We rarely see such a thing (but Valve has done it with Team Fortress 2 on PC…): a developer team removed graphical effects from a game after it launched!?
Rockstar seems to have taken out the ambient occlusion out of the game. What is it? It’s a realistic lighting rendering, which is based on the room’s geometry, meaning if the light ray is blocked, the room would get no light, but otherwise, it could spread its light across, making it look somewhat realistic. It might sound complicated on paper, but thankfully, we have two comparison images that show the 1.00 retail disc version of Red Dead Redemption 2, then the 1.06 patch at the bottom. [source]:
You can see the difference between the two! The 1.00 version has more bright colours, and it looks more realistic than the 1.06 one, which honestly looks somewhat dull if we put the two side by side. GamingScan also made a comparison (Not with Red Dead Redemption 2.) to show what ambient occlusion can do:
It’s still suspicious: IGN‘s site doesn’t have a single letter about silently getting rid of AO! However, in Rockstar‘s defence, the weather, as well as the time of the day might have played a role in this change.
If it’s not the weather/time of day, then let’s just say that we didn’t expect such a removal from Rockstar, especially after them developing Red Dead Redemption 2 for several years and launching it in October on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (with a PC port possibly being in development already)…