There's probably no avoiding a fair amount of backlash, but I will attempt – vainly, perhaps – to list out a series of important disclaimers. Please read:

First and foremost, I firmly believe in equality on any and all levels. That should cover a lot of territory, I hope. Secondly, I agree that this industry requires more in the way of significant female roles. More games should have female protagonists; there are multiple unique storylines that could be created specifically for women, and more women might get interested in the hobby, too. Thirdly and lastly, I don't view women as helpless, fragile creatures who can't defend themselves, and who wouldn't make for powerful, capable characters in a game. Lara Croft is a bad-ass.

That all being said, I am not in favor of having a female lead in Grand Theft Auto V . I see a lot of discussion on this topic recently, and although I'm sure I'm once again in the minority, I really wouldn't want this to happen. As a reference point, I think Madison in Heavy Rain could have her own game; she was an intelligent, strong, independent and interesting woman, who felt authentic and real. And being an investigative journalist, good writers could pen some excellent scripts for her. But Grand Theft Auto ? Just no. There's simply too much wrong with that picture and to be perfectly honest, I might be uncomfortable playing GTA as a woman.

There's a heckuva lot of violence in GTA games. Now you can call me old-fashioned if you wish, but I see violence against women as a grave offense that is twice as grievous as violence against men. And although it isn't a popular viewpoint in today's ultra-liberal world, I'm not the biggest fan of gender confusion, either. No, women aren't supposed to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. But that doesn't necessarily mean they should be toting Uzis in an alley. Again, it's not that I don't think a woman could and not even that I think a woman should ; it's more that it just isn't a good idea. Do people really think a lead female role in GTA would be a step forward for women in games? Outside of potential popularity, I don't see that.

GTAV could boast a great story, I don't know. All I do know is that story is never the focal point in such games. Personally, if I were a woman and I wanted to see games make strides in the realm of female characters, I'd want a script of which to be proud. I'd want to see a role that would be challenging, that would show a different angle of the world that men may not easily recognize. Putting a woman in the lead role in GTAV wouldn't accomplish this. I say, pick your battles. By all means, write a great script for a female protagonist. I'm all for it. GTA? Why? Just to prove that a woman can do anything a man can do? Aren't we bored with that yet? How's about a script that celebrates the differences between men and women?

Celebrating difference is what we're all about now, right? I find it exceedingly odd that certain people crow about "celebrating differences" when apparently, all they want is for everyone to be exactly the same…

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cLoudou
cLoudou
7 years ago

I find it pretty cool to have a women lead. Love to see women kicking ass. I've never been a GTA fan, but my concern with GTAV is the 3 protagonists. Reminds me of the abomination that was RE6.

Neo_Aeon666
Neo_Aeon666
7 years ago

Yeah man! Women POWA! Just like DoA 😀

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
7 years ago

Woman lead would have been cool! Or at least a share of the lead with a male. Especially if it was a Marisa Miller doppelganger!! 🙂

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
7 years ago

The way I see it, if GTA had a female protagonist it could tell a very different, less violence-oriented story with gameplay to support it. Sort of like how Haruka is going to be present in Yakuza 5. Taking GTA as it is, no, it wouldn't be a good fit, but fix it up so that it is tailored the right way to what is being portrayed, as was the case in RDR… It could be magical.

Yukian
Yukian
7 years ago

I really don't mind a female lead. I wished that Catwoman had a whole game just for her when I played Batman AC 'cause it was quite different.

Off topic, but I hate Daylight Savings Time 'cause we don't use it here and now the updates come up late… :/

And yes, I wait for the updates to show up 'cause I'm an avid reader of PSXExtreme. Keep it up, Ben! 🙂

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

Harley Quinn should have her own game… mmmm…

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

Putting a female in GTA wouldn't be FOR the purpose of advancing the woman-as-lead in gaming, it would just add a healthier viewpoint to a story that clearly wants to have differing perspectives.

And if we're going to talk about violent uzi-packing women then there's no talk to be had, there are already a bunch of them and they dish out and take violence on a regular basis. GTA wouldn't touch some unthought of nerve by doing so.

