Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row are getting more inclusive – and some players don’t like it

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Day 69:22Should I Play It: New Saints Row Episode Disappoints Game of the Day 6 Columnist

The latest installment in the Saints Row video game series is out, the first in nine years. Our gaming columnist Jonathan Ore explains why he found its technology outdated and its storyline less compelling.

Gamers desperately need information on the newest Grand Theft Auto Game.

But when reports emerged that the next installment of the video game franchise – in which hardened criminals wreak havoc with car chases, shootouts and plenty of swearing – will feature a playable female character, a wave of negativity on social media and YouTube soon followed.

“Big feminists have gone too far now,” said one YouTuber.

“I can guarantee you that if it’s woke bullshit, there’s no way it’ll sell any better. GTA 5“, lamented another.

According to a report by Jason Schreier of Bloombergsequel to 2013 Auto grand theft 5 will feature a Latina woman as one of the main characters in the game. She will be one half of a pair of characters inspired by the real crime duo Bonnie and Clyde.

The report also states that development studio Rockstar Games is fine-tuning the humor of the upcoming game. GTA games have drawn criticism for jokes labeled as sexist, racist and transphobic. Rockstar has apparently pledged not to “hit” marginalized communities as much as in previous installments.

“People like me have been very excited [for the new release]… But unfortunately, as is the case in the gaming community, some people have been much more negative,” said Eleni Thomas, a writer for gaming and pop culture site Dexerto.

“There’s been a lot of sexism because of that – things like people posting, you know, ideas for potential first missions… for the female protagonist to do the dishes.”

The report on the next Grand Theft Autoas well as the backlash from some gamers and online commentators, is another example of the polarized discussion between fans eager for a new version of a long-running franchise and others resistant to more inclusive iterations of their favorite games. .

Women lead more often today

According to Schreier’s report, the new game is at least two years away from release. Rockstar and its publishing company, Take Two Interactive, previously confirmed that the new game is in the works, but did not release any further details.

The Bloomberg story cited more than 20 unnamed current and former Rockstar employees; the notoriously shy media company had no official comment.

Day 69:58Grand Theft Auto 6 and the first female protagonist shake things up

For the first time ever, the Grand Theft Auto series will have a fully voiced female protagonist. This is exciting news for some, but a vocal contingent of fans have expressed that they have no interest in playing as a woman. These answers lead gaming journalist Eleni Thomas to wonder if Rockstar will support their female protagonist or accept pressure from these fans.

The report notes a possibly significant change, Thomas said, given that the series hasn’t had a playable female character since at least before 2001. Auto grand theft 3.

Since then, game series with female and non-white protagonists have grown in popularity, such as The last of us and Horizon.

But as important as these games are, arguably none of them has the cultural cachet of Grand Theft Autoa series that has made billions of dollars since its debut in 1997. Even now, GTA 5which was launched nearly 10 years ago, is still in the monthly bestseller charts.

Billboards for Grand Theft Auto 5 are seen in a Los Angeles hotel in September 2013. The series has a cultural cachet unmatched by most video games. (Nick Ut/Associated Press)

Grand Theft Auto is an older franchise and I think in some ways…it kind of represents what the culture of gaming was,” Thomas said. “It was, at that time, more male-oriented, more dominated by men. .. the industry, the community and the gamers themselves.”

Saints Row stumbles

This week again, another series of games tried to refresh, with mixed results.

Saints Row is the fifth in a series that debuted in 2006 as a competitor to the GTA Games. Critics originally called it a GTA “clone”, given its similar mission structure and tone. Later sequels differentiated themselves with a greater emphasis on slapstick comedy and sci-fi twists.

Early trailers revealed the new installment – the first in nine years – would be a rocky reboot, breaking from previous numbered sequels.

Computer generated illustration of four people standing side by side in front of a graffiti covered brick wall.  All seem to be between 20 and 30 years old.  From left to right: an Asian man with short black hair, jeans and no shirt;  a black woman with a purple shirt, purple sports coat and black jeans;  a black man with an elaborate dress shirt, jacket and bow tie;  a Latina with long black hair, big glasses, a t-shirt and sweatpants.
Promotional artwork for Saints Row 2022. The reboot of the long-running GTA-like games features a new cast, leaving the old team of fan favorites behind. (Deep Silver Will)

Gone are the cool guys and hot girls from previous games wielding a giant purple sex toy like a baseball bat. They’ve been replaced by a quartet of millennial rascals who spend their free time playing board games and singing karaoke.

The new cast is distinctly non-white, and players can customize the appearance and voice of the Boss, which they control throughout the game, including options for male, female, and gender-neutral characteristics (as well as members prosthetics).

As the Grand Theft Auto reports, some fans didn’t take the changes well. Critical reviews also didn’t show much love for the game. Saints Row currently holds an average of 63-69% on the review aggregation site Metacritic.

“Characters aren’t…in the list of the top 10 reasons why the Saints Row restarting doesn’t work for me,” said Jordan Middler, who called the game “a painfully generic malaise of the open worldin his review for Video Games Chronicle.

“Useless Culture War”

Middler worries, however, that the talk surrounding the game’s new cast will stifle discussion of its real weaknesses.

“When games are revealed these days, a certain small segment of the public feels any type of change that could be seen as ammunition in this ongoing and unnecessary culture war, which the game could somehow another “wake up” or something like that,” he said.

Computer generated image from a video game.  In the foreground, a man with a giant cartoon head with slicked back hair and sunglasses is holding a rocket launcher.  A black man with a white suit and a machine gun stands behind him.
A promotional screenshot for Saints Row 4, which released in 2013. The series ramped up its slapstick humor and offbeat storylines before the 2022 reboot set a slightly more grounded tone. (Deep Silver Will)

News taken on Saints Row, Grand Theft Auto and other games are simply a reflection of the fact that the people making them are aware of certain cultural shifts, says Merritt K., editor of gaming site Fanbyte.

“Conversations and discussions around, you know, social dynamics, race, sexuality, gender – all of that has changed … a lot in mainstream spaces over the last decade,” he said. she stated. “These conversations have become much more common.”

In a columnMerritt wrote that the fervor of the debate before Saints RowThe launch of was divided into two camps: people who hoped the game would fail and those who argued that its financial success would mean a victory for progressive politics and representation.

“People sometimes look at video games like Saints Row and think, oh, this is a barometer for the culture war, and does my side win or does the other side win,” Merritt said. Day 6.

“Video games, obviously, like any medium, can tell important stories and can make people feel seen and can facilitate human connection. But, you know, buying a game isn’t fighting in a culture war, and is not necessarily a political law.”

Ultimately, the negative critical response to Saints Line may impose a greater burden on the next Grand Theft Auto game to knock it out of the park.

“I think that’s the most important thing Rockstar needs to do…just make sure that [the new heroine] isn’t just a one-dimensional character,” Thomas said.

“Prove the naysayers wrong by creating a character that even hesitant people end up falling in love with. I think that’s the best way to respond.”

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