The next installment of the “Grand Theft Auto” video-game series will have the series’ first ever female protagonist and aims to scale back its use of offensive humor — particularly jokes aimed at minority groups, according to a report.
The female, Latina protagonist of Grand Theft Auto VI will be part of a duo of main characters inspired by “Bonnie and Clyde,” Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
The game will take place in a fictionalized version of Miami and South Florida, according to the report. The last Grand Theft Auto game to take place in a fictionalized Miami was 2002’s “Vice City.”
Grand Theft Auto VI’s developers, Rockstar Games, are also reportedly abandoning the series’ record of making crude, potentially offensive jokes about minority groups. The developers are being “cautious” to not “punch down” at the expense of such groups, according to the report.
Previous Grand Theft Auto games stoked controversy both for their violent and explicit content — including letting players set murder police officers, commit mass shootings and have sex with prostitutes — as well as their use of humor that critics said was racist, sexist and homophobic.
Gamers pilloried the reported changes on Twitter Wednesday, pointing out that politically correct dialogue would contrast awkwardly with Grand Theft Auto’s violent gameplay.
“You will treat women and people of color with respect… while running them over with a tank,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another said: “Relieved to see that the character I will use to shoot an innocent person in the face and steal their car will at least care about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion standards.”
Grand Theft Auto VI’s release is at least two years away — and two Rockstar Games employees quit the company’s Edinburgh office due to frustrations about the game’s slow development, according to Bloomberg.
The game’s slow progress is partially due to changes that Rockstar Games implemented to improve employees’ working conditions after reports emerged of excessively long working hours and a “frat boy” culture, according to Bloomberg.
Rockstar Games, which is owned by Take-Two Interactive, did not respond to a request for comment.
Grand Theft Auto V, which was released in 2013, is the second-best selling video game of all time after Minecraft.