A new mash-up video from Netflix pairs Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2 with the Coen Brothers' The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Despite the fact that one is a video game and the other is a film, the brief mash-up clip syncs the two Westerns together seamlessly.
Though Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs have little in common, aside from the fact that they both exist within the Western genre, they both feature characters who are exceptionally talented when it comes to using a firearm. In Red Dead Redemption 2, Arthur Morgan is an outlaw on the run whose handiness with a pistol is highlighted through the game's "Dead Eye" feature. In The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the titular cowboy shows off his talents during the film's opening scene (which also doubles as the film's opening chapter, considering it's an anthology). Buster Scruggs (Tim Blake Nelson) spends the entirety of his chapter firing his gun in such a way that he may as well be using Red Dead Redemption's "Dead Eye" feature.
In response to these similarities, Netflix released a short video combining Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs in which a standoff scene from the film includes various effects from the game. In the scene, Scruggs aims his pistol at his opponent's fingers and - before firing - the red "X's" from the game appear on each finger, complete with the same sound effects. The clip is aptly titled "Buster Scruggs Redemption II."
Both Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs have experienced their share of acclaim in 2018. While Red Dead Redemption 2 became one of the fastest-selling games of all time, earning $725 million in its opening weekend (just short of Grand Theft Auto V's $1 billion record during its first three days), while also winning several awards at the 2018 Game Awards and being nominated for Game of the Year, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs won Best Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival and holds a fresh 92 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
While it's highly unlikely that Netflix is trying to hint at any sort of live-action Red Dead Redemption 2 film or TV series with their nod to the game, they've certainly zeroed in on their target audience for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (aka most people who are still waist-deep in the latest Rockstar game). Now, it begs the question how creative Netflix's marketing strategy will get when a popular open world game that is getting the Netflix series adaptation treatment is released (see: The Witcher).