Wait, Didn't GTA Already Have A Female Protagonist?
It's all change over at Rockstar Games HQ, as we power ahead with Grand Theft Auto 6 and what could be the defining game of a generation. It worked for GTA V, and in fact, the Grand Theft Auto franchise's last game has defined multiple generations of video games.
There's no escaping the legacy of GTA V, but with GTA 6 debuting in a very different society, it's clear some things will need to move with the times. For longer than we care to remember, the various leaks (real or not) have continued to circle back to the idea of having a female protagonist. It would be a huge departure from what we've come to know - leaving Trevor, Michael, and Franklin firmly in 2013.
After Bloomberg reported that a Latina female protagonist will be one of two leads inspired by Bonnie and Clyde, various outlets jumped on the bandwagon to champion this "franchise first." At the same time, there were critics calling out Rockstar for being too "woke." The idea of the franchise's first playable female protagonist is definitely a big deal, but to quote Dakota Johnson, "Actually, no. That's not the truth, Ellen."
Has GTA Had A Female Protagonist Before?
As pointed out by Kotaku, this technically isn't the first time we've had a female protagonist in GTA. The problem is, the franchise is largely remembered for the GTA V trio, GTA IV's Niko Bellic, or Vice City's Tommy Vercetti. Going back to the earlier days before the 3D Universe, you could play as a woman.
Back when DMA Design delivered the top-down GTA in 1997, you could pick from a whole host of protagonists. Instead of playing as just one woman, you could actually choose between Divine, Katie, Mikki, and Ulrika. Admittedly, this was back when GTA protagonists were little more than stock characters behind the wheel of a car, but still, it shows that even at inception, women were more than just eye candy to kick in GTA. Take that, misogynists.
In the Game Boy Color port of GTA 2, you could also choose to play as Candy or Gretchen, although Kotaku reminds us that Candy has no relation to adult film star Candy Suxxx from Vice City. Of course, we then have GTA Online where you can play as either male or female. While it's hardly a rounded character like the protagonists of the main games, the dialogue will be tweaked depending on whether you're male or female.
Is GTA's Protagonist a Big Deal?
It should come as no real surprise that GTA has a bit of a problem with toxic masculinity. Similar to allegations thrown at the Call of Duty games, the stereotypical GTA player is a young male. Rockstar is clearly trying to shake some of the negative associations of the series and its sometimes questionable view towards women, but again, it has to be done while retaining the "core" of the GTA aesthetic.
The Bloomberg report said: "Developers are also being cautious not to 'punch down' by making jokes about marginalized groups," which (unsurprisingly) led to sweaty dweebs throwing the word "woke" around like it's someone they've just run down in Los Santos. At least there is some sense out there, with supporters rallying around the idea.
One eloquently wrote: "Rockstar Games giving their 1 of 2 of their main characters in GTA 6 (A huge title) the female gender is in fact by far the best decision they could’ve ever possibly implemented towards the title, females deserve to get the spotlight at least once in the GTA series it’s not woke." Someone else said, "Dudes will cry over a female protagonist in GTA and then proceed to play with their 12 female characters in some mmorpg." A third concluded, "If you are mad that GTA has a female protagonist now just admit that you hate women already bro."
Having a tough cookie "Bonnie" female alongside her "Clyde" male counterpart should work. Then again, you only have to look at the review bombing Horizon Zero West got for its female lead - and complaints about her "hairy" face - to see the wider gaming sphere can be a dumpster fire sometimes. We'd advise you stay off Twitter for a while unless you want to see some fragile masculinity in action. We're embracing the idea of a female GTA protagonist. Just wait for them to lose their sh*t when Rockstar announces an all-female DLC.