The main differences between the Red Dead and Grand Theft Auto franchises

Rockstar Games is a developer with a long and rich history. Most of its releases are the biggest events of their respective years, and the company’s popularity has only grown over time. Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto have quickly become accustomed to overwhelmingly strong sales with each new entry, but it’s evident that the developer has neglected a handful of its franchises Bully Max Payne and LA Noire for ensuring that only two are trained to become industry leaders in storytelling, presentation and realism.


With the shift in focus, it’s become a lot easier to compare the two franchises. Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto have become Rockstar’s bread and butter, and since both employ an open world and place a heavy emphasis on character development and cinematic storytelling, it’s easy to spot minute similarities. However, the differences are as stark as the similarities, and there will be players who love one while never seeming to like the other.

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Red Dead Redemption is about story

While Grand Theft Auto Franchise has built in narrative from the start, storytelling Red Dead Redemption was always a step above. The Doomed History of John Marston and the Life and Times of Arthur Morgan are some of the best stories in gaming, with both entries fitting together seamlessly to create a Western experience unparalleled in video gaming. The environment that each game presents has many side activities that can keep the player entertained, but the main event always seems to be the story, as they suddenly turn into a stylish and cinematic affair when a mission is carried out.

This does not appear to be the case with Grand Theft Autois storytelling. They each contain a story, and in grand theft auto 5, It’s presented in a way that’s not entirely unfamiliar to cinema fans, but the franchise has yet to present a story that truly rivals anything else in the gaming sphere. The main questline in grand theft automobile always feels like another thing for players to do if they wish, alongside side quests and collectibles. It’s not mandatory, other than it’s in Red Dead Redemption. in the Red Dead Redemptionit’s the story players are most likely to remember after the credits roll while in Grand Theft Auto it’s usually the crazy and unpredictable moments created by the player while distracted from the main narrative.

Grand Theft Auto relies so heavily on the current socio-political landscape that it has always been a parody of life itself. So many of GTAThe comedic or depressing moments of are due to the game’s events mimicking what’s happening in the real world, albeit in a far more exaggerated way. grand theft auto 5 is a shining example of this, as Los Santos pokes fun at modern-day Los Angeles and the people who inhabit it, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a clear parody of drug-ridden Miami in the 1980s.

Red Dead Redemption Being set in the Wild West means it can’t rely as much on modern social commentary, but it does well to throw in some historical themes of the time like women’s suffrage and Native American survival. Grand Theft Auto feels heavier when dealing with social issues, but maybe that’s the point. Red Dead Redemption is not a franchise that relies on comedy as a pillar of its success like Grand Theft Auto does, so of course it will differ in its tone as well as in its handling of real-world events and talking points.

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Red Dead Redemption has character, GTA has setting

Grand Theft Auto has had a long line of protagonists leading each new entry, but none seem to stand out alongside personalities like Kratos, Joel and Ellie, Master Chief, or Cloud Strife. John Marston and Arthur Morgan absolutely deserve to be among the best in the medium alongside the aforementioned characters, so that’s clear Red Dead Redemption prioritizes a character-centric experience. Tommy Vercetti’s rise to the top of Vice City is fun, but Arthur Morgan’s often reluctant journey to the light or Marston’s constant grappling with the past he’s left behind are just so much better. Red Dead Redemption will be loved by players who need a complex protagonist, but GTA has yet to offer one so memorable.

Where Grand Theft Auto excel is the setting. New Austin feels like a characterless dust bowl, and New Hanover (and its environs) is beautiful and diverse, but lacks any real identity. There GTAThe settings of are inspired by places that players can travel to, they are so much fun to explore and just exist in. Utilizing a humble NPC and finding the most innovative way to take him down feels like Arthur or John thoroughly ruining their day while wreaking havoc on the sun-drenched streets of Los Santos or the sombre, purpose-built buildings of Liberty City feels like it messes up the city’s apple cart as a whole. Attitude is so much more important, so Grand Theft Auto does not need a convincing protagonist. The real protagonist is the area that players explore.

Some similarities, even more differences

Both Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption offer sprawling open worlds, a third-person perspective, and stunning visuals and production value. On the surface, it would be easy to assume that one is a copy of the other, just in a different setting, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are mechanical, tonal, and philosophical differences between the two that make each franchise feel justified in its existence. Red Dead Redemption satisfies players who want to tell them a compelling story, and GTA will appeal to those who want to forge their own story using the game’s tools.

Time will tell if Rockstar Games is right in putting other franchises aside as it focuses on the two industry titans, but it’s clear that both are appealing to different ends of the single-player spectrum. The similarities are obvious, but the differences between Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto make them great and ensure that Rockstar is still one of the most popular developers in gaming.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is now available for PC, PS4, Stadia and Xbox One.

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