The development of the highly-anticipated Grand Theft Auto 6 has been slower than impatient fans and even longtime Rockstar employees have expected, considering that it has been more than eight years since the release of GTA 5 and the announcement of GTA 6. It would appear that the company’s internal turmoil greatly affected the game’s development, and in-house changes have been reflected in the upcoming game — Grand Theft Auto 6 is finally introducing its first female protagonist.
According to Bloomberg’s report on the franchise’s next installment, the Grand Theft Auto 6 will feature a female Latin protagonist. This is a welcomed change in the franchise, and one Rockstar Games have been pursuing ever since it was accused of “frat-like” corporate culture, laid on top of incredible 100-hour crunch weeks, and bullying within the company. Admittedly, this isn’t a problem that’s unique to Rockstar — Blizzard’s dirty laundry was made public last year — but the company has made some changes since the original 2018 accusations surfaced.
So, after decades of portraying its protagonists as amoral men who live outside the law, some of which are psychopaths, the latest entry in the franchise, Grand Theft Auto 6, will feature a female as a protagonist of its main narrative. Female characters within the game have been previously available as custom characters in Grand Theft Auto 5 and its online component, GTA Online, thought the former required some modding experience on the player’s part to be able to play as a female.
However, the news of Grand Theft Auto 6 introducing the franchise’s first female protagonist isn’t entirely true. While the vast majority of GTA titles have revolved around male protagonists, like CJ or Tommy Vercetti — which will remain among the franchise’s top protagonists — the franchise has also featured female protagonists in its “early days.” This isn’t really common knowledge among modern gamers, most of which were either born or in their early teens when the original game was released.
Before we got classics like GTA: Vice City and San Andreas, both of which were ruined by Rockstar’s latest bundle-up, there was a whole series of games that began with the 1997’s release of the original Grand Theft Auto. The original game was released on PC and PlayStation consoles and provided players with a list of characters they could choose as the game’s protagonist, including four female characters: Divine, Mikki, Katie, and Ulrika. Admittedly, the four women weren’t voiced, and picking them didn’t change any details in terms of gameplay.
Similar to other characters, the first female protagonists in the GTA franchise didn’t have different in-game abilities, and the only variance was the color of their clothes, hair, and skin. Grand Theft Auto 2 added two additional female protagonists on top of the original four, but only in the Game Boy Color version of the game. It’s worth pointing out that both male and female characters in the early games offered no distinction from mere cosmetics, as they were devoid of any personality. And Grand Theft Auto 6 is striving to change that.
If the reports about the female protagonist in Grand Theft Auto 6 are true, it’s a major shift towards the inclusion of women into the franchise — especially considering how previous attempts weren’t really well-written or developed.
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