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Grand Theft Auto 6 will star a female playable character, according to report

Cultural shifts at Rockstar are slowing development and changing the game itself

Michael, Franklin, and Trevor come fully armed in a screenshot from Grand Theft Auto 5 Image: Rockstar Games
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

New details on Grand Theft Auto 6 have seemingly been revealed by Bloomberg in a new report on developer Rockstar Games. The report is about the changing culture at the company and how it may impact the development of the studio’s upcoming project, which happens to be the next Grand Theft Auto game.

Tellingly, one of the game’s main protagonists will reportedly be a woman, a first for the series. According to Bloomberg, she will be a Latina who will star alongside someone else in a story influenced by Bonnie and Clyde.

Grand Theft Auto 6 will be set in a fictionalized version of Miami and the surrounding areas. While original plans for a game world that covered many locations throughout North and South America were scrapped, the world remains extremely large and includes more indoor locations than any previous GTA game, according to Bloomberg.

This change of location was specifically made to help keep the game’s ambition and scope a little more realistic, hopefully avoiding the kinds of development crunch that Rockstar titles used to be known for. Throughout the development of Grand Theft Auto 6, Rockstar has apparently been careful to avoid overtime in general, unlike on previous games.

However, the changes have come with the predictable side effect of slowing down the game’s development. While it’s been in development since 2014, developers who talked to Bloomberg say that Grand Theft Auto 6 is likely still at least two years away and that the progress is extremely slow, though it’s worth noting that the pandemic has likely contributed to these delays as well as Rockstar’s new, heathier policies.

But development work on Grand Theft Auto 6 won’t stop when the game is released, either. While the initial game world will just focus on its fictional Miami, Bloomberg’s report says that Rockstar plans to continually update the game, adding new missions and cities. The goal with this, too, is to mitigate crunch and overtime in the game’s final months in development. It also sounds remarkably similar to the strategy the company has employed to great success with Grand Theft Auto Online, the multiplayer component of GTA 5.

As well as Rockstar’s new, less grueling development process slowing down work on the game, an attempt at changing the studio’s culture in general will have an impact within the game itself — starting with that female protagonist.

Bloomberg’s report mentions that Rockstar was known for having a workplace culture “full of drinking, brawling, and excursions to strip clubs.” This version of the company made GTA games that attempted to find satire in every part of American life, frequently by making jokes about the most vulnerable people in American society and leaning into cheap stereotypes, undercutting many of the games’ more salient criticisms and best jokes.

But apparently the studio hopes to be a new Rockstar Games now. It’s already removed several transphobic jokes from the rerelease of Grand Theft Auto 5. For Grand Theft Auto 6, Bloomberg says that the developers are conscious of trying not to make jokes at the expense of marginalized groups and people.

Take-Two, Rockstar Games’ parent company, says that it expects Grand Theft Auto 6 to be released sometime in 2023 or 2024, but the game has no official release date yet.