Tomb Raider Writer Rhianna Pratchett On Why GTA 5 Made Her "Really Disappointed"
"I remember being really disappointed with GTA V that the three characters were all guys."
Veteran video game writer Rhianna Pratchett has shared her thoughts on where she would like to see games go in the future. The Mirror's Edge and Tomb Raider writer said, in particular, she'd like to see GTA-style mature-rated games featuring women in the lead roles.
"I am interested in what the developers that tend to do hypermasculine worlds would do with more female-lead stuff. I remember being really disappointed with GTA V that the three characters were all guys. I know that the Housers [Daniel and Sam Houser, co-founders of Rockstar Games and developers behind Grand Theft Auto] have talked about the GTA series as being an exploration of masculinity and I thought well, masculinity is not just the domain of men and femininity is not just the domain of women," Pratchett said.
"It felt like it would have been more interesting to me to see a woman operating in that kind of world because there were some great female characters in The Wire that kind of had to operate in a masculine criminal underworld," she added, calling out Netflix's Orange is the New Black as another example.
Pratchett said she hopes developers behind some of the "hypermasculine" franchises will turn their attention toward making games with women in the lead roles.
"I'd like those developers that excel at the hypermasculine stuff to take a stab at female-lead stories and look at the things that would come out of that, the textures and nuances and all sorts of interesting stuff that we haven't seen before because there hasn't been a lot of 18/M rated, first-person or third-person shooters with a female lead," she said. "I'd really like to see more female characters in that context."
Also in the interview, Pratchett spoke about how she is no fan of the term "strong female character," because it represents a double standard in her eyes.
"You don't call male characters strong, you can just call them interesting, or textured, or complicated, or temperamental, or stubborn," she said. "We don't call them strong because they're assumed to be strong. They don't always try to find it and take time to find the kind of nuance and texture and uniqueness of a female character's story."
The full interview is a fascinating and in-depth look into Pratchett's history in games and more. One of the other anecdotes she shared is that she was approached to work on a Fable game (she didn't say which one), but then was "ghosted" by the recruiter.
"Honestly, a Fable recruiter did hit me and my agent up about it at one point and then sort of ghosted us, which I was slightly disappointed about," she said.
One of Pratchett's latest games was Lost Words: Beyond the Page, a 2D adventure platforming game out now on console and PC.