Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game which isn’t afraid to tackle the big issues; addressing weighty moral dilemmas like a truly great work of American literature.
Despite the excitement and the beauty of the lawless landscape, the darker parts of American history regularly glimmer through the plot, much like blood in a bullet wound.
This of course includes the presence of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a notoriously repulsive white supremacy group whose origins can be traced back to the American South.
The game features three shocking scenarios involving the KKK, which often take place at night in wooded, secretive – and oftentimes difficult to uncover – locations.
The first scenario involves the KKK initiating a new member into their grotesque group, while a second situation sees them moaning about their lack of participants (oh boo hoo).
A third, particularly chilling scenario shows the Klansmen burning a cross; a scene which will no doubt strike fear into the hearts of those concerned by the rise of extreme right wing sentiment in America.
Indeed, a 2017 analysis of the Global Terrorism Database by University of Maryland researchers showed a ‘sharp increase’ in attacks committed by right-wing extremists; rising from 6 per cent in the 2000s to 35 per cent in the 2010s.
The study in question defines right-wing extremism as being: ‘violence in support of the belief that personal and/or national way of life is under attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent’. Basically, the pig ignorant attitude displayed by dwindling KKK chapters for well over one hundred years.
Once a player comes across a Klan meeting, they can react in multiple ways; in fitting with the vast, exploratory feel of the game as a whole.
You can quietly listen to their hateful rhetoric and imagine what their Twitter feeds would look like if Twitter existed back in the Read Dead days.
Or you can take violent – and arguably therapeutic – action against them; launching sticks of dynamite into their midst or trampling them bloody with your loyal horse.
Interestingly, the creators of Red Dead Redemption 2 have made their hatred of the vile group crystal clear; making them the sole exemption to an otherwise rigid rule of the game.
Disposing of KKK SCUM in Red Dead Redemption 2 pic.twitter.com/r0ZFKEA8Ar
— Berto 🇩🇴 (@Bertox360) October 29, 2018
Shooting KKK members in Red Dead Redemption 2 was pretty fun I gotta say
— Rista Brød 🇳🇴 (@VexToast) October 28, 2018
In Red Dead Redemption 2. I was hunting in the woods and I come across a KKK cross burning. It was surreal, unexpected, and disturbing. This is not a game. It’s an experience. pic.twitter.com/O1JtRbaKOI
— Ramses Ochoa (@RamsOchoa) October 29, 2018
As players will no doubt know, the moral code of Red Dead Redemption 2 dictates that killing another person unprompted will lower your honour level; a system which is crucial to how other characters view and interact with Arthur.
According to Game Rant:
While at first glance it may seem like Honor doesn’t affect much, it is actually ingrained in many parts of the game. When Arthur has high Honor, civilians will be more friendly to him in day-to-day activities in the massive open world.
When accidentally startling them (perhaps by bumping them with a horse), they will be more open to dismissing the action as opposed to drawing down on Arthur or reporting it as a crime.
Witnesses will be more open to accepting a bribe to turn a blind eye to some crime. Honor comes in several tiers, each coming with certain bonuses.
However, this strict honour system does not apply to wiping out Klansmen, as reported by Game Revolution, so just go nuts.
Apparently, if one of the fictional Klansmen gets away alive then you can still be arrested on charges on murder, so really it’s probably for the best if you just take them all out if possible.
If you need any more reasons to buy Red Dead Redemption 2: you can kill the KKK pic.twitter.com/Aq2r8rtIFR
— ~_~ (@anthonymdps) October 29, 2018
my favourite part about Red Dead Redemption 2 is that I can kill members of the KKK and nobody even puts a bounty on me for that lmao
— small tiddy punk gf (@NatReksio) November 1, 2018
WAIT. You can kill KKK members in Red Dead Redemption 2??!? Why didn't anyone tell me. What time does Buy de la Best open?
— BoJack WESman (@aWESome311) November 5, 2018
If only foul individuals like this truly were consigned to the realm of historical video games…
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.