Earlier this year Rockstar Games re-released Grand Theft Auto V for next-gen consoles, which is pretty impressive for a game first released in 2013 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
As we’re sure readers know, GTA has often been known to court with controversy down the years.
But now it looks as though Rockstar Games is looking to update the game and remove some potentially harmful stereotypes that no longer seem appropriate in 2022.
More specifically, players have noticed that March’s re-release on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S has removed several pieces of transphobic content.
First up, Twitter user kirstycloud – who is heavily involved in running the GTAForums – noticed that the new-gen versions of GTA 5 had disabled certain features within story mode.
This included the ‘drag queens’ who spawn outside the Cockatoos nightclub.
Kirstycloud did point out that these NPC’s still exist in the games Director Mode. However, dialogue options have been turned off which would previously allow characters to question NPCs over their use of hormones.
Reddit user jayprospero also noted that an in-game arcade prop had been changed completely.
The Captain Spacetoy figurine (seen in the image below) previously stated it came with “interchangeable genitalia”, but now it appears to have been edited out of the game entirely.
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It’s possible that the changes have been made in response to an open letter from OutMakingGames, who are a UK-based community of LGBTQ+ games industry professionals.
Back in September OutMakingGames made a plea for Rockstar to reconsider how it portrays trans characters in GTA 5, following an insightful op-ed by Carolyn Petit in Kotaku.
“Unlike for other random NPCs in GTAV, the game appears to purposefully play into extremely harmful stereotypes of trans and gender diverse people to encourage players to be repulsed by them and even to relish hurting and killing them.”
Rockstar has yet to comment on the changes, or if these changes will also make their way to older versions of the game, but regardless, it still feels like a step in the right direction.