Red Dead Redemption 2 is equivalent to 48 minutes of real-time. This means that each in-game hour corresponds to 2 minutes of real-time.
1 Day in Red Dead Redemption 2 in-game is 48 minutes Real Time.
Answered from Leslie H.
Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2) uses an accelerated timescale where one in-game day lasts 48 real-time minutes. This creative decision allows the game to simulate the passage of days, weeks and months as you play. Below I'll cover all the key details on how time flows in this expansive open world Western game.
Table of Contents
- The Accelerated Timescale
- Day/Night Cycle
- Schedule and Routines
- Timescale During Missions
- Tracking In-Game Time
- Importance of Time in RDR2
- Time Compared to Real Life
- Time Compared to Other Games
- Impact on Gameplay
The Accelerated Timescale
One full day/night cycle in Red Dead Redemption 2 lasts 48 minutes in real time. This means for every 1 real-time minute that passes, 1 in-game hour goes by. This accelerated timescale allows the game to simulate the passage of time while keeping play sessions manageable.
Some key points on RDR2's timescale:
- 1 in-game minute = 1 real-time second
- 1 in-game hour = 1 real-time minute
- 1 full in-game day = 48 real-time minutes
- 1 in-game week = Approximately 5 hours
- 1 in-game month = Approximately 22 hours
So time is sped up by a factor of 48 compared to real life. This adds a greater sense of time progression than a 1:1 scale.
The game world has a day-night cycle, transitioning from sun-up to sundown each day. Here are some notes on RDR2's day/night cycle:
- Sunrise is around 5-6am and sunset around 7-8pm.
- Daytime lasts around 13 hours, nighttime around 9 hours.
- The sky dynamically changes colors during sunrise and sunset.
- Overcast days feature cloudier, grayer skies. Clear days are brighter and more vibrant.
- The moon and stars come out at night.
- Shadows shift corresponding to the position of the sun throughout the day.
- Certain activities and events only happen at set times of day.
Schedule and Routines
NPCs in towns follow set routines throughout the day in RDR2, creating a sense of realism:
- Shops, businesses and restaurants open and close at set times.
- NPCs wake up, go to work, eat lunch, and return home on daily schedules.
- Some NPCs only appear at certain times or locations.
- Certain shops and businesses are only open during the day or night.
- Traffic and pedestrian density flows realistically based on time of day.
- Some story events and stranger missions only trigger at specific times.
Timescale During Missions
When playing story missions and certain side quests, time will often slow down or freeze to prevent missing key moments.
- Cutscenes often pause or slow the passage of time.
- In slower paced missions, time may pass more slowly.
- In missions with tighter action, time progression matches real time.
- Time will stop or skip ahead when transitioning between key story beats.
- Lengthy missions may span multiple days and nights.
So while free roaming maintains a steady passage of time, missions tailor time based on pacing and story needs.
Tracking In-Game Time
As you play RDR2, you can track the current time and date in a few ways:
- A clock displays the current time in the upper right corner of the screen.
- The sun's position in the sky indicates time of day.
- Calendars show the current day, month and year.
- Dialogue and events reference the in-game date.
- Time advance notifications flash when skipping ahead.
These temporal clues help ground you in the world and its timeline. The date provides wider context on your progress through the story.
Importance of Time in RDR2
The simulated passage of time is key to RDR2's immersive experience for several reasons:
- Creates a dynamic world where activities reflect the time of day.
- NPC schedules and routines make the world feel alive.
- Adds weight and consequence to story events spanning days and weeks.
- Provides structure for the epilogue's looser pacing.
- Balances realism and gameplay by accelerating time.
- Allows greater variety in missions and events across times of day.
The lived-in sense of time helps achieve RDR2's level of environmental storytelling and authenticity.
Time Compared to Real Life
Comparing the timescale to real life helps illustrate how RDR2 achieves a balanced passage of time:
- 1 real life second = 1 in-game minute
- 1 real life minute = 1 in-game hour
- 1 real life day = 48 in-game days
- 1 real life week = Over 11 in-game months
- 1 real life month = Over 7 in-game years
- 1 real life year = Over 84 in-game years
So while compressed, the scale retains a sense of meaningful time frames passing in the world.
Time Compared to Other Games
RDR2's timescale also stands out compared to other open world games:
- The Witcher 3: 1 in-game day = 24 real-time minutes
- Elder Scrolls: 1 in-game day = 24 real-time hours
- GTA V: 1 in-game day = 48 real-time minutes
- Horizon Zero Dawn: 1 in-game day = 8 real-time minutes
- Zelda: Breath of the Wild: 1 in-game day = 24 real-time minutes
- Metal Gear Solid V: 1 in-game day = 120 real-time minutes
RDR2 strikes a greater balance than these in accelerating time while remaining grounded.
Impact on Gameplay
The accelerated timescale has tangible impacts on RDR2's gameplay:
- Adds time pressure to reach destinations and complete missions.
- Requires more thoughtful preparation and resource management.
- Makes survival elements like food, sleep and horse care more important.
- Allows bonding and relationships to develop more naturally over time.
- Provides a better sense of consequences for decisions that ripple into the future.
- Unlocks certain content or changes in the world as days and weeks go by.
Overall the timescale makes for a more thoughtful, purposeful style of play.
While accelerated from real life, Red Dead Redemption 2's passage of time provides a greater sense of progression, consequences and lively realism through its day/night cycle, NPC schedules, variable mission time, and impact on survival gameplay.
The breadth of content sensibly fits within the scope of several months in 1899. Whether tracking the hours of the day or passage of story weeks, RDR2's timeline stands as one of its most powerful technical and artistic achievements.