Grand Theft Auto 5 blew the top off what gamers thought they knew about the scale of open-world games, but it was also an extraordinary achievement in storytelling, boasting some of the series’ most memorable characters and unforgettably chaotic alternate endings. In a survey of more than 5,800 gamers conducted by Inverse asking what features they want to see most in GTA 6, a large number of GTA fans wrote in that they wanted developer Rockstar Games to make one bold and potentially shocking change to the GTA 6 story.
As of Wednesday more than 5,800 gamers have chimed in and nearly 3,000 of them wrote-in their own ideas of what they’d like to see added to the upcoming titles. More than 100 gamers specifically wrote in that they want to see a woman be the protagonist in Rockstar’s next crime odyssey.
The series has a controversial past with the misogynistic portrayal of women, and the 2013 release of GTA 5 did nothing to address that. While the game garnered stellar reviews across the board, many reviewers noted that Rockstar’s supporting female characters were all based on sexist stereotypes that detracted from the game’s nuanced critique of 21st-century life.
Rockstar Games co-founder and VP of creativity Dan Houser said in 2013 that a woman wasn't playable in the GTA 5 single-player campaign because "the concept of being masculine was so key to this story."
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Simply making the protagonist a woman won’t fix the years of systemic abuse that has arisen from the unsavory depictions of women within the series, but it would be a major step forward in terms of representation within GTA that incorporates more varied points of view. At the very least, it would be interesting if GTA 6 allowed the player to create a custom main character, or at the very least featured default male and female characters like in the Mass Effect series. Plenty of role-playing games, including the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, have taken this approach.
In GTA 5's multiplayer and online components, players can create and play as a custom female avatar, but by most accounts, the quality of the character models is poor. One YouTube guide for "Hot Female Character Creation" has over 1.7 million views, seemingly because the game makes it difficult to design an attractive avatar. Even the most wholesome explanation for this still comes across as problematic, which is something Rockstar could stand to improve upon in the next installment.
The GTA 5 PC community has also already been adding their favorite female leads from other games as playable characters for quite some time, and if modders can make it happen, then it's definitely possible for Rockstar to make it happen in GTA 6.
GTA modders have added character models for Harley Quinn from the DC Universe and Mai Shiranui from the SNK fighting series Fatal Fury. The Mai mod has been downloaded well over 150,000 times, so it’s clear that there’s a lot of interest in playable female characters for GTA 6’s single-player campaign. There have also been rumors that Rockstar could actually go through with it too.
The unconfirmed “Project Americas” leaks that claimed GTA 6 would be heavily inspired by Netflix’s Narcos alleged that one of the central characters would be a female drug smuggler. There hasn’t been any further evidence to suggest if this could be true or not, but it would seem like a missed opportunity by Rockstar to work towards a more inclusive portrayal of modern life all while giving many of their fans a new feature they've been asking for.