Here's What an Audubon Birdwatcher Thinks of Red Dead Redemption 2's Depiction of Wildlife
From the perspective of a birdwatcher in the National Audubon Society, here is how Red Dead Redemption 2's depiction of nature stacks up to reality.
While Red Dead Redemption 2 impressed many with its epic narrative set in the landscape of the early 1900s Wild West, the game also brought forth one of the most convincing open worlds in recent memory thanks to its diverse array of wildlife and scenery. With that in mind, some additional insight into the strengths and weaknesses of its attempt at creating a “living” open world (from a natural perspective) have been shared by a professional birdwatcher.
Over on the official website for the National Audubon Society, professional birdwatcher Nicholas Lund shared his thoughts on the depiction of wildlife (and specifically that of birds) in Red Dead Redemption 2, given that the game places such a heavy emphasis on depicting a realistic portrayal of wildlife inside a thriving ecosystem.
Overall while playing Red Dead Redemption 2, Lund was impressed with the “breadth and relative accuracy of the species represented” in the game, and even noted that the species of birds seen in game can change with the habitat that players are exploring. Some of the species he found and highlighted included the Roseate Spoonbills and Great Egrets found in the swampy areas of Saint Denis, while the mountainous areas can play host to other species like eagles and condors.
In particular, Lund noted how impressed he was with the sort of “natural surprises” that crop up in the game to portray a fairly convincing sense of wildlife, such as a moment when he shot a mallard, and several minutes later, a red fox appeared to scavenge what was left of the carcass. After that, vultures appeared later on to take what remained, as Lund saw through his binoculars.
Outside of the more realistic portrayals that Lund noted, he did also cite a few errors that he noticed within the game as far as its depiction of certain wildlife. For instance, Lund noted that Little Egrets, which can be found in Saint Denis in-game, “would have been a truly rare North America sighting,” and a species known in-game as the California Quail instead is known in real-life as a Northern Bobwhite, among a few other bird species that he noted are not quite named correctly to real-life counterparts.
Despite these few nitpicks though about some of its accuracy, Lund said that Red Dead Redemption 2 is “absolutely the best and boldest representation of American birdlife in any video game,” and that “it’s not even close” compared to other titles. And while these are just a few choice excerpts from Lund’s full essay on the depiction of wildlife in Red Dead Redemption 2, I’d really recommend giving the whole piece a read.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is available now on PS4 and Xbox One. If you have yet to pick up the game and want to experience its natural wonders for yourself, you can grab it on Amazon right now.