Video game franchise Grand Theft Auto is set to have its first ever playable female protagonist when the next installment of the hugely popular series finally loads up on the consoles of eager fans.
GTA VI is also likely to temper the offensive humor which has been a staple of the action-adventure series as it dominated the charts over the previous two decades.
Details on the new entry – which follows the release of GTA V all the way back in 2013 – have been scarce since publisher Rockstar Games revealed in February that development was underway.
But new reports suggest significant steps towards a release are being made, with GTA VI to introduce a playable female protagonist for the first time.
She is Latina and inspired by bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde, Bloomberg reported, adding that developers will ease back significantly on the barbs against marginalized groups to be more inclusive.
The news prompted some, including GOP Congressional Candidate Lavern Spicer, to say the franchise was going “woke”.
GTA 6 is going to wake up. They’ll also go broke.
Another element fans have been sweating on is the location of the new game.
The franchise has offered various playgrounds in which to run riot, including cities inspired by Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and New York.
The developer is most likely set to return to the pristine beaches and pumping nightlife of Miami, last used in 2002 favorite Vice City.
And there’s exciting news for the longevity and playability of the new entry, with Rockstar also said to be planning to continuously update the game with new missions and cities.
Industry insiders expect the waiting game for fans will continue however, with no firm release date set and forecasts it could be at least two years away.
Grand Theft Auto traditionally offers gamers open worlds where they are largely left to their own devices – from stealing cars to sparking huge police operations and generally creating mayhem.
Previous iterations in the franchise have courted controversy. GTA V included a contentious torture mission, while there was anger over a hidden “hot coffee” mini-game in San Andreas which allowed its protagonist to have animated intercourse with his girlfriend.
GTA V is the second best selling video game of all time behind Minecraft.