Today marks the tenth anniversary of Red Dead Redemption’s original release. Since its 2010 launch, the Western has evolved into one of the richest and most immersive open-world franchises Rockstar has ever created. But what if we told you that the RDR universe is so expansive that it’s actually a part of the Grand Theft Auto universe? There's a lot of weight to this long-running fan theory, and there's a pretty decent chance we might see even more clues to support it in the future, whenever GTA 6 finally comes out.
Over the years, Rockstar has built a reputation of linking its games with sly easter eggs and references. There are countless references to previous Grand Theft Auto games in GTA 5. There's also a fair few hints that the modern-day crime adventure takes place a century after the RDR games, in the same timeline. While that might be difficult to believe, GTA 5’s art director Aaron Garbut hinted that GTA 5 would be rife with easter eggs back in 2013, so many that it might be impossible for gamers to find them all.
“There’s stuff that’s so obscure that most people will never see it,” he told TechRadar ahead of GTA 5’s release. “I think everything in GTA 4 has been found, I'm not sure if the same thing will happen for GTA 5.”
It’s not necessarily clear whether or not Garbut was referencing hints that would link both RDR and GTA together. But diehard fans of both series have unearthed some truly jaw dropping information across RDR, RDR 2, and GTA 5 that strongly suggests all three games are linked. It's fascinating to think about, and we hope to see GTA 6 continues the trend. Here's four of the most galaxy-brain clues hinting at a shared universe between the franchises.
Spoilers ahead for RDR, RDR 2, and GTA 5. This article will discuss quests and major plot points from all three games. Read on at your own discretion.
4. Red Dead the book
The first piece of evidence involves a book titled Red Dead and written by J. Marston that can be found on bookshelves across Los Santos in GTA 5. There’s no doubt that this is a direct reference to the Western series, but could the RDR protagonist John Marston have written a novel before he went down guns blazing in RDR?
John is a life-long criminal who has never expressed any interest in reading or writing throughout the series. But his son Jack Marston is a verified bookworm, who is most likely the author of Red Dead.
Throughout RDR 2 players get a glimpse of Jack’s upbringing, one of his most dominant traits was his fast learning. At the tender age of four, he already possessed basic literacy skills and is often seen reading around camp while his dad and Arthur Morgan are off being outlaws. He even asks Arthur to find him a new storybook for an optional mission, since he left his old one at the wintry camp in Colter. Jack also expressed his aspirations to become a writer and scholar. It would appear he followed through with his dream, despite his rocky childhood.
After all, telling the story of growing up in a camp of thieves and crooks in the Wild West is basically a novel ready to happen. All Jack had to do is put his pen to paper.
3. Francis Sinclair
The next clue linking the RDR and GTA universes together is much more mysterious, and may also serve as evidence that time travel is canon in this joint universe. Players meet a man with ginger hair named Francis Sinclair in RDR 2 as part of the Geology for Beginners stranger mission.
When players stumble across Francis’ remote home in the wilderness it’s immediately obvious that there’s something off about him. He’s got a Mid-Atlantic accent from the 1920’s, is dressed in a light blue knit sweater, and has a large birthmark around his right eye. Francis asks players to find various rock carvings hidden across RDR 2 and to return to him once they’ve found them all.
Upon returning to Francis’ cabin a woman answers the door and when asked about her husband she reveals that he’s been dead for years. Players then see that she has a baby with red hair and a birthmark on his face, which is clearly Francis as an infant. But what you find inside the house is even spookier.
There’s a massive drawing of Francis traveling through time underneath the portrait of a bald man with a birthmark on his face. Rockstar fans believe that the bald man is actually Kraff, a deity worshipped by the Epsilon Program cult in the GTA series.
The Epsilon Program in-game website states that anyone with a birthmark can be a descendant of Kraff and it even has a survey asking visitors if they have red hair or not. To top it off, Epsilon Program members all wear light blue clothes, just like Francis in RDR 2.
This seems like a whole lot more than simple coincidence.
2. The Sasquatch Hunter
Assuming time-travel is a thing in this shared universe, we turn our attention to the mysterious Sasquatch Hunter that appears in the Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare expansion pack and in GTA 5 as a random character that Franklin Clinton runs when wandering around Chiliad Mountain State Wilderness.
The hunter looks identical in both games, barring the graphics differences, and sets Franklin and John on similar quests and after that neither character ever sees the hunter again. Could he be a time traveler like Francis?
1. Mount Shann and Mount Chiliad
Finally, both GTA 5 and both RDR 2 have ominous mountains where supernatural and extraterrestrial easter eggs can be found.
If players climb Mount Chiliad in GTA 5 at 3 a.m. in-game time during a thunderstorm, after they’ve completed 100 percent of the game, they will see a UFO hovering in the sky. In RDR 2, if players climb to the summit of Mount Shann in the dead of night they’ll also see a UFO in the distance.
These mountains aren’t the same location, as both games are set in different geographic areas of the U.S., but it’s possible they’re somehow linked. Franklin runs into the Sasquatch Hunter near Chilliad Mountain and John encounters the hunter in Tall Trees, which is part of West Elizabeth in RDR 2 where Mount Shann is located.
This isn’t as much of a direct link as the previous hints, but there appears to be some kind of paranormal force that connects these two rock formations across timelines, based on the UFO sightings and the appearance of the Sasquatch Hunter.
Given's Rockstar known affinity for Easter eggs and seeing how many of these hints are so intricately woven into both RDR and GTA, it’s impossible to write off the possibility that both game franchises exist in the same universe. It's just one more reason we're hyped to learn more about GTA 6.