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Red Dead Redemption 2 receives unexpected HDR10+ support, reminding us all that there are still cowboys moseying out there somewhere

 Arthur Morgan on horseback.
Arthur Morgan on horseback.

Personally, it brings me some amount of peace to know that, somewhere in the world, people are still firing up Red Dead Redemption 2 and stepping through a doorway back across time to a world that moved according to the deeds of steely-eyed gunslingers and, more importantly, their steely-eyed horses. Even if I've moved on in my fascinations, they're still riding those dusty trails, picking wild carrots and—if my own experience was at all representative of the norm—getting mauled soon after by a large mountain cat. And now, according to the patch notes from a Red Dead Redemption 2 title update that dropped yesterday, that mauling can be enjoyed in glorious HDR10+ splendor.

After all, can it truly be the Wild West without a full, vivid range of contrast and brightness, providing lifelike detail? I mean, I couldn't tell you. Haven't visited the Wild West in person. But that's what HDR10+ claims to provide, and while I don't have an HDR monitor, I'm sure it looks nice. I'm imagining it now: My cowboy eating his night's ration of beans at his campfire, as I've seen so many times, but now the darkness is like, so dark. Isn't technology grand?

The addition does come as a bit of a surprise, considering Rockstar has, since announcing in 2022 that it was ending "major additions" to Red Dead Online, barely acknowledged its cowboy enterprise. Instead, the studio has busied itself with the grand reveal and eventual release of GTA 6, which is fine, I guess, if you're not the kind of person who wishes all that new tech was instead being used to capture the solemn nobility of an open plain and a steady horse. Not that I know anyone like that, of course. It'd probably be hard for them to say anything, considering how excited everyone is for GTA 6.

They'd be right to wish it, though, if they existed.

I'll save you the trouble of seeing what else is in the patch notes: It's slim pickings, with mostly standard fare of general performance and stability improvements. Hilariously, the patch does make it so that Voice Chat is set to "off" by default in Red Dead Online. Probably a sensible adjustment; I imagine those remaining cowboys are better daydreamed than heard. And, thankfully, "an issue that resulted in players being unable to summon horses" has been addressed. It's hard to imagine a worse fate.