Is It Finally Time GTA Introduced a Female Lead?
Bob Dylan once wrote ‘the times, they are a-changing’ and from one rockstar to another, the sentiment still rings true. A blockbuster report filed by Bloomberg‘s Jason Schreier has revealed a swathe of updates and reshuffles for Grand Theft Auto 6, the upcoming instalment in Rockstar Games‘ much-loved video game franchise. Namely, the introduction of a female protagonist, the first in GTA history.
According to Schreier, Grand Theft 6 will feature two main protagonists, one of which will be a Latino female, with the storyline said to be influenced by iconic bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde. By that token, it would suggest the second protagonist will be a male, in-keeping with the coupled-up concept. Importantly, Rockstar has yet to confirm any of the reports or respond to Schreier’s assertions, however, the Bloomberg reporter has taken to Twitter to stake his claims for credibility.
“This rare look inside Rockstar Games and the development of Grand Theft Auto VI is based on interviews with more than 20 people who either work there or left very recently,” he wrote. “Production on Grand Theft Auto VI has been slower than expected, largely due to the pandemic but also due to these changes, as employees grow accustomed to working at this Rockstar. But many say morale is higher than ever and that the cultural changes are well worth it.”
GTA VI Female Character Response
The cultural changes Schreier refers to aren’t simply the introduction of a female lead. According to Bloomberg, Rockstar is being far more cautious about not punching down, marginalising groups and perpetuating stereotypes. The stance, while obvious in nature, has garnered mixed responses from the online community, with many accusing the famed video game developer of “going woke”. Ironically, the announcement has led to greater awareness of the themes of past games, with social media quick to point out that the series hasn’t always been as complimentary to the conservative agenda as some may have thought.
“So funny to read commentary about GTA “going woke” when those games have really been about a deep hatred of America for many years,” one Twitter user wrote. “GTA 4 is literally about an immigrant who comes to the US for a better life and then finds out that the American dream is a lie and it sucks here too,” another responded.
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It’s not the first time the idea of a playable female lead has been floated, however, with co-founder Dan Houser previously indicating the company was considering the move as far back as 2013.
Grand Theft Auto 6 Storyline
While the key themes of the GTA 6 storyline are still very much under wraps, the Bloomberg report did suggest that the game’s story will take place in a fictional version of Miami, Florida and its surrounding areas. Loosely based on the Bonnie and Clyde story, GTA 6 will be updated with “new missions and cities on a regular basis”. By all accounts, the launch version will include more interior locations than any previous release in the franchise portfolio.
Interestingly enough, the game, which is allegedly codenamed Project Americas, was originally intended to encompass huge territories in North and South America upon launch. That theme was apparently scrapped in order to meet demands and reduce the workload on employees, which could be good news for avid fans. With a consistently rolling update schedule, the task of getting the game out to players will be far easier.
GTA 6 Release Date
The Bloomberg report does outline that with the changes to the internal structure, in particular the exit of creative director Dan Houser in 2019, the GTA 6 release date does appear to be a moving target. As a result, the game is expected to come out sometime before March 2024, giving fans a nearly two-year wait before any content is delivered. Adding insult to injury, the report claims that many developers within the Rockstar network are still sceptical that the date is achievable.
Changes at Rockstar
The shift to introduce the first playable female character is part of a wider move by Rockstar to be more sensitive and inclusive as an organisation, and it’s not the first step. As Schreier rightly points out, American culture has essentially become a parody of itself recently, and social commentary from games like GTA can garner criticism for their often misogynistic treatment of women. Adding a playable female character to Grand Theft Auto VI is a start, but there is certainly work to be done.
In April, Rockstar quietly made the decision to remove content from Grand Theft Auto V that many journalists and users considered transphobic. In older versions of the game, there was a reference to a packaged action that featured “interchangeable genitalia”, complete with a pink outfit, poorly administered makeup and a large bulge in the crouch. While part and parcel of GTA‘s often controversial social commentary, the action figure was no longer present in the April PS5 or Xbox Series X/S port,
Similarly, the latest edition of GTA V removed a series of NPCs that were originally labelled as ‘drag queens’ in the game’s director mode and tagged as “transvestites” within the game’s files on PC, according to Kotaku. Much like the action figure, these characters featured makeup and bulges and were often heard saying there were “using hormones”. Bloomberg also noted that a different mode entitled Cops ‘n’ Crooks was also axed in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.
For Rockstar Games, the past few years have been challenging, with blockbuster releases like Red Dead Redemption 2 reportedly pushing developers to their limits. Additionally, an influx of abusive behaviour allegations also surfaced, levelled at former VP of development, Jeronimo Barrera. An unsubstantiated claim from a former Rockstar employee alleged that Barrera had groped him at a work gathering in 2014, asking him to sit on his lap. Barrera, who left the company in 2018 after two decades, vehemently denies the allegations. In investigations by Kotaku, employees also spoke of a ‘culture of fear’ within the organisation, suggesting that major changes were needed.
For the video game industry, revelations such as those levelled at Rockstar have not been isolated. Fellow developer Ubisoft came under massive scrutiny last year, following numerous allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct.
Did you enjoy this story about grand Theft Auto 6? Check out our recent coverage of GTA:
- ‘Grand Theft Auto VI’ Confirmed: Rockstar Announces Sequel Officially ‘in Development’
- GTA 6: Release Date, Vice City and Ryan Gosling Rumours
- Rockstar Confirms ‘Grand Theft Auto’ Remastered Trilogy Coming This Year
According to a recent Bloomberg report, the GTA 6 release date is slated for sometime before March 2024. With a swathe of internal changes, the release date has been pushed back with some developers still sceptical that it is achievable.
Reports have suggested that Grand Theft 6 will feature two main protagonists, one of which will be a Latino female, with the storyline said to be influenced by iconic bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde. The game’s story will take place in a fictional version of Miami, Florida and its surrounding areas.