It doesn't really have anything to do with gender politics, it would just be a good idea to move the franchise forward, not to prove anything at all.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
7 years ago

It wouldn't move anything forward. That's exactly the point, that there are already women protagonists who just beat on things. Unless they changed the entire focus of GTA, that's all we'd get here. Waste of time.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

I disagree, it would allow for new aspects of that realism which Rockstar is hell-bent on seeking to come into play. Yes there are women functioning in the criminal underworld and I think that perspective could bring something new to the currently machismo-driven franchise. It wouldn't have to do anything especially "womany" like get all emotional but there's an opportunity there.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
7 years ago

Unfortunately, at the crux of slime is just more slime. That's what GTA is all about. Seeing it from a different perspective is meaningless to me, because it's all the same.

Dukemz_UK
Dukemz_UK
7 years ago

The moment I heard there's 3 characters, I had a strong feeling that they may introduce a female character. Nothing's confirmed yet, though.
Whether it's right or "wrong", I doubt fans will have a problem with it.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

Ahso ahso. Well if there is a woman then I look forward to revisiting this topic with you.

skyplaya
skyplaya
7 years ago

I dont see any valid point why a woman protagonist would be bad.

Beamboom
Beamboom
7 years ago

Anyone who has played the Mass Effect trilogy as Femshep know how badass a female protagonist can be, and how well it can work.

A female protagonist in GTA touting uzis in an alley and whatnot could work just beautifully, imo! Especially in the skilled hands of Rockstar.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

Due to basic cultural constructs it shifts the paradigm, (in a good way in my opinion) there's just no getting around that.

Beamboom
Beamboom
7 years ago

I'll be honest; I didn't understand what you meant there, World. Please bear with an old man.
I even looked up "paradigm", but it didn't make me much wiser.

However, according to how I know you I probably agreed with what you said regardless. 😀

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

I just mean that adding in a female perspective on the main GTA theme (satire of the American Hollywood crime movie) opens up a lot of opportunities just be changing the gender of the character you control.

Beamboom
Beamboom
7 years ago

Aha now I understand. 🙂

Huey
Huey
7 years ago

I agree with Ben. I was raised to be respectful towards the female gender. That being said, when given the choice of picking gender in a game I am playing, I always pick female especially fighting games.

On a side note. Have you ever tried to cuff an irate female? I would much rather cuff men than women. Less likely to get a complaint filed against you for abuse if it comes to violence.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

No comment.

karneli lll
karneli lll
7 years ago

WOw!

Bonampak
Bonampak
7 years ago

"I was raised to be respectful towards the female gender"…

I was going to ask you how you treat all the prostitutes in the GTA games (do you beat/kill them?), but then you wrote this little gem:

"On a side note. Have you ever tried to cuff an irate female? I would much rather cuff men than women. Less likely to get a complaint filed against you for abuse if it comes to violence."

Jesus, man… tsk! tsk!

Looking Glass
Looking Glass
7 years ago

I don't have anything against Ben. But I don't think he's doing a particularly good job of making his case in this case.

I say the more female leads we have in video games (and in all media to be honest) the better. End of story.


Last edited by Looking Glass on 11/10/2012 9:15:55 AM

Vivi_Gamer
Vivi_Gamer
7 years ago

I have no problem wit having a female as the lead character within a game. A like GTA however might cause some problems due to it's nature. I can imagine the representation of a GTA V would cause a feminist field day.

As I have said I am not opposed to it though, if it is done correctly. Unfortunately you never see a female lead within a video game which isn't over sexualised. Just look at Yuna's dreadful transition from FFX – FFX-2. I would have had no problem with playing as Yuna as the lead, but they changed her character to the point where I was just playing as a checklist of stereotypes. The new Tomb Raider seems to be eliminating old appeal of Lara for a more natural and visceral approach, it will be interesting to see where that goes.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

I thought Yuna was just as naive, she just let Rikku talk her into a pair of booty shorts.

shadowpal2
shadowpal2
7 years ago

I think I can kind of understand what Ben is trying to say being that…the kind of violence/action displayed in GTA is more of "insanity/psychotic" violence…rather than a fight for a struggle.

It just doesn't match women (this is a perspective thing…not necessarily mine)

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

It's no problem in Saint's Row, and that's way more nuts.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
7 years ago

I think a lot of people are missing my point, and I know why.

The ONLY reason one would want a woman in the main role of GTA is to simply prove that a woman can do anything a man can do. That's it. It wouldn't offer any new perspective whatsoever because as I said above, slime is slime and crime is crime. Having a woman perpetrate it wouldn't be any different than a man, which is what I THOUGHT the "tolerant" and "liberated" would understand.

