Both Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto are the most successful franchises Rockstar Games has come out with, and if the evidence stands the test of time, it may turn out that these two actually share the same universe. Rockstar has planted various Easter eggs in each of the games referencing each other, but at times it seems like the developers may also be hinting that both games take place in the same world.
The latest Grand Theft Auto game, Grand Theft Auto V, released in 2013, and Red Dead Redemption 2 followed five years later. Rockstar may take their time before releasing a new game, but both of these franchise entries proved to be well worth the wait. From the stunning graphics to the captivating storylines and gameplay elements, both titles were critically praised upon launch and have since gone on to retain massive online fanbases. Grand Theft Auto 5 has had a particularly long lifespan, as it was recently announced the game would be appearing on the next generation of video game consoles as well.
Fans of GTA tend to also be fans of Red Dead Redemption 2, and vice versa. There are likely many players who would love to receive confirmation that the games take place in the same timeline, and while it’s unlikely Rockstar will ever officially confirm the speculation, the following evidence appears to clearly suggest they do indeed share the same universe.
GTA & RDR Share A Universe: Fan Theories
Red Dead Redemption 2 features many Easter Eggs seemingly pointing at the Grand Theft Auto franchise, and vice versa. A Reddit sub-channel dedicated to pointing out similarities between the GTA and RDR universes points out several important clues. “Is Red dead redemption in the same universe as GTA or are they separate?” user u/Puffoco asked the channel. Some respondents suggested the games take place in separate universes, considering RDR uses the names of real states whereas GTA uses fake ones. However, there were many that argued the other evidence convincingly points to the fact that they share the same universe – one person even suggested the states changed their names before GTA took place, which would explain the discrepancy in place names between the games.
In GTA V, for instance, Reddit user vash0331 points out that players can find a book written by J. Marston titled “Red Dead,” which appears to be a clear reference to John Marston, the main protagonist in Red Dead Redemption and an important side character in Red Dead Redemption 2. The book was likely written by John before his death (or even by a ghostwriter) and appears to tell his stories as an outlaw on the run. Similarly, in GTA Online, players can find another Easter egg when they uncover the Double-Action Revolver at the end of the treasure hunt. Granted, Rockstar Games included the revolver in GTAO as a way to promote RDR2 before its release, but the existence of the revolver in both games seems to imply they take place in the same universe.
RDR2 & GTAV’s Real Time Traveler Connection
The most striking evidence is the time traveler in Red Dead Redemption 2. Players encounter Francis during the “Geology for Beginners” side mission, and once it’s over and players aren’t able to find Francis at his cave they can stumble upon some suspicious drawings which hint the man traveled to ancient Egypt as well as the modern United States. Even more telling, a woman then enters a cave holding a baby with a distinguishable birthmark and Francis’ bright red hair – the baby is even named Francis! It would appear that Francis is potentially connected to The Epsilon Program featured in GTA 4, which is meant to poke fun of Scientology. Epsilon has long claimed that anyone with a distinguishable birthmark is inherited from an alien emperor named Kraff. Members of the cult also wear light blue robes, similar to the color Francis’ clothes in RDR2.
According to Epsilon’s beliefs, Francis may be an alien, which would explain his ability to time travel. One of the group’s key tenets explains, «Everyone is related to everyone else, except for people with red hair,» which means that Francis as well as his son cannot be human because of their red hair. Even more, the cult’s website hints that they are not only a modern-day product and that their members have existed during other periods of history. «The Epsilon Program does not exist in just one time or place,” the website reads. It appears very likely that Francis’ inclusion in RDR2 was a way to confirm that game takes place in the same universe as GTA.
The evidence that suggests the Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto franchises take place in the same universe are overwhelming, and with GTA 6 rumored to be released in 2023, hopefully Rockstar Games will include many more Easter eggs hinting at the shared timeline in the future.