VALENTINE – Rain soaked a forest path outside this cattle town in New Hanover’s Heartlands region as a rider on a horse named Skidaddle pulled out the rifle slung across her back to plug a passing rabbit. The rider – a mud-smeared redhead in a buckskin vest and black cowboy hat – grumbled to a USA TODAY reporter tagging along that Valentine’s butcher would give her next to nothing for a pelt in such blasted condition. She and the reporter could have robbed trains or hijacked stagecoaches during the hour they spent together online in “Red Dead Redemption 2,” a video game set in a fictional but stunningly realistic version of 1890’s America. Instead, the redhead – who is actually Mutahar Anas, a 24-year-old film editor and video game streamer playing from Toronto – harvested animal pelts and fished bluegill from a river, relatively mundane tasks considered the best way to make a decent living in a virtual world with a frustrating economic system. “It literally feels like work,” Anas complained after Skidaddle had been loaded with several pelts and an elk carcass. “And I’m just going to have to keep doing it.” “Red Dead Redemption 2” (or RDR2) was released as a single-player open world game in October and… Read full this story
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