Even though the states within the game are fictional, a lot of Red Dead Redemption 2’s geography mirrors actual places within the United States.
The Red Dead Redemption 2 map contains 5 different fictional “states” that the player can explore. Two of these states, West Elizabeth and New Austin, appeared in the original Red Dead Redemption, while Ambarino, New Hanover, and Lemoyne were introduced in the prequel. By using the geography, wildlife, and location of the fictional states, it is possible to estimate what real-life United States regions each is meant to represent.
Lemoyne, the southeastern state where the majority of Chapters 3 and 4 take place, is one of the easier Red Dead Redemption 2 locations to identify in the real word. Saint Denis is clearly meant to parallel the city of New Orleans, boasting both a French influence and close proximity to swampy terrain. Although Saint Denis would seemingly indicate that Lemoyne is meant to be Louisiana, a share of other references such as gangs of confederate soldiers and a family feud between plantation owners suggests that Lemoyne is meant to act as a stand-in for multiple states in the southeast United States. The area’s climate, wildlife, and culture are reminiscent of South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama in addition to Louisiana.
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Another area that is easy to identify is the northern state of Ambarino. Since there are no major settlements in Ambarino, the areas’ terrain is the best way to figure out where it is meant to represent. As players might remember from the beginning of Red Dead Redemption 2, Ambarino is home to a mountain range known as the “Grizzlies.” These mountains are meant to parallel the rocky mountains that span the western United States. This means that Ambarino likely represents multiple states within the United States such as Colorado and Wyoming, and may even span farther north than that.
RDR2: Where Is New Austin in Real Life?
One of the states from the original Red Dead Redemption, New Austin, has recognizable climate and wildlife that is clearly inspired by the southwestern United States. Riding through New Austin, players can expect to come across large mesas, cacti, and rattlesnakes that further confirm this parallel. Considering the state’s proximity to Mexico, as shown in Red Dead Redemption, the best comparison for New Austin would be southwestern Texas and New Mexico. Not only is the terrain exactly like what one could find in these U.S. regions, but the town of Armadillo clearly mirrors the Wild West towns that these states were once known for.
Red Dead Redemption 2‘s final two states, West Elizabeth and New Hanover, are a little bit harder to nail down. West Elizabeth is located in the center of the game’s map and has a region called “Great Plains,” which likely references the massive area of land within the central United States. If that is the case, than West Elizabeth is likely meant to represent states such as Kansas and Nebraska. As far as New Hanover, its geography is more diverse, and therefore less definable, than the other states in Red Dead Redemption 2. However, it’s position north of Lemoyne may indicate that it represents some of the more northern states on the east coast of the country. Considering North Carolina actually has a county known as New Hanover, it is a solid guess for where the area is meant to represent.
Although the Red Dead Redemption franchise takes place in a fictionalized United States, Rockstar Games clearly put a lot 0f effort into making the various regions feel similar to the actual United States. With such a diverse range terrain and aesthetics, player can really feel like they are traveling through an entire country while they play.
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