Or “Let me play as a girl, dammit!”
First things first. Watch this video.
After watching this video, I had an epiphany. See, I had been following the early rumors for GTA5 and I had really bought in to the “GTA5 will have a female protagonist” rumor. I mean I really bought into it. In fact, I’m 70% more likely to be interested in picking up your game if you offer me something other than the default white dude protagonist. It’s also the main reason I picked up Shantae, for example (really guys go back that game I’ll be crushed if it doesn’t get funded), but I digress. Back to the point, I came to the realization today that I had lost all* interest in playing GTA5 when they announced that the main three protagonists are all male. And before you write the comment about GTA Online and the fact that you can make girls in that, stop. I’ll address that a bit later on. In response to the comment I made saying as much, Disqus user TheAngriestCarp (welcome to TakuChat, enjoy your stay) wanted to know why it was that I mentally checked out of GTA5 when I found out about having no playable female MC. I don’t know if you noticed, but Disqus has been like, major busted today and it totes ate my well thought out response. So here’s an article instead. This one’s for you, buddy**!
*hyperbole is one of my main forms of communication, sorry, not sorry.
**and anyone one else who wants to read it. I’m not going to stop you; I’m a blogger not a cop.
One of the main reasons I play video games is to have unique experiences. It’s the reason Suda51 games appeal to me. It’s also the reason I don’t play The Sims. And contrary to my user icon, I’m in fact not a cute little pink-haired Chinese girl or female at all. When I have the chance to play as a female in a game, I always take it. Sometimes the game will adapt to your choice (Fire Emblem: Awakening / Mass Effect). Sometimes it won’t really change anything (Saints Row 4). But like I say, I’m not a girl and the experience of being one even digitally appeals to me. Furthermore I’ll cop to being enough of a hipster that I’ll want to have a different experience than the default. And before you ask, my Persona 4 play through was hilarious.
More Interesting Story!
Let me preempt one complaint right here: I’m certain that GTA5’s story will be amazing. I’m certain that GTA5’s story will be amazing. I’m certain that GTA5’s story will be amazing. I’m certain that GTA5’s story will be amazing. I’m certain that GTA5’s story will be amazing.
That being said, I’m also certain that GTA5’s story won’t stray too far from that of previous GTA’s. Start at the bottom, make an empire, betrayal, etc., etc. Of course there’s the potential to change things up but I doubt they’ll change things up too much. That also being said, how unique of a take would it be to have a female in the role. I mean, think of the typical BS that a woman has to deal with on the regular: unwanted propositions, assumed inferiority, the more overt sexual harassment, etc., etc. Imagine if they threaded that into the narrative. Honestly, why the hell hasn’t Rockstar written a female protagonist yet?
Less Dudebro Douchebaggery!
Speaking of harassment (NSFW)… I think we can all agree that playing games on Xbox Live is an uncomfortable pit of racism and sexism. If you disagree, go back, click that link and read until you do.
Now that we all agree that XBL is an awful place, let’s all also agree that GTA5 is gonna to be the biggest monetary event of the year, bar none. This game will 100% set a sales record and make more money than anything else, movies included. You can take that to the bank***. Everyone is going to buy GTA5. I’m not even interested and I’m buying GTA5. One last guarantee: GTA5 will at minimum last at least 65 hours. Now even taking into account the fact that most gamers don’t finish their games (150+ backlog here!) we’re looking at a least a 30 hour investment here. Now let just imagine that with their admittedly fantastic storytelling, Rockstar makes gamers empathize with this female protagonist and her struggles. Now it’s a bit of a stretch, but not one entirely without precedent. Did you know that CEO’s with daughters both pay and treat women better? Friends, I’m basically suggesting a gamer version of Stockholm Syndrome. They fall in love with a girl on screen and maybe, just maybe they’ll be less horribad to the ones behind the screen.
***though I don’t know why you would. They’d just look at you funny. Also, banks are awful too but that’s a different article entirely.
More Female Led Games!
Let’s face it. As Tony Hawk, GTA3, Call of Duty 4, Guitar Hero, Final Fantasy VII and countless others have shown, the industry is mostly full of sheep. After the breakthrough and unprecedented success of GTA3, the easiest way to get a game approved in a pitch meeting was “It’s Grand Theft Auto but…” I mean, it even has its own Wikipedia page. Now we already agreed that GTA5 would be a massive financial success, so I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret: most publishers and even some devs don’t actually get why it is that certain games are successful. When they see Call of Duty tearing up the charts they think “Must be the gritty action shooting” and we get Metal of Honor and Spec Ops and a million other shooters. When they saw Final Fantasy VII become a huge success, suddenly there were a plethora of spiky-haired heroes wielding improbable weapons. So what do you think would happen if a GTA with a female protagonist was the biggest success of the year? Like I said, most publishers don’t get why certain games are successful. On the plus, I know that there are devs that have been wanting to tell stories about female protagonists. If GTA5 starred a female, then not only would those devs have a much easier time getting greenlit, the gamers themselves might have less resistance to playing as a girl.
Finally about GTA Online. Is it cool that you can play as a girl? Yes. Does it matter that you can play as a girl? Yes. Does being able to play as a girl change anything? Nope. Any MMOG (and let’s not mince words, GTAO is basically a heavily instanced MMOG) worth its salt will allow gender choices. It’s not so much a step forward as the avoidance of a step back. Plus, unless I missed something, the online part doesn’t really have much to do with the narrative so there’s that. In any case, those are my reasons that I lost my excitement for GTA5 when they announced three male protagonists. I so look forward to your comments.