GTA Online players do not have a voice in the game, which means the featured protagonist also lacks the ability to have a direct conversation with other characters for the duration of the game.
Players have mixed opinions about silent protagonists. Some people believe they add more immersion to the game, while some believe a silent protagonist feels 'spineless' when compared to passive characters who have a voice.
This article explains why, in the case of GTA Online, a silent protagonist works the best for the game.
3 Reasons why a silent protagonist works the best for GTA Online
#3 Sparks Creativity
A silent protagonist does not make the story feel 'stagnant' or 'mundane'. On the contrary, it plays a huge role in adding immersion and helps players identify better with the character.
A protagonist with a voice may work the best for character-driven games, where the plot of the story plays little role compared to the decisions of the protagonist. GTA Online, however, is predominantly a plot-driven, action-packed universe, where the decisions of the protagonist matter to some extent but do not affect the well-programmed missions featured in the game. For example, in the Diamond Casino Heist, there are many strategies players can choose from. The ultimate decision of the player may affect the amount of payout they manage to generate at the end of the mission, but it will not affect the plot of the Casino Heist drastically.
A silent protagonist in GTA Online forces the player to be creative and project their own personality onto the character, which helps them resonate with the character on a more personal level.
#2 Adds a sense of mystery:
Video games are not like fantasy books and Netflix shows. Books and television shows allow fans to be a part of an adventurous, life-altering journey, but they don't necessarily get a say on how the world will progress or how well the protagonists will do in a challenging situation.
In other words, when it comes to books and TV shows, the audience is a passive voice in the background, watching a mystery unfold, devouring the crackling plot-twists created by the authors.
But when it comes to video games like GTA Online, players are never in the background. They are an active part of the world. Their decisions matter. Instead of watching the protagonist wreak havoc or defeat a bunch of bad guys, players get to do all that and more, which is why a sense of mystery is so important. In a way, the silent protagonist featured in GTA Online is a vessel for the player to fill up with parts of their own personality.
#1 Could be devastating for characters who have existed for a long time
Giving a voice to a protagonist who has been featured as a silent character for so long would not only be upsetting for GTA Online players who have long since given this character a unique personality but also devastating for the game.
It would be impossible to give the protagonist a voice that every player can resonate with and Rockstar might end up disappointing more GTA Online fans than ever in the history of Grand Theft Auto.