Actually it’s been decided for you, it’s a colorized photo
The process of colorization has led to some incredibly impactful media, like They Shall Not Grow Old, and numerous colorized photos that provide new context for past events. We’re also at the point where open world games look exceedingly lifelike, which includes the lush landscapes of Red Dead Redemption 2. And now the twain shall meet!
As redditor kieferevans points out, this colorized 1906 photo from New Orleans below looks strikingly similar to a Red Dead Redemption 2 location, St. Denis. Given that St. Denis was modeled after New Orleans, it makes perfect sense that the Red Dead subreddit would pick up on this.
The image is actually from the talented artist Sanna Dullaway, who recreates old photos from many eras of the United States, spanning far beyond 1906. It really just goes to show you the insane amount of research that the team at Rockstar did to help craft St. Denis and make it as authentic as possible. My first thought is that famous “Assassin’s Creed versus Real Life Paris” comparison that came out a few years ago, which holds up in-game Unity photos near the actual Paris locations.
No matter how a game turns out, those teams can look at the work they did and go “my job is done.” Open world games are often full of so much bloat and busywork these days, but a lot of the environmental work goes unnoticed and underappreciated. The fact that someone saw fit to compare this colorized photo to the game is enough to drive that home!