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What does Wanted Dead or Alive mean in Red Dead Redemption 2

In Rockstar's exceptional western you make like Bon Jovi and play a cowboy, wanted dead or alive - steel horse not included. The crimes you commit can make areas of Red Dead Redemption 2’s huge map are hotter than others, and we’re not talking about the desert sun.

Being an infamous criminal comes with its fair share of baggage, so here’s all you need to know about the “Wanted Dead or Alive” areas in Red Dead Redemption 2.

Wanted Dead or Alive Red Dead Redemption 2

You’ll most likely notice the ominously red Wanted Dead or Alive message around Javier Escuella’s second mission in Red Dead Redemption 2.

The game doesn’t really communicate to you what this means, but you’ll find it on some other areas by default, as well as because of your actions in and out of main missions.

Basically, in areas marked with “Wanted Dead or Alive” NPCs will be actively hostile to your presence since you’re so well known as a wrong’un. Lawmen in the area will be searching for you and will shoot on sight.

This is why at the start of the game it’s active around Blackwater - because of a robbery gone wrong - and will trigger in other places based on the outcome of some quests.

You can also cause it to happen by committing a large number of serious crimes in quick succession, which spawns a big posse of gunmen to chase you down. Then when you return to the area before things have cooled off, all of the police will be hostile.

These areas are essentially locked out to you for a certain amount of time unless you visit them during a quest. Military encampments and police strongholds are also off limits and behave in the same way - including places like Fort Wallace and the Penitentiary.

Special locations like this are separate from the bounty system, so for instance, you can’t pay off your Blackwater bounty in Chapter 2.

For more on how crime and punishment works in Red Dead Redemption 2, or if you’re struggling with the law, take a look at our guide on how to get rid of your bounty. You can also check out our guide to see how bounties will affect the honor system.

While you're laying low, how about you collect and store some perfect pelts to trade for better supplies?

We’ve also got a few great Red Dead Redemption 2 tips to get you started, as well as all the cheats you could ever need, and the locations of all the best weapons in the game.

Still stuck after that? Then check out our Red Dead Redemption 2 guide for more tips, tricks and walkthroughs.

Red Dead Online's Frontier Pursuits will be available to PC players from launch, so here's how to get started. For more here's our Red Dead Online guide, with tips and tricks to get you started in the single-player story missions and multiplayer modes, how to unlock all the weapons, Ability cards and more.

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