To no one’s surprise, I’m still obsessing over RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2. Can you blame me? The story is incredible, the environments are great, and there’s so much to do. The game has only been out for a few weeks now, and I already want more. We already talked about a potential sequel, but that’s years away. What about now?

Well, that’s what DLC is for.

As much as I love RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2, there’s more than a few tweaks and expansions I’d love to see.

So, what kind of DLC do we want to see in RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2? What features should be tweaked? Will we get any DLC at all? Well, let’s take a look!

Fix The Damn Crime System

Okay, guys, I know this might not be as glamorous as a big expansion or a new character, but the crime system is probably my biggest problem with RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2, and I know I’m not alone here.

A crime system shouldn’t discourage me from playing the game. Ideally, it should offer a challenging, fun, and fair response to the player’s actions. That’s just not the case in RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2.

Sure, there are lots of ways to get into trouble. You can mug a stranger, rob a train. or hold up a bank. But having a bounty on your head is pretty one dimensional. You get caught committing a crime, and lawmen attack you until you go to another region and pay your bounty. If you wait too long, bounty hunters will come looking for you and have to fight them off. There’s no nuance to any of this.

All in all, it’s pretty standard, and surprisingly underdeveloped compared to the rest of the game.

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This is less fun than it looks. Image courtesy of Rockstar Games.

Defending My Rights

But worst of all, if someone attacks you, you have no right to fight back.

That’s right. The cardinal sin of RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 is the total lack of self-defense. No matter what, if someone decides to pull a gun on you, or even tries to murder you in broad daylight, you’re always the one at fault.

This honestly feels like more of an oversight than an intentional design choice. I refuse to believe that anyone at Rockstar thought this was a good idea. Fixing this shouldn’t even be considered a “tweak.” As far as I’m concerned, it’s a much-needed patch.

Because of these issues, not only is there little incentive to commit crime, but there’s little incentive to interact with people at all. The complex AI of random NPCs is wasted because I’m afraid of annoying anyone I meet. The “antagonize” button has been severely underused in my playthrough, because I know I’ll end up at the receiving end of an angry mob.

Give us more ways to break the law, more ways to fight back, and more things to do while we’re being hunted. RED DEAD 2 is a game about outlaws. Playing as a criminal should be as diverse and engaging as possible.

Repeatable Bounty Hunting Missions For RED DEAD

RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 isn’t lacking for quality content. There’s a ton of activities in the game, from bar games to hunting to train robberies.

The best part is that most of these activities are repeatable. Even after you beat the story and all the side quests, you’ll still have a ton of stuff to do in the game. But strangely, this isn’t the case for bounty hunting missions.

A highlight of the first game, bounty hunting is integral to the RED DEAD REDEMPTION experience. If you’re playing as an honorable cowboy, it’s also the best way to find some action after you beat the game. But in RED DEAD 2, after a dozen or so missions, the fun comes to a screeching halt. Every town sheriff in the game awkwardly tells you that they won’t be accepting any more bounties, and you’re suddenly left without a job.

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These are my favorite side activities. But they just end abruptly. Image courtesy of Rockstar Games.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why they didn’t add in some repeatable bounty missions, with randomly generated outlaws hiding in various locations. To mix things up, each mission could come with randomly generated variables.

Maybe some missions offer a bonus if you kill or capture the target in a certain way. Maybe different targets have different methods of evading you. Some could set up traps around their hideouts, others could set dangerous predators on you, or even use disguises to hide in town.

There’s nothing wrong with randomly generated content in addition to pre-made missions.  As long as the gameplay loop is fun, then a game shouldn’t take a system away from me. This would be the perfect way to keep the game fresh for years to come.

More To Do At The Ranch

Spoilers for both RED DEAD REDEMPTION 1 and 2 below:

One of RED DEAD 2’s most notable features is the camp system. Throughout the game, Arthur can donate funds and supplies to upgrade his gang’s hideout in various ways.

But strangely, RED DEAD 2 drops the camp system by the end of the game. Now, at first, this makes sense. The gang is dissolved and John is living the good life on his ranch. But having this important element gutted from the game leaves the player with a rather hollow endgame experience.

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Let’s make this house a real home. Image courtesy of Rockstar Games.

I’d love to see a DLC that expands Beecher’s Hope, turning it into a true home for the player. Give us things to do with the Marston family, let us fight off gangs like the Skinner Brothers, or cattle rustlers trying to steal our animals. Let us buy livestock that can generate food and money. I want to upgrade Beecher’s hope the way I could with the bandit camps. Let me customize it with new decorations and furniture.

The ranch has so much hype and build-up to it. Building a ranch is John’s motivation for most of the epilogue. Hell, we even build it with our own hands. It’s such a shame that, from a gameplay perspective, there’s very little payoff. I want Beecher’s Hope to become a real home.

