When Undead Nightmare was originally announced, I assumed that the game would begin with the resurrection of Red Dead Redemption protagonist, John Marston. Such a move would take some of the gravitas away from the original title, but it didn’t seem a bad way to extend the Red Dead universe through this particular character’s story.
Undead Nightmare does not in fact begin this way, instead deciding to offer a glimpse of Marston’s New Austin through a plot just slightly outside of the continuity of the original game. The player, for instance, will witness the death of Uncle for the second time near the beginning of the game in a whole new way. This “off continuity” follow up then begins somewhat close to what would be the conclusion of Red Dead Redemption‘s plotline with Marston living at home again with his wife, Abigail, and his son, Jack but before the games concluding episodes. It becomes a play on one of the dominant themes of the first game, the role of fathers as protectors in their family’s lives. As Abigail and Jack are transformed into the undead, Marston must once again absent himself for the sake of the family. In other words, to seek out a cure that will allow the family to become whole again (well, and to try to teach them to not eat brains).