Grand Theft Auto 6 will reportedly feature a female playable character in its campaign for the first time. Rockstar apparently plans to launch the game with a single city, but add more locations over time through updates.
As part of a report on Rockstar by Bloomberg, sources close to the studio discussed the new female character, who will be Latina. The character will reportedly be part of a pair of bank robbers in a story influenced by real-life criminals Bonnie & Clyde.
Female protagonists have previously only been available as custom characters in GTA Online, never in the game's single player campaigns. Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser (who has since left the company) previously indicated the company was thinking about a female lead as far back as 2013. [Update: The first Grand Theft Auto game featured female playable characters – this would mark the first in the 3D GTA series as we know it today]
The report also indicates that the launch version of GTA 6 will begin with fictionalized Miami and surrounding areas (presumably a return for Vice City), but will be updated with "new missions and cities on a regular basis". That launch version apparently already includes more interior locations than any GTA game previously.
Per the report, the game is codenamed Project Americas due to its original plan to include huge territories based on North and South America – a plan that was scrapped in part to reduce crunch for employees.
Sources say that developers on the game are sceptical about predictions for a launch between April 2023 and March 2024 due to multiple changes on the team and bottlenecks in production. Some developers are even said to have quit due to a lack of progress on the game recently. Developers on the team reportedly expect the game to be at least two years away, and say that no firm release date has been set internally.
However, much of the report focuses on progressive changes at Rockstar in recent years, including a more inclusive office culture, a focus on reducing crunch, a removal of abusive managers, conversion of contractors into full-time employees and a restructure to improve working conditions. Morale is said to be higher at the company as a result, and one source said Rockstar was “a boys’ club transformed into a real company.”
The report also points to a more progressive mindset at the company in narrative terms, too. Bloomberg says that a mode called Cops 'n' Crooks was shelved before release following the 2020 police killing of George Floyd, and has not been considered for release since. The company is also focusing on making fewer jokes in GTA that 'punch down' at marginalized groups.
After years of rumours, GTA 6 was finally confirmed this year, but more official news will apprently only be released when Rockstar is ready, not when its owner Take-Two requests it. Rockstar is said to have moved more developers onto GTA 6 recently having scrapped remasters of Red Dead Redemption and GTA 4.