Rockstar recently added a new role to Red Dead Online that focuses on studying and collecting samples from animals. Now there’s a new way for players to get close to nature, with the latest update adding the ability for players to temporarily become animals.
On September 8, a small update added a new free item, The Buck Vitalism Studies pamphlet. The update also added some new flowers; collecting five of these flowers after reading the pamphlet will guide you to a spot where you’ll find some deer tracks. Interact with the tracks and your character transforms into a Whitetail buck. It’s a temporary effect, lasting about five minutes, if you’re not killed first.
The new flowers, Harrietum Officinalis, can be found in 35 spots around the map. Flowers will respawn in the same place after a short cooldown, so you can collect more, head back to the tracks, and turn into a deer more than once during a play session.
What can you do as a deer? Well, you can run around, walk, and eat grass. You can also try to attack a moose, as one player did, but you’ll quickly learn that’s a waste of time.
Currently, players can only become a deer, though earlier this year dataminers discovered code that seemed to point towards more pamphlets and animals being added. However, the current Outlaw Pass provides players with some coupons on future animal transformation pamphlets, which suggests these future Vitalism Studies might not be free.
Turning into an animal is new for Red Dead Online, but it isn’t the first Rockstar game to let players take a walk on the wild side. Grand Theft Auto V has had peyote plants, which let players turn into animals, since the enhanced version was released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Last year, Rockstar added these plants to GTA Online.
While some players are having fun playing as deer, others are concerned that Rockstar is focusing on sillier elements of the game instead of adding more realistic cowboy content. Some RDO players worry that this animal transformation business is a sign that the game might be headed down the same path as GTA Online, which has famously become wilder and weirder with each passing year. Some players who are happy roleplaying and chilling in the slower, more realistic world of RDO don’t want to see the game become a wacky playground.