For the better part of the last decade, open world games have been all about power. How much chaos could I sow with cTOS in Watch_Dogs; how much havoc can we wreak with the “Awesome Button” in Saints Row? I feel like they were more about how much control we had over the people, the infrastructure, and the foundations of the world itself than anything else.
Thankfully, we’ve seen this subside somewhat in recent years. Games like Horizon: Zero Dawn and Zelda: Breath of the Wild do a good job of showing us our small size in a big world, though they still gave us that burdensome role of The Chosen One. Link and Aloy trot merrily from town to town slaying giant mechanical beasts and solving everyone’s problems before dashing off to rescue everyone and being hailed the Champion of Everything. I’m tired of playing God in a game, and I’m excited at the prospect that Red Dead 2 purports to offer – the ability to cast off the shackles of destiny and just… be.