserts with him, Dutch, Javier and Bill would've been incredible away from the other gang members. It would be also a very different location in comparison to what we were used to in chapter 2-4 as well and would have definitely saved the game for those who felt the game became repetitive in the end(not me though but I'm sure it would help people who weren't happy about the ending chapters feel A LOT better.) 

 

It would also save R* from creating Guarma and using resources on other more important aspects.(The Wanted System as an example) 

Edited by TheSantader25

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alz

Guarma was probably a full fledged chapter with a functional town at some point.  Maybe there were originally 7 chapters in Arthur's story?

 

Considering Blackwater was on the leaked map, I fully expected the Gang to go back to Blackwater to get the money.  It feels like such an obvious starting point... they failed, they run around other States, they finally go back, end of story.  FFS Dutch and others mentioned Blackwater money so many times.  It's extremely poor writing to push something that hard and not have it pay off.  All the times they referenced the other gang members we never saw who died there?  Why create two grave markers for people I never really saw?  Did they ever reveal the truth behind Dutch killing that woman there?

 

I digress on a rant though...  So I can easily see more of the gang mixing into the area around Blackwater.

It's also worth noting there could have been a separate map we never saw of New Austin in development.  A second developer map like the leaked map with notes about gangs and missions.

The real Chapter 5 Lakay camp was so F'n depressing looking.  Then Chapter 6 Beaver Hollow, looked nice on the surface, but was so F'n depressing emotionally.  I'm glad I didn't have to spend more time at those spots with the story beats they had.  Lakay's camp seems like a last minute change in production too.  That place was clearly made for something else with that voodoo stuff in it.

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Jutland

My guess is that the leaked map shows the whole of the game world as it was in 2016. It included Guarma but not New Austin. The entirety of Arthur’s story in the released game fits snugly onto that leaked map, so I think the story was wrapped up by 2016 too.

 

Then, sometime after 2016, I think that the bosses at Rockstar said “the map’s not big enough.” Which it isn’t, without New Austin. It would have been smaller than the GTA5 map and I think this worried the bosses, because they knew the promotional value of publicity like “biggest open world map we’ve ever done.’

 

So I think they told the developers to quickly add a huge new chunk of map. Creating landscape from scratch is a huge job unless you already have a map you can work up. This is why they add New Austin rather than someplace else. They already know where the towns are, the locations of rivers, mountains etc, so a lot of the design work has been done. 

 

I also think that the New Austin map was intended just to open up along with the rest of the map in chapter 2. That’s why it’s set in 1899 and that’s why there are drawings in Arthur’s journal of things there, Arthur dialogue for the area etc. Arthur doesn’t need a story reason to go there, he could just go there anyway. The sniper-gods would have prevented a chapter 2 Arthur from entering Blackwater itself, but that’s it.

 

Then, much closer to release date, Rockstar changed their mind again. I think they realised that if the entire game world is available from chapter 2 onwards then many players would not bother to finish the game. They would reach chapter 2 and then just go exploring for ever. So Rockstar simply extended the sniper-gods to block off the entire state of New Austin. Now you actually have to finish the main story to open up New Austin, so it’s like a reward. 

 

This last-minute change of mind had another advantage too, because it meant they did not have to create a 1907 New Austin as well (like new buildings at Thieves Landing), they could just use the 1899 map, most players would not notice.

 

All speculation of course lol

 

TLDR: New Austin was added as part of the explorable world from chapter 2 onwards, so that R* could boast about the size of the map, but they got cold feet about players not bothering to play the whole story so they decided to save it until the end of the story.

 

Edited by Jutland
Edited for clarity

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AnthMUFC-Champs

@Dark Rosewood Varnish @TheSantader25 @alz @Jutland They are all very well presented points and I appreciate the input. If we are working with the assumption that New Austin was a newer addition to the game. I honestly would of preferred that they scrap Guarma and use that state instead or that they should of incorporated it into chapter 5 as I have mentioned. If we are to also believe the rumours about Guarma being planned to be more open and having a longer chapter set there but ultimately Rockstar decided to scrap this then New Austin would of been the ideal replacement to take on that role. Especially if they wanted to boast about "having the largest open world game" then New Austin is an essential implementation to the game so why not make use of it you know?

