Red Dead Redemption 2’s Most Heartbreaking Moments

Arthur Morgan suffering from Tuberculosis in Red Dead Redemption 2. Subtitled text reads

Red Dead Redemption 2 is by far the saddest game that Rockstar has ever released, and a few moments hit hard enough to make almost any player emotional. Arthur and the Van Der Linde gang’s journey is long, violent, and taxing on everyone involved, and the story pulls no punches at any point. By the end, the player will have experienced a full emotional journey.

Players who have knowledge of the original Red Dead Redemption would already be able to guess that the sequel would not end happily. RDR2 takes place years before the first game, and it chronicles the end of the Van Der Linde gang before John would end up having to hunt down Dutch and the men who stayed loyal to him. New protagonist Arthur Morgan is a fascinating viewpoint character, fiercely loyal to the gang and looking up to Dutch because of who Dutch was before RDR2, and ultimately he is forced to watch both fall apart. Even Arthur’s gruff wit can’t withstand the story’s saddest moments.


Related: Red Dead Redemption 2’s Most Satisfying Side Quests

Lenny And Hosea’s Deaths Are RDR2’s Most Unfair Losses

Hosea's wisdom would have been needed to guide the Van Der Lindes.

The Van Der Linde gang is a group of outlaws who don’t pretend to be anything else. Even so, there are a few members of the group that are positive presences among the crew. Two of the most likable would have to be Lenny and Hosea. Hosea is an old con man with a gentle wit who Arthur views like a father, while Lenny is the gang’s youngest member apart from Jack, who is quite smart and talented for his age. Their likability makes their unexpected deaths in Red Dead Redemption 2 more painful.

When the Van Der Lindes’ attempt to rob a bank in Saint Denis goes south, their fortunes take a permanent change for the worst. In an attempt to find a way to escape, Lenny is unceremoniously shot right in front of Arthur. The situation worsens as Hosea is murdered by Agent Milton, the Pinkerton who doggedly pursues the gang throughout the story. This robbery, which was supposed to be Hosea’s magnum opus, instead led to the deaths of arguably the two most well-liked members of the gang. It’s the gang’s most tragic failure due to the consequences.

After the loss of Lenny and Hosea, the gang never recovers. Without Hosea’s influence, Dutch takes on Micah as his main advisor, with disastrous consequences. Members of the gang either die or flee as their situation steadily gets worse for the remainder of the story, and one can’t blame them. RDR2‘s Van Der Linde gang was doomed, and the aftermath of the Saint Denis heist made that painfully clear.

Arthur’s Confession About His Illness In RDR2 Shows His Vulnerability

Red Dead Redemption 2 Arthur Morgan Sick Tuberculosis Cure

Arthur contracting tuberculosis is one of the most shocking parts of Red Dead Redemption 2, especially when one realizes how early it actually happened. He was suffering from a deadly disease for most of the game, but it isn’t until the game is nearing its final chapter that he learns the truth. As Arthur’s time is running out, he is acutely aware of his situation, and that gives players a rare look at Arthur beneath his tough exterior.

Related: RDR 2 Characters You Never Knew Were Hiding Disturbing Secrets

Following one of the game’s final missions, an Arthur with high honor will stop for a moment and speak with Sister Calderon, a local nun. Unlike the rest of the game, where Arthur is often witty, gruff, or a combination of the two, his demeanor is completely different. Arthur can’t be cured in RDR2, and he knows it, and he admits that he’s afraid of what’s going to happen. After surviving every gunfight, fistfight, and scheme that has taken place over the course of the game, Arthur has finally found something that scares him in the form of an unavoidable death, and it humanizes him more than almost any other scene.

Although Arthur’s reaction when he first learns of his illness is powerful enough, it’s his meeting with the Sister that has the heavier impact. It carries not only Arthur’s reaction to his own fleeting life, but he gets a chance to speak about it, showing how much it affected him. This scene is not only powerful in its own right, but it also makes the early scene of Arthur contracting tuberculosis in RDR2 much more difficult to rewatch.

Arthur’s Death In RDR2’s Ending Is The Saddest Rockstar Scene

Arthur Morgan's final moments at sunrise in Red Dead Redemption 2's ending

Arthur Morgan is one of the best video game characters of the past decade, so there was always going to be some emotion when the time came to leave him behind. However, for him to die at the end of the game, even though his tuberculosis made it a certainty, was a difficult moment for almost anyone playing the game. The final mission before the epilogue is the last time players get to play as Arthur, and it hits players hard.

There are a few differences in how the mission plays out, depending on Arthur’s honor and what choices they make in the mission itself. No matter what option is taken though, Arthur will always die after his final fight with Micah, marking the last of several times Micah loses a fistfight in RDR2. The most powerful version of the scene would be if Arthur follows John with high honor. After defeating Micah in their final fistfight, Arthur is left alone, with just enough energy to crawl to the side of the cliff. There, Arthur is granted a few serene moments to watch the sunrise before he passes on, a gentle ending to a long and difficult life.

Related: Red Harlow, Arthur, John, or Jack: Which Red Dead Protagonist Is Best

Arthur’s death marked the end of a character that the player had spent the whole game with. Although there is still plenty of hours worth of epilogue after Arthur’s death, one can’t be blamed if they feel like the game is over following his final breath. Arthur’s end feels like the appropriate moment for the curtain to fall on the game, since it’s unlikely to reach that emotional peak again even with Red Dead Redemption 2‘s epilogue being so long.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is the most emotionally taxing game that Rockstar has put out, and that is one of its biggest strengths. By making players care about Arthur and the gang, the sad moments are more effective when they happen. It’s a journey worth playing through, but one must be ready for Red Dead Redemption 2‘s biggest heartbreaks when committing to the game.

More: RDR2’s Record Player Numbers Show How Baffling Rockstar’s Choices Are

Sources: GTA Series Videos/YouTube (1) (2), JohnnySDVR/YouTube

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