Red Dead Redemption 2: What makes Arthur Morgan one of the Best Characters Ever in a Videogame
WARNING- MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.
(Read only if you have finished the main story of RDR 2.)
As I write this, the song "That's the way it is" from Mr. Morgran's last ride grazes my ears and my hands shake. All I can think about is Arthur Morgan, once a right man of Dutch Van Der Linde's gang, now just an old man searching for his redemption in his dying breath. I have this sudden flinch as to why things turned out the way it did. I mean c'mon we all knew what was going to happen in the end and this is what scared me the most.
Making it a prequel and handing us a protagonist which was completely absent from the first game made crystal clear for us or at least to me that at one point in the game Arthur Morgan is going to die and indeed that is what happens ultimately.
But knowing the outcome beforehand robbed me and many others of the surprise element though the irony here is that not so surprise shook me to my very core and that my friend is what makes Arthur Morgan so amazing.
There's a good man within you, but he's wrestling with a giant.
A man of different shades, just like all of us Arthur Morgan ain't a hero. He ain't a villain or even an anti-hero as the initial impressions indicated. He's just an ordinary person somewhere in the middle, battling the good and evil inside him just like all of us are doing.
What separates him from almost every other character ever in a videogame is how intricate his personality is, hands down the best Rockstar Games have ever made.
But why would you care for a dead man walking? Add to that an unprecedented expectation set by Red Dead Redemption's 1 John Marston who was more of a kind of hero type when compared to this confused personality of Arthur's.
Rockstar Games answered this by the layers of depth Arthur's character held and a marvellous performance by Robert Clark who voiced and motion captured the man. As we progressed through the story and traversed the huge and beautiful open world of RDR 2, the layers started to unravel and we-the players started to get into Arthur's mind and soul.
As we ventured forward, we explored his traumatic past, his relationship with his former lover-Mary Linton, his love for writing hence the reason he kept a journal, being a father figure to Jack when John was busy getting his shit together, the guilt of losing his former kid Isaac whom he couldn't protect, the little moments he spent with his horses, patting and feeding them, caring as if they were just another lost human souls, his loyalty towards Dutch till the very end and of course his caring attitude towards every single member of the gang, yes even Micah as he went to Strawberry to rescue him in spite of his personal grudges because they were all big one family, a family that meant everything to him, all he ever cared for.
You know, all that mattered to me was loyalty. It's all I ever believed in.
All these things made us care for Mr Morgan, it was hard not to, and by his final breath, when his true nature flourished, we all found out the good in him, not that we needed a reason to anyway, but by his final days we were so much into him that we got blinded by the reality. A reality in which his time had come.
And when he lay peacefully at the peak of the mountain, amidst a beautiful horizon, our minds were hit by a tsunami of blue. Why?
Because we all have an Arthur Morgan inside us. None of us is perfect, just like him.
That's what makes him so special. That's what makes us special and that's why Arthur Morgan is one of the greatest characters ever made.