Dan Houser on the GTA V gender bias

Dan Houser on the GTA V gender bias
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

September 12th 2013 at 10:50AM

Three male leads are there to 'create nuanced stories' says Houser

Rockstar’s co-founder and vice president of creativity Dan Houser has explained the studio’s decision for having three male leads in the so-to-be-released Grand Theft Auto V.

In a interview with the Guardian, Houser said the lack of even a single female protagonist is down to the narrative and the individual stories of “masculinity” the studio wished to tell.

“Having three protagonists allows us to create nuanced stories, not a set of archetypes,” said Houser.

“Rather than seeming like you’ve got this super-criminal who can do everything effortlessly, they're all good and bad at different things. We liked the idea of a protagonist retiring with a family, and how awful that would be. We’ve never done anything like that and you don’t really see it in games – to feed into these concepts of parenting and pseudo-parenting.”

On the issue of why one of the protagonists wasn’t a woman, something that has yet to happen in the entire GTA series, Houser said: “The concept of being masculine was so key to this story.”

At a time when the representation of women in the games industry has been discussed more than ever before, its understandable why the omission of a female protagonist in a series that has become not just a huge event in gaming, but in popular culture worldwide, will leave some wanting answers.

Grand Theft Auto is not a series to shy away from controversy, and there’s been no shortage of scare stories or opinion pieces on about how women appear in the games and how the player can interact with them.

Given the series mature themes, it is likely if, or when, the developer approaches a female lead it will attract similarly heated response from the public at large.

GTA V arrives on PS3 and Xbox 360 worldwide on September 17th.