“Grand Theft Auto VI” may still be two years away, but an internal company culture shift may lead to the franchise’s first female protagonist.
In 2018, Rockstar Games faced some controversy following the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 after company co-founder Dan Houser bragged about the 100 hour work weeks they put in to finish the game. Since then, the company has been making a concerted effort to change its workplace culture. A new report by Bloomberg reveals how those internal changes are expected to impact the developer’s next big project, the highly awaited Grand Theft Auto VI.
Among other changes, a bid by Rockstar to back away from the ever-present “boys club” workplaces of the gaming industry may lead to GTA’s first female protagonist. Bloomberg reports that the playable female character will be Latina and one-half of a duo inspired by the story of Bonnie and Clyde, the infamous lovers turned bank robbers who captured the lawless anti-hero aesthetic of Great Depression America.
The pair of protagonists will be driving the streets of a fictionalized Miami and skimming the waves of its surrounding areas. GTA VI’s metropolis will join recreations of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and more. It’s unclear if this fictionalized Miami is the same version of Miami that appeared as Vice City in the original GTA, but Rockstar has told Bloomberg that the map will be their largest yet.
Original plans for the GTA VI map included large portions of North and South America but had to be scaled back — likely due to the company’s efforts to curb the extreme overtime that plagued previous projects. However, Bloomberg reports that Rockstar plans on continuing to update the game with new cities after its release, following a popular post-game content model that keeps players coming back for more. Neither Rockstar nor Bloomberg specified whether this additional content would come as free expansions or paid add-ons.
Along with scaling back their initial plans for the map, the less stringent development schedule means the final product is still quite a ways off. While there are no official release dates, insiders interviewed by Bloomberg expected the game was at least two years away. The publication also cited that a group of designers in Edingburgh had quit the project earlier this year out of frustration with a lack of progress.
Nine years and three generations of gaming consoles since the release of GTA V, fans have been skeptical that the game would ever arrive or that it could live up to the previous installments given the company’s many internal changes. GTA V remains the second highest selling game of all time, at over 165 million copies sold as of this May. It lags only behind Minecraft, which has sold over 238 million copies.