Rockstar’s official confirmation of the authenticity of the recent GTA 6 leaks adds an intriguing new dimension to the ongoing arguments. Given the reportedly early development stage of the footage and the fact that games change during production, I’m hesitant to delve too deeply into what the leaks reveal.
Still, one thing stands out: GTA 6 appears to have a female protagonist. Earlier reports (based on conversations with developers rather than pirated camera footage) suggested the game would include two protagonists, a white man, and a Latina woman.
The leaks verified this, but they didn’t answer all of our queries regarding what this implies for GTA’s story. GTA purists were quick to point out that the series has featured a female lead before, but it’s just a semantic difference at this point.
There was a female character option in the first top-down game, but ever since the franchise became popular and began pushing the limits of gaming technology, it’s been all men. While women have frequently been portrayed in sexy stances on the box art, very few notable female characters have shown otherwise, and even fewer after those merely there as sexual objects are removed.
While I agree that the clowns crying wokery are the precise buffoons GTA has been lampooning all these years, I think the series has gotten a little carried away with the wetwork of satire. Abusing an s*x worker with no repercussions is a reflection of… society?
A refreshing move would be to focus on a female protagonist. Even though a female character is the main protagonist, she can still be portrayed in a highly sexualized way and written primarily for men’s pleasure. As evidence, consider the majority of Joss Whedon’s fictional creations.
A woman slapping sex workers to the ground and then driving her pink convertible over them isn’t empowering. No matter how well-intentioned, Grand Theft Auto could slip into the “more! female! landlords!” trap of superficially appearing progressive without tackling the reactionary beliefs that the series has made fun of to the point where they have become symbolic of them.
Moreover, the protagonist is Latina, which adds a unique dimension. However, GTA’s satire has frequently been both racist and sexist, so it might be beneficial to look at the world through new eyes. In contrast, every prominent Latina in video games is a sexually ambiguous snob from a gangster family and has a fiery disposition.
Rockstar creates memorable characters, but its stories sometimes seem to be built on little more than tired old clichés. It’s simple to imagine the worst-case scenarios. Let’s put our concerns aside and pick up our hopes.
With a female protagonist in a dynamic and realistic world like Rockstar’s, the gender gap in society’s challenges will need to be addressed in both the story and the free-form mode.
As a result, the usual parade of emotionally stunted guys who shoot first and experience sentiments later can be replaced by a female perspective that adds a fresh element to the storyline.
This will allow for richer narratives, more nuanced people, and more in-depth exploration of the planet. Another interpretation is that the satire that encouraged readers to “be a nasty person and laugh about it” will be subject to scrutiny.
Having a person of color play the lead role in Grand Theft Auto 6 is risky, even if she is accompanied by a white male character, to reduce the player’s need for empathy. Her very existence is a step forward, suggesting that Rockstar may have realized since GTA 5’s 2013 release that the world has changed, become more divided, and that its brand of satire-while-actually-just-punching-down may not fly.
Rockstar has the chops to make this concept work, and Sadie Adler was a fantastic addition to Red Dead Redemption 2, but Grand Theft Auto doesn’t have a stellar track record. Some cause for optimism, but also some cause for fear.
The worst part is that a sizeable portion of fans feels the same way, but for opposing reasons: they are afraid that this character would modernize the story. They want the game to remain in its controversial era of sexism and the cold-blooded murder of s*x workers. Rockstar’s implementation of those two groups will have the most significant impact on the direction of our female protagonist.
GTA 6 Introduces a Playable Female Character
Bloomberg has reported that a female protagonist will be available in Grand Theft Auto 6. According to the story, “Rockstar’s upcoming game, Grand Theft Auto 6, will contain a female protagonist for the first time, according to persons familiar with the game.”
Most of the report focuses on improving Rockstar Games’ internal development culture. In addition, it states that the woman will be Latina and “one of a pair of major characters in a plot influenced by bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde.”
It is unclear from the source whether or not this secondary character will be playable or what gender they might be. Bloomberg claims that production on GTA 6 New Car (or whatever the final title ends up being) began in 2014 under the codename “Project Americas” The game has been in active testing since 2016.
The female protagonist in GTA 6 is named Lucia according to the leaked gameplay.
The male character is named Jason. Their names can be seen in the dev menu. pic.twitter.com/i7cODR8tTI
— Okami Games (@Okami13_) September 18, 2022
The game’s early blueprints “asked for the incorporation of areas modeled after enormous portions of North and South America.” The studio, however, has “reeled in those ambitions,” narrowing the game’s focus to “a fictional depiction of Miami and its surrounding territories.”
According to the source, Rockstar intends to “continuously update the game over time, introducing new missions and towns regularly” after GTA 6 is published, making it more like live-service games like Destiny. Rockstar’s upper management expects this “will lead to less crunch for the game’s final release.”
“More interior areas than past Grand Theft Auto games,” however, suggests that GTA 6 will still have some substance even in this pared-down shape. Given the criticism Rockstar has had for its lack of female playable characters in any of its games over the past decade (or longer), including one in GTA 6 is not that shocking. Even if Bloomberg’s claim is correct, it’s excellent news.
I like how there was a lot of criticism about GTA 6 having a female protagonist until everyone got a look at Lucia.
She's already being Rule 34'd with many simping over her. Faster than I expected lmao
— Michael (@LegacyKillaHD) September 19, 2022
The purported effort to lessen developer stress by spreading content drops also makes sense. However, it is essential to remember that a live-service-style game release does not provide a crunch-free life and might worsen the problem, as creators are committed to achieving an ongoing cycle of deadlines.
It’s not the way of releasing a game but how the project is managed during production that makes the most significant difference in minimizing crunch.