Red Dead Redemption 2 has just been released on PC. As you’d expect, it’s a rocky launch – errors and problems abound even before you get into the game. After dealing with the long decryption process, a lot of people are having other issues, like getting stuck on updating the launcher, or crashing with a message saying RDR2 exited unexpectedly. If you’re experiencing any issues with the game, our RDR2 errors & problems guide will show you how to fix or avoid them.
Red Dead Redemption 2 exited unexpectedly
A number of players have reported the game crashing after the logo, before they’ve even started playing. It displays a message that says “Red Dead Redemption 2 exited unexpectedly”. The message offers you the option to start the game in “safe mode”, with lowered graphical settings, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. Neither does updating the GPU drivers, verifying the game files or restarting the computer.
What does help is turning off your antivirus. If you disable your AV software, the crashes during intro should stop happening.
Stuck on updating game launcher
You might also get stuck while updating the game launcher. If this happens, you should open up your task manager, kill every process tied to the launcher (look for Rockstar in the name), then start it up again. There are processes that run in the background that fail to stop when you close the launcher using conventional methods.
Rockstar games launcher failed to initialize
This is another error message people get after the game crashes. There’s no fool proof solution yet, but you could try restarting your PC, updating drivers (or rolling them back, if you’re already using the latest) and verifying the game files.
RDR2 activation required
If you get the “activation required” error message, open up the settings in the launcher, then head to account information and select the option to delete the local profile. After you sign in again, everything should work as intended.
Shadowplay stops recording automatically
If you’re using Nvidia’s Shadowplay to record gameplay, it might start acting up in combination with RDR2. For us, it just stopped recording on its own randomly. It would also freeze the game for a few seconds at that time. If this happens to you, try updating the Nvidia drivers first. Other than that, there probably isn’t much you could do. We’ll have to wait for Nvidia to fix the issue.
RDR2 PC resolution fix
Some players have reported the game having a fixed resolution, locked in the settings menu with no way to change it. You could try changing it by giving the game different launch parameters through the launcher. Click the settings button in the upper right corner, then select RDR2 from the menu in the sidebar on the left. Scroll down until you see a box called Launch Arguments. Enter the following (without quotation marks):”-height X -width Y”, where X is the vertical component of your resolution and width is the horizontal one.
Companion app not working on PC
Some have complained about not being able to connect the companion app with the PC version of the game. There’s no way around this yet – the app doesn’t seem to be aware that there is a PC version at all.
Audio crackling in RDR2
If you’re experiencing audio crackling in the game, first give it some time. A number of players who had this issue reported it went away on its own during the first mission. Other than that, we don’t know of any workaround at this time. Stay tuned and we’ll update this article once we know more.
Taskbar and mouse cursor stay visible in the game
For some people, the game refuses to hide the taskbar and mouse cursor. If you’re one of them, you could try changing the display modes from windowed to full screen, or the other way around – depending on which one you’re using. Also, using alt-tab to switch out of the game then back in might do the trick. Some players claim that restarting their PC solved the issue.
RDR2 bad performance
A number of people have reported getting bad performance in Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC. The game is terribly optimized – even the most expensive GPUs can’t pull off running it on ultra at 4k 60fps. If you don’t care much about looks and just want it to run better, here’s what you can do. There are three kinds of anti-aliasing in the settings – turn off two of them, and you’ll get a big boost. Also, you can switch from Vulkan to DirectX12 for up to 50% more fps – go to the bottom of the graphics options screen and look for Advanced Graphics – Graphics API.
DATA watermark in the middle of the screen
We’ve heard reports of people having a big ugly watermark in the middle of their screens while they try to play. It seems like the issue goes away when you switch from Vulkan to DirectX12. This option can be found under graphics settings, all the way at the bottom (advanced graphics – graphics API)
RDR2 freezing while audio continues to play
There have been complaints about the game freezing while the audio continues to play. It seems like this is caused by running the game in fullscreen mode. To fix it, simply go to the graphics settings and chose borderless window – or press Alt+Enter.
Launcher doesn’t recognize RDR2 after reinstall
A lot of people have tried to solve problems by deleting, then reinstalling the launcher. This made some of them run into a new issue – the launcher didn’t recognize that the game was installed. If you encounter this issue, just tell it to install the game again, into the same folder. Once it starts, it’ll realize the game’s already there.
Rockstar launcher crashing on startup
There have been several reports of the launcher itself crashing on startup. The only solution we’ve heard of is logging into OneDrive and installing Windows 10 1903 update, then rebooting the computer.
If you end up getting stuck at another point, you might want to check out some of the other guides we have. We've written about mysteries like the missing person Gavin, the Rhodes Gunsmith prisoner, the locked door at Valentine doctor. We also have instructional guides that show how to rob stores without getting bounty or where to sell jewelry and gold bars. If it's collectibles or key items you're after, we've found all the Penny Dreadful comic books, Chick's treasure map location, or that famous pipe for Dutch. Finally, if you don't care to explore the map yourself, you could take a look at our Watson's Cabin and Catfish Jackson's Homestead locations guides.