It also makes more sense considering the gang go straight back to where they are wanted as opposed to staying away for a while and Dutch cooking up "one of his plans. Also making note of what was said, I do think this would of been a great moment for them to attempt to retrieve the Blackwater money and this could of been attempted as they made there way back to the rest of the gang. Obviously this would fail and lead to the rest of the story playing out as it did but at least it covers them bases. 

In summary whether it was planned or not, ideally Rockstar should of implemented the state alongside Guarma into a longer chapter 5 where the gang lay low and plan an attempt to retrieve the Blackwater money which would ultimately fail, cause more division and leave them on the run for the rest of the story to play out the way it did. Either that or having New Austin as an additional chapter sandwiched in between chapters 5 and 6. This way Rockstar could have the Guarma chapter play out the way they originally intended it to.  

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Darealbandicoot
48 minutes ago, AnthMUFC-Champs said:

@Dark Rosewood Varnish @TheSantader25 @alz @Jutland They are all very well presented points and I appreciate the input. If we are working with the assumption that New Austin was a newer addition to the game. I honestly would of preferred that they scrap Guarma and use that state instead or that they should of incorporated it into chapter 5 as I have mentioned. If we are to also believe the rumours about Guarma being planned to be more open and having a longer chapter set there but ultimately Rockstar decided to scrap this then New Austin would of been the ideal replacement to take on that role. Especially if they wanted to boast about "having the largest open world game" then New Austin is an essential implementation to the game so why not make use of it you know?

It also makes more sense considering the gang go straight back to where they are wanted as opposed to staying away for a while and Dutch cooking up "one of his plans. Also making note of what was said, I do think this would of been a great moment for them to attempt to retrieve the Blackwater money and this could of been attempted as they made there way back to the rest of the gang. Obviously this would fail and lead to the rest of the story playing out as it did but at least it covers them bases. 

In summary whether it was planned or not, ideally Rockstar should of implemented the state alongside Guarma into a longer chapter 5 where the gang lay low and plan an attempt to retrieve the Blackwater money which would ultimately fail, cause more division and leave them on the run for the rest of the story to play out the way it did. Either that or having New Austin as an additional chapter sandwiched in between chapters 5 and 6. This way Rockstar could have the Guarma chapter play out the way they originally intended it to.  

True, and Dutch said that he already had spots picked out in New Austin to lie low.

Plus, the gang did WAAAAAY more damage in Saint Denis than Blackwater YET Blackwater is still in lock down and have Terminator Pinkertons warping to you and God sniping you if you dare go to New Austin. 

 

Plus, a chunk of the map goes into "WANTED Dead or alive" mode here but the shops are still fully operational and sniper God and Terminator Pinkertons are nowhere to be seen. 

Edited by Darealbandicoot

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jje1000

IMO Guarma was in there originally from the start, but a New Austin/West Elizabeth segment was added in later on, but dropped when they couldn't make it work/flow with the story.

 

That would the most logical explanation for Arthur's cut presence in New Austin and the presence of Guarma in the original map.

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AnthMUFC-Champs

@jje1000 The leaked map does indicate that Guarma was part of the original plan and it was a lot more open to explore which leads me to believe it initially had a longer story. That or at least the missions were split apart to allow for more of a break in between them which I think makes a lot more sense anyway. I'm guessing the New Austin idea came in after they had finished the bulk of the map and was introduced to validate the claim that it was "the biggest open world they have created". That's why I think they planned on implementing a story there at some point be that in an existing chapter or even a newly created one that still compliments the story. Development issues then occur and the idea is most likely scrapped due to time constraints. 

I have even seen suggestions recently that the game was intended to start out in New Austin and then feature the Blackwater robbery which the initial leaks do sort of indicate if that is indeed correct. Which means New Austin maybe wasn't actually intended for chapter 5 after all? Either way it's clear the development of Red Dead Redemption 2 was chaotic and a lot of ideas surrounding these subjects were ultimately cut for sure.

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