We're talking about giving women the opportunity to make a splash in an industry that has objectified and sensationalized them. We all admit that, yes? Doing the exact opposite; i.e., just putting them into a quintessential male role, will do nothing to advance the part of females in interactive entertainment.

Now, I know everyone wants everyone to be the same. Men and women are no different. Yeah, well, you keep believing that. Personally, I wouldn't get offended if I was into gardening and someone was surprised that I liked doing that…because it's predominantly a female hobby. That isn't sexism. That's fact.

And it's also a fact that intellectual, forward-thinking women should NOT have any interest in simply adopting a generic, generally stupid role just to prove "equality," if that's what you want to call it. I said very clearly in the article that there are many ways to give a woman a fantastic role, and the ONLY reason people don't want that is because they want a woman in a traditionally male role to "prove a point."

Yes, I get it. It's boring. Could we please try to think for ourselves?


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 11/10/2012 12:22:12 PM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

That may be the only reason you see, but it's very rigid thinking on your part. This is this, that is that, there is no other opinion or viewpoint on the matter that matters or passes muster. I don't meant to be combative, I just fundamentally disagree with such a tunnel-vision assessment.

SmokeyPSD
SmokeyPSD
7 years ago

Feminism is not about being the same. It's about being treated equally, big difference. Your whole thought process behind this is flawed. There are examples of women in the mafia taking over operations. Due to the man being killed or going to jail and being more ruthless due to having no preconceived notions of worrying about about killing mothers or even babies as much as a man. This idea that a woman at the helm would be a softer touch, is just not true, played out in reality. GTA wants to dip it's toe in reality more and more. I say all the power to them. Show us the women too, as they are out there.

I think it should happen just so we shouldn't have to have articles like this anymore… Frankly…


Last edited by SmokeyPSD on 11/10/2012 3:27:06 PM

frostface
frostface
7 years ago

I'm going to agree with World on this one. Also not being combative, I just don't understand your logic and think you're way over analyzing it. But if you feel that strongly about it, then alrighty then! 🙂

Beamboom
Beamboom
7 years ago

"The ONLY reason one would want a woman in the main role of GTA is to simply prove that a woman can do anything a man can do."

Actually Ben, I don't think any of us think like that *at all*.

There might be plenty of reasons but few of them are related to equality, politics, morale, traditional gender roles or anything like that.
It might be purely for variation, curiosity as to how Rockstar would pen a story with a female main character, simply cause female protagonists are more SEXY, man there's plenty of reasons.

But all the reasons we want a woman in the main role of GTA boils down to one simple ting: We think it's more fun. Not more complicated than that.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/10/2012 3:57:49 PM

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
7 years ago

I get what you're trying to say, Ben, but it's not the only reason that we'd want to see a woman in the lead role of GTA. Sure, the lead would still have largely the same range of gameplay mechanics, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing in its own right. There are some films that have females as wild and violent; like She in Machete. It works. But even ignoring that, GTA is also a story driven game and that could work wonderfully in putting a different spin on the focus.

Just as an example, when coming to the end of Sleeping Dogs, I was actually really curious to discover how Jiang rose to her role in the Sun On Yee. It would have to be a more subversive story that of Big Smile Lee, or even Wei, and I feel that it would just be so different that it's worthwhile to have a developer try to tackle, so long as they make sure that it is different, rather than just putting long hair on Tommy Vercetti…

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
7 years ago

I'm sorry, but none of you are getting this. Nothing you're saying I disagree with, and I'm not sure why me saying women deserve BETTER roles than GTAV is somehow a cause for argument. But we're all at odds on this; for instance, World, I only see your viewpoint as the absolute worst kind of tunnel vision because I'm looking at this from a broader perspective. I'm not looking at this from a social standpoint while everyone else is…because it's all they're trained to do.

And I get that. But I'll just leave it be because nobody is really understanding the scope of what I'm saying.


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 11/10/2012 11:31:19 PM

jugheadjones
jugheadjones
7 years ago

I actually think a female lead would have a completely different perspective in a GTA storyline. A male lead can be disgusted to see the way that the criminal element treat women in society, but a female lead would have more of an emotional tie to this. She would feel like she was defending her gender and have more of a vendetta against the same criminals than her male counterpart for their mistreatment of women. I can see a completely different angle here. Might be interesting.

