Red Dead Online - Christmas

As part of their holiday celebration, Rockstar temporarily covered the entire Red Dead Online game world in a layer of snow. This seems like a small thing (snow is the smallest of all the small things in the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Yule event, for example), but it’s yet another example of the obsessive level of detail Rockstar has packed into this game world.

I think the temptation would have been to just add some white splotches to the ground and call it a day, but Rockstar didn’t just phone this in. I live in Minnesota, so I can spot fake snow a mile away, and I have to say that this stuff is pretty impressive.

So, I was riding around in New Austin, which is the Arizona-like desert state in the Red Dead Redemption version of the United States, and I realized that the dusty roads I’m used to riding down are now kind of wet.

Red Dead Online - Christmas

And that’s how it would be. The snow would melt at first when it hit the ground, because the ground wouldn’t have cooled yet. Eventually, the snow would start building up, but not until the ground had time to become sufficiently damp. And maybe it’s just the lighting, but those roads certainly look wet to me. I’m guessing that quite a bit more effort went into this than simply adding some white patches to the ground textures.

So I did a moonshine delivery, and when I was done, I started riding back to my shack. And that’s when I noticed the tracks.

Red Dead Online - Christmas

Those are my tracks, from my delivery wagon and the horse that was pulling it. They persist after the mission has completed, even though there’s a weird transition to hide the fact that the delivery wagon will completely disappear.

On top of that, as it snows, flakes start to accumulate on your character’s shoulders, as well as the back of the horse. Over time, this grows from a few spots to patches of that wintertime white. And sure, the snow mechanics are already in the game, since a portion of the game world is covered in snow year-round, but to see these effects in places I’ve never seen them gives me a fresh appreciation for how much work must have gone into these simple things.

And, to really drive home the holiday theme, Cripps had set up a Christmas tree by the time I returned to my camp.

Red Dead Online - Christmas

Aw, the ol’ bastard does have a soul.

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