But while the game allows you to play like a hooligan – if that’s how you want to shape the story of central character Arthur Morgan – some players have been taking things too far, gleefully dispensing virtual rage upon a Suffragette character in the game’s Saint Denis area.
The character doesn’t appear to be central to any of the game’s story or side missions, and instead seemingly serves as part of the historic atmosphere to give Rockstar’s virtual world an even greater sense of realism. But since the game allows you to interact with any character, some have been taking advantage of the game’s freedoms to attack the Suffragette: beating her to the ground, tying her to train tracks and coming up with even more morbid ways to murder her.
‘The NPC is rather annoying’
Gaming YouTuber Shirrako, who has nearly half a million subscribers, uploaded a video titled ‘Red Dead Redemption 2 – Beating Up Annoying Feminist’, which shows him confronting the virtual suffragette – who stands beside a sign reading ‘Votes for Women’ – after a short in-game conversation.
“I am an American, come on people! Let me vote! It’s a national disgrace,” she says, before Shirrako prompts Arthur Morgan into a heated conversation in which she brands him a “cynic”, and he then attacks her.
The video in question has garnered nearly 1.5 million views at the time of writing.
But many are concerned at the delight some gamers are taking at the virtual killings.
“This is a complicated problem with detailed, open world games that prioritise player choice,” tweeted Emanuel Cheeseberg, managing editor of technology site Motherboard.
“What’s not complicated is that there’s a reservoir of video game players who hate women and get off on this.”
Responding to Motherboard, Shirrako said they simply wanted to partake in some virtual shopping in peace, even inferring developers Rockstar Games may have made the character “annoying” on purpose.
“When you try to shop for clothing in the game, [you] keep being interrupted by her shouting,” they said, “I simply wanted to shop in peace.
“Not sure if it was intentional by Rockstar Games but the NPC [non-player character] is made to be rather annoying.”
Rockstar are yet to respond to the video.
Shirrako also claimed the virtual altercation was “a funny moment” in one of their live streams, and distanced themselves from sexist comments that have since been left on the video, adding: “obviously I don’t agree with the sexist comments, but there is not much I can do about them.”
Some of the comments included: “She got what she wanted, equal rights… and lefts,” and “This is why Red Dead Redemption 2 is the best game ever.”
Another comment read: “This wouldn’t happen if she stayed in the kitchen or was with her husband in public.”
Drawing the line?
There are currently only a few things you are prevented from doing in Red Dead Redemption 2.
You cannot kill children, or sleep with sex workers – even when they offer you their services.
It remains to be seen whether Rockstar will extend this field of banned actions to prevent players from attacking the Suffragette.
This article originally appeared in our sister publication the iNews.
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