Report: GTA VI Will Star Series’ First Playable Woman, Will Be More Culturally Sensitive

Report: GTA VI Will Star Series’ First Playable Woman, Will Be More Culturally Sensitive
Image: Rockstar Games

Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto VI is one of the most anticipated games ever. Despite the hype, the studio has been incredibly tightlipped for almost a decade now. But a new report by Bloomberg offers big new details including that the game will feature the series first-ever playable woman protagonist.

According to Bloomberg, GTA VI will star a pair of characters loosely inspired by the infamous robber duo Bonnie and Clyde. The female character will be Latina, and the game’s story will take place in a fictional version of Miami, Florida and its surrounding areas. 

The last Grand Theft Auto, GTA V, came out back in 2013, and was most recently ported to the latest generation of consoles, becoming the second best-selling game ever in the years since. Bloomberg reports that GTA VI has been in development in some shape or form since 2014, but that progress was slower than originally expected due to a range of factors including a new commitment to more sustainable work schedules and some key, high-level departures (Dan Houser, creative director on many previous games, left in 2019).

As a result, the game is now planned to come out sometime before March 2024, though some developers told Bloomberg they are still sceptical that date can be hit. Bloomberg reports the game’s map was originally planned to encompassed huge swaths of North and South America, but Rockstar dialed back those ambitions, and instead plans to add more areas and cities post-launch.

This is reportedly all in keeping with an attempted culture shift at the company. Shortly before the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018, Kotaku reported on brutal overtime at the famed studio. There have been allegations of abusive behaviour as well, including against former VP of development, Jeronimo Barrera. Bloomberg reports that in addition to trying to improve working conditions internally, the studio is also trying to be more culturally sensitive, especially since American culture has become, as the article puts it, a parody of itself in modern times. GTA games, parodies of American culture dialed up to 11, have been criticised in the past for their misogynistic treatment of women and offensive jokes that target marginalised communities. A playable female lead is apparently part of trying to address that. For now, though, it’s worth noting that we may already be seeing some of the changes that come with a “kinder” culture: the next-gen port of GTA V had some transphobic content quietly removed for the re-release. Bloomberg also notes that a police-centric mode called Cops ‘n’ Crooks, first reported by Kotaku, apparently ceased development due to the murder of George Floyd.

Rockstar declined to comment.

Comments

  • If they want to be more culturally sensitive, they can start by getting rid of the firearms violence.

    • The shift to a live-service single player experience is extremely concerning, definitely won’t buy it until they actually finish the game, 5 or so years post-release. It’s effectively a glorified early access experience that they are openly saying will be incomplete.

      I wouldn’t doubt that they’ve managed to recoup a portion of development costs just through GTA Online alone, and 6 is guaranteed to sell. It’s risk-free, they’re more than able to just take their time and release a fully-featured product whenever it’s ready.

    • All the theft and such will likely have to go too.

      I mean it wouldn’t be very sensitive of them to be going around implying that their character of X race or ethnicity is a thief.

    • What a dumb comment. Sure gun rights are the stupidest thing since religion but taking them out of one game which relies on it for gameplay isn’t going to make a difference or change anything. If people really had a problem with gun violence in the US they’d f****** do something drastic about it.

  • Lets hope they hirer some female writers to go along with the female character, god knows the normal writers for their female characters are simply appalling. I wont expect much in terms of sensitive writing, for once again, in terms of good great and clever writing, the GTA games tend to take the blunt weapon approach to tact. Often seemingly like they are adults, pretending to be edgy teens.

    Yes there is a lot of cleverness in the writing, sadly you normally had to wade through much bollocks to get to it.

    • There’s a concerning amount of male writers who seem to think all women are foaming at the mouth, raving psychopaths. While this is GTA, it would be nice of them to hire a woman to write a normal female character arc that didn’t involve them being a total lunatic, but even then that’s not a safeguard with actually unhinged women writing female characters that make the rest of us look bad. If they go with the crazy Latina angle, they’re not going to escape the fallout for the sheer amount of racist stereotyping associated with that either.

      • “If they go with the crazy Latina angle, they’re not going to escape the fallout for the sheer amount of racist stereotyping associated with that either.”

        First of all, it’s Latinx.

        Secondly, they’ve already done that in prior games, and not a peep has been heard calling for Rockstar developers to be hanging from the lampposts yet.

        • They weren’t meant to be main, playable characters though. It’s a hell of a lot more noticeable and irritating if you’re stuck with that for all of your hours of play through instead of a single story arc. That shit’s not going to fly because it’s so irritating and no one will sit through it.

  • Haha, I mean it’s not GTA if it doesn’t upset somebody.
    Can’t wait for the #notmygta movement.

    Seriously though it’s possible to be GTA and still be sensitive but the question is can they do it, it all comes down to what they want to portray, focus on and parody.

    The point about American culture becoming a parody of itself is a sobering point.
    I remember thinking V wasn’t as funny as past games until I realised it hadn’t really changed much at all, it’s just the society they parody had literally become a reflection.

  • PSA in advance for the imbeciles whose knee-jerk reaction will be to complain about a ‘PG GTA’ or whatever dumb shit. All it means by ‘more culturally sensitive’ is at most losing a few borderline jokes or character traits. That’s it, might as well be literally nothing.

  • Considering the BS Rockstar has produced since GTA V first came out, being a more ‘make the wokestars happy’ game is the least of its issues.
    But its definitely the straw that broke the camels back as far as me even pre ordering the thing.

  • I’m confused. This article says a female it’s a first, but Zack Zweizen’s article says it isn’t. Which is it? or is Kotaku hedging their bets lol

    • A technicality, it seems. The original GTA and GTA2 let you choose from a small pool of character models which included women. GTA Online also lets you play as women. The difference in all three cases is that none of these characters have an inherent personality or drive the story, it occurs around them. GTA6’s protagonist, like Nico and GTAV’s trio, is a clearly defined character central to the narrative which is why she is considered a first for the series.

  • It is almost very GTA to report that a video game will be more sensitive, noting the point of GTA was to avoid political correctness and sensitivity. It is a blunt mirror showing us how ridiculous American society and culture is. It is certainly not a politically correct life sim.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!