I reckon that there’s one thing that the GTA series is desperately missing, something that would add so much more depth and potential to the gameplay: a female protagonist.
There are a couple of reasons why I say this. Firstly, this game is pretty sexist. Throughout the game there were only really two female characters that had a decent role in the game: the two women available for heists, one introduced in the first playable heist, the second an almost easter egg who you find at the side of the road sometime who can also be part of your heist team. The rest that I encountered were all vacant side-story characters with no real personality or only there to potentially have sex with a character.
Two. Two! Out of all of the characters, I mean, really? It’s really disappointing. The game still works, but it just comes down to a massive battle of male egos, and as such entirely predictable. A woman involved would bring a different layer of complexity to the characters motives, which I would have liked to see.
Now, in the game there are a number of loading screens. A lot of these are of the playable protagonists, but there’s a few featuring a blonde woman (pictured above), and I think she would have made a perfect fourth character. She’s blonde and attractive and a very stereotypical-looking character, but I think if the creators had played it right, she could have been a fan favourite. Here’s my idea for what she could have been, and this would have completely won me over:
Her name is Belle. Belle, as in beauty, as in innocence, as in purity. But she is anything but pure. Hell, Belle isn’t even her real name, but you’d never know that. She’s worked her way up from the bottom, and there’s no stopping her now that she’s hit the big city. She’s a woman who knows what she wants, and has learnt exactly how to get it. Rules, schmules. She’ll run this town one day – or at least own it.
This is how I would have her introduced/weaved into the game:
Michael is working a mission, albeit a quiet one. There’s a chip at a corporation with a very important file, which is very dear to someone with enough power to turn Michael into their puppet. He works his way into the building where the chip is located, schmoozing his way through the party – noticing in particular one stunning blonde in a red dress – taking out a few guards once he begins to move through the more secure areas. After an arduous journey and nearly getting caught, he finally makes it to the safe to find it open and the chip gone.
A brief cut scene (Michael absent) shows the blonde leaving the house of the CEO of the corporation, strutting towards a black car that has obviously come to pick her up. She lowers her sunglasses, opens her clutch and pulls out a handkerchief, inside of which is the chip. She smirks, folds up the handkerchief, pushes her sunglasses up, and gets in the car.
Another mission a while later and Michael is once again sent to retrieve an item from inside a museum opening – a priceless piece of jewellery, a necklace, which is the showpiece of the exhibition. He gets to the opening and is waiting for further instructions when he sees the blonde again. He thinks about his marriage but then remembers the incident with Amanda and the tennis instructor and in an arrogant act of cockiness, decides he’s going to ‘have a go’ at flirting with her. They speak, she introduces herself as ‘Belle’, to which Michael makes a joke about being the ‘beast’, met by a groan. They keep talking and Michael accidentally mentions something only insiders know about the necklace. This arouses her curiosity, and she tries to get him to reveal more about the necklace, but he is contacted by his inside man and leaves her to continue his mission.
Michael is successful in getting the necklace, and is making his way out through the front of the museum – and sees Belle, who makes a beeline for him. She appears to be drunk, and suggests they leave together back to her place. Michael is initially hesitant, but thinks to himself that he can handle one intoxicated woman, especially as she begins to wobble on her stilettos, clinging to him for support. They make their way outside, and she pushes him up against a pillar and kisses him. They continue to kiss until he suggests they go somewhere ‘more private’. She agrees, but then curses and explains she must have left her bag inside. She winks and says she’ll be right back – but once she’s out of sight she drops the facade and is in fact not drunk. She wipes her mouth, lets out an audible ‘ugh’, and walks through a side door and out through the hedges, once again into a black car waiting for her.
Michael waits around for a while for her, and receives a call from his inside man. He tries to blow him off, saying he’ll deliver the necklace in the morning, that he has ‘other matters’ to attend to. He gets off the phone and stands idle for a minute, before a sudden wave of paranoia hits and he checks his inner hidden pocket for the necklace, but of course, it’s gone.
Once again, further in the game Michael has to retrieve an item, and a ‘no blondes this time, Michael’ joke is made. He is just about to enter the room where the item is being held, when he hears Belle’s voice – she’s in trouble. She got caught trying to steal what Michael is there for, and she’s handcuffed with her hands behind her back, on her knees in front of two bodyguards and begging for her life. One of the guards strokes the side of his gun across her cheek and makes a derogatory comment on what he should do with her, when a bullet bursts through the middle of his chest, thanks to Michael. He quickly deals with the second guard, and pulls Belle up. She thanks him and tries to seduce him again, but he searches her, gets what he was there for, and leaves her there in handcuffs, warning her that more guards would be on their way.
From this point she becomes the playable character, and the first mission is to escape the building whilst in handcuffs. Once outside of the building, you make your way to the mysterious black car and head back to her safe house, a mansion in Vinewood. From here in the game her missions progress as usual, but all with added story lines on who she is and where she came from, which is revealed is out past where Trevor lives – and Trevor recognises her as a former ‘working girl’ up in the countryside (from one of his magazines or posters or something). Michael also gets Lester to find out more about how she got so rich in the city, and they eventually learn to work together, as she acts as a source of information for future heists, albeit with a big cut for her each time.
Who knows, maybe there will be a female character in the next GTA. I can only hope that’s the case, I mean there has been a fair bit of criticism on how women are portrayed in this game. …Time will tell!