It might sound like bollocks but it’s true.
It seems reasonably likely that Red Dead Redemption II will be incredibly good and immediately become the best-selling game of all time. Everything we’ve seen of it is magnificent, it’s been worked on for years and Rockstar - makers, of course, of the Grand Theft Auto series - don’t seem capable of making a bad game.
(The title is confusing, which is the only criticism we can think of: it’s numbered II but set before Red Dead Redemption, plus that game came after Red Dead Revolver - it just kind of feels like if they went for something like Red Dead Revolution it might make more sense albeit a bit cliched, but that’s really just us being nitpicky.)
Like, look at the trailer. It’s glorious.
Imagine the thousands and thousands, maybe even millions*, of hours of work that have gone into that game to make it look so extraordinary. And it turns out that as part of Rockstar’s going all out on everything, they’ve gone all out on one of the things nobody has ever gone all out on in a game before: the behaviour of a horse’s nuts in hot and cold weather.
Kotaku writer Stephen Tolito had a play on an early build of the game, and decided to take the opportunity to, well, talk gonads. He wrote: “After seeing the game’s first trailer, we and other had wondered if the horse’s testicles were animated. I asked, and they [Rockstar] told me that the testicles shrink and expand depending on the temperature in the game world. Details, details.”
That’s… amazing? They’ve solved a problem nobody ever really thought was a problem, but in typical Rockstar style, they’ve done it really well.
Naturally the internet wasn’t entirely sure how they felt about this news:
*Opens computer*— Jeff Tarzia (@SmashJT) September 22, 2018
“Horse testicles in Red Dead Redemption 2 change size based off of weather!”
how much you wanna bet that red dead redemption 2 has perfectly modeled horse testicles and maybe three female characters total— Evan Tognotti (@evantognotti) September 22, 2018
Some people complain that many Nintendo games lack a proper AAA budget. But as reports about Red Dead Redemption's 2 horse's testicles expanding and contracting to in-game temperature come in... Maybe it is fine for Animal Crossing to be the way it is. Tom Nook would be too much.— SpookyPandy 🎃 (@LeakyPandy) September 21, 2018
It's my fear that I finally get a job in the 3D industry and they assign me something really stupid to work on. Like the dude who had to model/animate horse testicles for Red Dead Redemption 2.— サンジョ (@dillonm__) September 21, 2018
Sigh. On Tuesday, I was made to think about Toad in a manner that I never wanted to. On Wednesday, I was introduced to Batman's penis. And today, I was reminded that Red Dead Redemption 2 has animated horse testicles. I'm not looking forward to Friday.— Chuck Osborn (@ChuckOnGames) September 20, 2018
Assuming the game is a huge success (which seems a fairly safe assumption), how much of that success can we credit to the horse’s hairy clockweights? Will this be the lesson other game developers take away from it, that a big ol’ bag o’nuts is what makes a game great?
To do so would be overlooking what made the first Red Dead Redemption so good, that this game seems to have replicated - an amazing narrative, realistically flawed characters and a beautifully realised world. If other games devs instead ignore all of those factors and go, “Look, this proves gamers want more scrotum animations in their AAA titles,” that’ll be a real shame. And, you know, it could lead to them… getting… the sack.
* Initially writing that we thought “Well, not millions” but then thought, could there have been millions of hours put into it? One full-time employee can work for about 2,000 hours per year, and the game took at least two years to make - 250 people working full-time on it for two years is a million hours. That doesn’t seem crazily implausible. A million hours. Damn. No wonder the horses’ nuts look so good!
(Pics: Rockstar Games)