Rockstar Games and the company's most popular series, Grand Theft Auto, are no strangers to controversy. The franchise and its maker have gone through lawsuits, petitions, and has even been yanked off popular retailer's shelves. Suffice it to say, the news that there might be more trouble a brewin' shouldn't shock anyone. Rumors have been floating around about the upcoming iteration in the series. Grand Theft Auto V has seen more success than any other entry, thanks to its online play. But a Grand Theft Auto VI is sure to come eventually. Some are saying it'll take place in Vice City, Florida again, and that it will include a female lead.
Surely many have done a double take on that, myself included, considering Grand Theft Auto's storied history regarding its portrayal of women. Grand Theft Auto V was removed from Target and Kmart stores in Australia because of concerns about depictions of violence against women. Why in the world would this series include a female lead? Could it be an attempt by Rockstar to clear Grand Theft Auto of its previous controversies and reach a new audience and market? Have they turned over a new leaf? Will Grand Theft Auto VI be a total breakaway from the rest of the franchise? All these things (and more!) shall be considered below!
Silly infomercial voice aside, the inclusion of a female protagonist in Grand Theft Auto VI would obviously be a major change to the franchise. Whether or not it will be a positive one is the big question here. If Rockstar is simply hoping to bury previous issues relating to Grand Theft Auto and women, it could turn sour. Even if a very well-rounded and admirable woman was used as a protagonist, there's almost certainly going to be those that will think it isn't good enough or it's just a pandering effort. The controversy that surrounds Grand Theft Auto's women is not easily forgotten, no matter which side of the line you stand on. Women who might play Grand Theft Auto VI for the female protagonist have probably already played entries in the series. Those that have negative thoughts regarding it will probably not be easily swayed.
The next theory related to Grand Theft Auto VI's potential mystery lady is that this might just be a very different game. Perhaps Grand Theft Auto VI will completely break away from the trappings of the franchise and give it a new start. It will almost certainly still show the seedy underbelly of humanity. But perhaps Rockstar has taken the feedback they were given and changed some major things about the series around. Maybe players will reverse roles and play on the side of the law. The new female lead could be a police officer even. Do I think this will be the case? Not really, but the chance is always there, right? I think it's far more likely that the female character in Grand Theft Auto VI will play very similarly to her male counterparts.
Before I move on to my final thought, I'd like to point out that I absolutely love inclusion in video games. It's great for everyone when they see a character that they can identify with. For me, I love playing as female protagonists for a lot of reasons. Least of which I've mentioned before in previous works, because ladies are sometimes more appealing to watch walk away. I also love seeing sign language or other deaf/hearing impaired characters/culture/traits, because I myself am hearing impaired. All of that said, I don't think that every single game needs to try to be inclusive. We have to recognize that some franchises or single games are what they are. Video games should represent all facets of humanity, and not just the good ones.
Games should be able to take inspiration from anything. And if you're going to create a game that's based on some kind of source material, it stands to reason that it will follow that. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was inspired by real life gangs and drug lords, as well as fictional accounts like Scarface and Miami Vice. So the gameplay and stories it tells are realistic to the universe it creates. If Grand Theft Auto: Vice City said it was inspired by Scarface and then featured a gang full of women with men as the supporting characters, people would get confused. Not to say that they couldn't have done that, it just isn't directly translating from the source.
Thus I worry that including a female protagonist into Grand Theft Auto VI might muddle the universe that the franchise has created. If they want to continue with the types of games they've previously made, they'll have to find some creative way to do that. The culture built up in the game has men in positions of power, so it'll be interesting to see how they explain this possible woman. Not every video game universe is suited to a female lead.
I think I've prattled on long enough though. What do you think about a possible female lead in Grand Theft Auto VI? Interesting idea, or big mistake? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Image Source: Redfill