Beamboom
Beamboom
7 years ago

Lol – first you are giving us a speech about how the ONLY reason to include a female protagonist is to prove women can do what men can do, and then you are accusing US of only looking at this from a social standpoint "cause we're trained to".

Aaalrighty then. 😀


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/11/2012 4:47:20 AM

Bonampak
Bonampak
7 years ago

"I only see your viewpoint as the absolute worst kind of tunnel vision because I'm looking at this from a broader perspective. I'm not looking at this from a social standpoint while everyone else is…because it's all they're trained to do"

^^^^ Sorry Ben, but what you said there also applies to YOU. That particular type of narrow view has been handed down for centuries, decades and years. With little change.

Now, for some reason your feel very bothered & threatened with the very idea that women can be equal to men (even in a game like this one here – but women can be as ruthless. Read the papers/Watch the news). Anyway, such an insecurity is not new and so is the fact that it is based on fear. And that fear (like all of them) comes from ignorance.

In this case, you have a very outdated view on how females should be perceived or what their place should be. Fact is, they can do anything they want. And a lot of them do. History is full of examples.

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

I had a female character in Saints Row 2 and 3 just for the hell of it. It's genuinely funny to see a gorgeous woman in a summer dress laying waste to gangs. I guess Rockstar doesn't think people would take GTA seriously if one of their women like, say, the bartender from The Ballad was going around racking up body counts and getting into high-speed chases.


Last edited by n/a on 11/10/2012 1:21:09 PM

telly
telly
7 years ago

A female lead could be cool — provided it serves the story. Even though the GTA protagonists are basically blank canvas avatars for the player, I like how each of the characters you control have a little backstory. Wouldn't a woman with a serious criminal history be a pretty cool backstory? One of many possibilities, off the top of my head — an assassin for the Yakuza tries to make a clean break and heads off to Los Santos to start a new life. But the lure of easy money in the criminal world — especially when contrasted with the inglorious grind of a low-wage, low-skill job — is too great, and she jumps right back into her old habits. Her old bosses find out about her new Stateside criminal enterprise, and come to pay her a visit. Things escalate from there.

You get the idea! Lots of cool story-based missions could be had with a female lead. I'd be down.

frostface
frostface
7 years ago

I'd take one female character over three male ones any day. Not too sure having multiple main characters to play in GTAV is the right way to go. We'll see.

SmokeyPSD
SmokeyPSD
7 years ago

You know this reminds me of another article I read on the internet once that Nathan Drake should not be gay. It basically used Drake as an example that said game companies should never take a "risk" and have their main character as a homosexual in their games…. It was the most ridiculous and offensive thing I ever read.

This isn't like that at all but it's on that "slippery slope". Why would we want a female as a quintessential male part? Same vibe… Why should we be drawing lines through anything? If this really is all just to prove a point having homosexual characters and female characters that still get negative reactions out of people, then I'm bloody well good with that. In my view there is more to it though than just proving a point, like the 1st African American on Star Trek.

Society has changed and changing all the time, games need to change too.

Teddie9
Teddie9
7 years ago

I'm not extremely averse to the idea, but I understand where Ben is coming from, to make the transition meaningful they may need to alter some of the focus. I think they should try.

FxTales
FxTales
7 years ago

I was going to say if we can have female police officers then we can have female criminals. However I've just realised I haven't seen any female police officers in the GTA series. Hmm.


Last edited by FxTales on 11/11/2012 6:49:38 PM

zard
zard
7 years ago

Honestly, I have never been interested in GTA. For the very reason of, as a woman, why would I want to go around as a sleazy man doing sleazy business with other sleazy men and pick up prostitutes? This is exactly why I have never played GTA. If this new addition has a female lead, I may have to start. If I have the option to run around as a woman gunning down sleazy men, making a sleazy business of my own and still pick up sleazy chicks, HELL YES.

Ben Dutka, I don't want to tell you that you are being a little sexist by saying that men are the only ones you feel comfortable with doing violence. But. It is a sexist world we live in. I love violence just as much as the next person, but I only love it when I can relate. A man blowing things up is just not as exciting for me as a woman blowing things up. Because I am not a man. Maybe I am just crazy because I also think it is unacceptable for a woman to think she can hit a man and not expect him to hit back. But having a woman in a game like GTA would be a game changer for me.

Hell, if there were chicks in COD I would definatly give that a try too.