Red Dead Redemption Author on Rockstar’s Hopes with ‘Old West Project’

“Certainly our ambition wasn’t to do GTA with horses.” Christian Cantamessa is one of the three writers who worked on the original Red Dead Redemption, along with Dan Houser and Michael Unsworth, and vividly recalls the bold ideas and creative vision that went into it led to this gaming masterpiece.

Cantamessa has a long history with Rockstar Games, having been lead designer and writer on Manhunt, level designer on Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, designer and writer on Manhunt 2, and lead designer and writer on Red Dead Redemption. Most recently, he directed The Initiative’s Perfect Dark trailer at The Game Awards.

The first Red Dead Redemption was released in 2010 and was a smash hit

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The first Red Dead Redemption was released in 2010 and was a smash hit

Speaking to GLHF, the Italian author looks back on the days he spent working on the “Old West Project,” which would later become Red Dead Redemption.

“We wanted to build a real western,” he says. “Our goal was to contribute to the canon without being a movie and without being a book.

“Ultimately, the best book that inspired me while working on Red Dead Redemption was Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian.

“In terms of movies, seminal inspirations were Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch and another movie, perhaps a little less well-known but no less impactful, called The Proposal (John Hillcoat). So we wanted to contribute to the myth of the West.”

Cantamessa has fond memories of those days, although analysts’ predictions made him less than optimistic about a Western game’s chances of success.

“I even had a bet with Leslie Benzies, the producer of GTA – I think we could maybe sell 2 million copies,” he recalls.

“I didn’t know we were going to sell a lot more. At that moment, I was surrounded by criticism and completely forgot that Rockstar was in exactly the same situation working on GTA III and I – coming from the outside – even got the job to comment on it.

“But when you’re inside […] It’s difficult to have the full picture. Sam [Houser] and Leslie instead said, “No, no, keep working, keep calm”. And they were right, I lost the bet and I’m so glad I lost it.”

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The original Red Dead Redemption has shipped around 23 million copies as of 2021. Rockstar Games later worked on a sequel, the prequel Red Dead Redemption 2, and sold more than 45 million units by August 2022.

Written by Paolo Sirio on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.

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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9512635/gta-christian-cantamessa-red-dead-interview/ Red Dead Redemption Author on Rockstar’s Hopes with ‘Old West Project’

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