My sister is just as passionate about playing games as I am. So when she wrote this post on her blog about one of her favourite game series, Grand Theft Auto, arguing whether one of the main protagonists should be female I had to read it. I wasn’t pleased to learn that she agreed that not one of the lead characters should be female and that if anything the female lead would better suit DLC rather than be part of the main game. As I’ve noticed in the comments of this article on her blog I am not the only one who feels this way. So I decided to voice my own opinions on this subject with an article instead of just commenting on her site.I have never played a Grand Theft Auto (GTA) game before so you will probably dismiss my opinion on this matter but I do know the premise and have watched a lot of friends and family enjoy the series so I couldn’t disagree more with this opinion. I think a female protagonist in the main game of GTA is well overdue.
As my sister correctly put it, women in these games have been shown in a negative light from the early to the most recent installments of the series. Where are the positive and strong take-no-prisoners women? Surely it’s only right to portray both sides?
The reason being used that a woman protagonist wouldn’t fit with the world or setting is no excuse. As Eowyn from Lord of the Rings said “the women of this country learned long ago that those without a sword can still die upon them.” A movie reference yes, and no not a character based on a real person or place but I think it’s a valid point. I’m sure after years of living in a gangster-run, crime-filled city, to protect themselves at least one woman would pick up a gun and retaliate. They may do it for power, greed, lust or even love but at least one would pick up a gun.
The other comment that was made by my sister was that many fans wanted a strong female protagonist and that wouldn’t fit the normal story flow as the male lead usually starts off weak then grows as you progress through the gameplay. I can see how this may upset the usual storyflow but if the writers are looking for weak female characters, I may be mistaken but you have a number of females already weakened by their former lives that are just begging to be developed like the girlfriends, hookers, siblings etc mentioned by my sister. One of these can simply be chosen or a new character invented. Give them a great story (as Rockstar is capable of delivering) and a gun and make them grow. I’d imagine the female protagonist of this game to be very much like the Old Town girls in Sin City who end up running a part of the city. Strong clever and trigger happy.
Another point made was that if there were a female lead that they would kill with techniques like poisons. I would not expect the female character to use killing techniques as weak as poison. This is GTA! The meer fact that a woman would have to use poison to kill someone in this type is game would be insulting as this immediately suggests to me that this character is weaker or not as physically capable as the previous protagonists and it would also be very out of character for the environment. Doing this, in my mind, would further draw attention to the fact that the character is female and not male like the rest.
Some people have commented on the article saying that these games are mainly developed by males for males so to ensure high or good sales figures the main character would have to be male in order to sell more copies. It’s all about business and not trying to offend those small amount of women who have to endure paying £50 for a game where all the women are shown negatively. Well I am a bit offended.
Gamers like to get more variety in the games they play nowadays and making the main character female will add that bit more variety to the gameplay and give a fresh experience to the player. A number of male players would (and do) actually chose to play as a female given the option in a game with a customisable protagonist. Again, it gives the player a new perspective and especially in this type of game where the franchise has been running for years, player’s may welcome a fresh perspective.
And as there are so little games with strong female protagonists I would go out of my way to buy the game if there was a female lead.
So why not live dangerously Rockstar and give a female the spotlight?