A Javier Expansion in Mexico

Spoilers continue here.

All these tweaks are nice, but let’s be honest: what we really want is a full-fledged expansion. Imagine something along the lines of THE WITCHER 3’s BLOOD AND WINE, something that adds hours of gameplay and new environments.

But what would an expansion look like? What character should we follow? There’s a lot of choices here. We could witness Sadie’s exploits in South America or travel to Canada with Charles. But I think the best choice is a less obvious character. I want to go to Mexico with Javier Escuella.

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I want more of this guy. Image courtesy of Rockstar Games

As I said, this may not be the obvious choice, but I think it’s the best choice for two reasons:

First, it would give us another perspective on the story. Unlike Sadie or Charles, Javier is a true believer. As far as we know, he remained with Dutch until the gang’s final meltdown. I want to see how the gang finally fell apart from the perspective of someone who was loyal to the end.

Second, it would give us an excuse to visit Nuevo Paraiso, the only part of the original map that isn’t available in the sequel. Considering just how beautiful the rest of the game is, I’d love to see what they do with an entirely different country. Of course, Mexico would have its own games, activities, and random encounters.

Who Is Javier Escuella?

As for the story, there’s a lot of potential here. Other than Dutch and Ross, Javier is the most fleshed-out antagonist from RED DEAD REDEMPTION.

According to the backstory, he was arguably Dutch’s most loyal follower. He grew up as a revolutionary in Mexico and possibly helped to install the government that John encounters in the first game. After a run-in with Mexican lawmen, he escapes to the U.S. without knowing a word of English. He quickly gravitates toward Dutch, who shares his idealism and revolutionary attitude.

When the gang falls apart, Javier is devastated. Returning to Mexico, he becomes a ruthless cynic, working as a hitman for the same kind of people he fought against. I want to see this arc with my own eyes. I want to see how and why Javier finally breaks with Dutch and his transformation into a heartless gun for hire.

“I’ve Always Loved You, Even Now”

The story could start when Javier, Dutch, and Bill leave John to die during the final train robbery. This moment was notably absent from the base game, but it’s one of the most important moments in the series. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were saving this scene for a DLC.

Javier’s behavior in the first game can shed some light on his character. Unlike Bill, he claims he still cares about John and sees him as a brother. This could all be bluster, but it’s worth noting that he doesn’t try to kill John when he has the chance. During their final encounter, he causes a distraction, and instead of shooting John when he’s knocked down, he runs off. When John chases him on horseback, Javier fires a few desperate shots, but John easily takes him down.

He also seems to know more about John’s recent life than his other targets. He brings up John’s “kids,” which implies he knew about his late daughter. Have they communicated since the first game? Or has Javier been keeping tabs on him?

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How did he go from a freedom fighter to a government hitman? Image courtesy of Rockstar Games.

Javier insists he thought John was dead during the train incident. For years, John assumed that the gang abandoned him. While that’s likely the case for Dutch, what if Javier legitimately thought John died? What if he never intended to betray him at all?

Alternatively, Dutch could’ve convinced him that John was a traitor, and deserved to be left behind. Considering his admiration for Dutch, he’d probably believe whatever he told him. He could simply be too ashamed to admit this to John.

Either scenario puts the character in a more tragic light. Javier may have left shortly after the Pinkerton attack, disillusioned by Dutch’s betrayal of John, and feeling manipulated by the man he admires most. I think it’s worth exploring this character, witnessing his story.

So Much To Work With

By the time Javier returns to Mexico and sees just how corrupt the new government has become, he’s lost all sense of idealism. At the same time, he feels guilty about his treatment of John and still sees him as a brother. This is how Javier transforms into the man we meet in the first game.

But beyond his relationship with John, there are so many ways to handle this story.

There’s actually a surprising amount of lore on Mexico within the RED DEAD REDEMPTION universe. Characters like the Mexican president are referenced often, but never actually seen. In the first game, the Mexican government risks a lot to protect Javier from John, which implies he has powerful friends. How did Javier go from being an outlaw on the run to a highly valued government asset?

I want to see Javier’s transformation into the heartless hitman we see in RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2. I want to see a bigger, better, and more diverse Mexico. There’s so much they can do with this expansion, and I really hope they go in this direction.

Spoilers end here.

The Crushing Reality

Unfortunately, none of this is likely to happen. If GTA is any indication, Rockstar will pour all their resources into the online mode, leaving the singleplayer campaign untouched and forgotten.

But if Rockstar is smart they’ll break this trend and expand the base game. RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 is one of my favorite games in years. With just a few tweaks and an expansion to tie up loose ends, it could easily be one of my favorite games of all time.

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