Red Dead Online players are dressing up as clowns to protest a lack of updates

It's been seven months since the release of Moonshiners, the last update to Rockstar's Wild West multiplayer adventure Red Dead Online, and the players are starting to get a little antsy. And so, as noted by PCGamesN, they've taken to the game's virtual spaces to express their displeasure in a slightly unusual way.

RDO's literal clown show is apparently rooted in Red Dead Fashion, a subreddit dedicated to showcasing character customizations—something of a cross between an ongoing digital fashion show and a photography contest. In June, it held its first-ever themed event, based on the city of Saint Denis, which was apparently quite a success, and so for July it decided to follow up with something a little more pointed.

"Since we're all clowns for believing we'll get an update, it's fitting that we dress up as them in-game too!" the Travelling Circus fashion contest post says.

The theme for July is actually Travelling Circus, and players are encouraged to take inspiration from " strongmen/strongwomen, acrobats, mimes, jugglers, ring masters, knife throwers, and more." But clowns are clearly the star of the show: Over the weekend, player OnlyPVPCat was able to put together a digital flash mob of RDO clowns, which led to predictable shenanigans including a group photo op, horseback rides, street races, and a hammer fight on a train.

The frustration with the lack of updates is real, but Magnar, an admin on a Red Dead Online Discord, told Polygon that its members are trying to handle it in a positive fashion. "Rather than let it turn negative or nasty, which in game communities things often can, I thought I’d turn [our protests] into something a bit more fun or even wholesome in a way," they said.

Submissions for the Red Dead Fashion Travelling Circus will close on July 16, so you've only got a couple of days to dress up and take a great photo if you want a shot at fame and fortune. On the other hand, if you just want to dress up as a clown and fire off a tweet at Rockstar, I expect that will be going on for a good while yet.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.