My Conflicted Feelings on Twitch's Newest Trend: GTA V Roleplay

So, if you haven’t been paying attention, one of the biggest trends on Twitch right now is this NoPixel roleplaying server of GTA V.

I’ll quickly explain what this is:

GTA V’s PC version has a mod called FiveM that allows people to create and play in custom persistent servers. So, naturally, you see a lot of servers focused on Roleplaying, which I LOVE. This is the kind of stuff I wish GTA V vanilla was. Players can play Cops, EMS, criminals, regular workers, etc. You have people playing as Lawyers, defending people who have committed crimes to players who are playing judges…

One of the people I follow on NoPixel appealed to the court to have a Class-2 weapon reclassified as a Class-1 weapon. All actual players… YEAH, it gets THAT specific. There’s a player who plays as a thieving, murdering, violent Jesus Christ, who robs you as you’re saying a prayer. You have characters playing plain clothes officers going undercover to infiltrate the gangs of NoPixel. You have a streamer who is playing as a shitty middle aged Soundcloud rapper, and fans have taken his crappy raps he comes up with on the fly and created music for him. You have a gang of elderly rascals called ‘The Prune Gang’ constantly robbing banks. This stuff is INSANELY compelling to watch.

I don’t want to drop any names though because this group has a bunch of REALLY problematic issues.

For one thing, these people are all Twitch streamers, so while most of them have ‘rules’ for their chat that have things like, "No racism, harassment, homophobia,’ you see a lot of shitty stuff in the characters they play and how they respond to their chat.

There are players who play INCREDIBLY gross stereotypes of Asian and Latin American accents, as well as people who play some of the worst transphobic characters I have seen in Media in a looong time. You also just have shitty ableist slurs being thrown around by players out of character.

It’s really frustrating, because the potential of this stuff is soooo amazing, and even when you want to watch streamers you know are mostly safe to watch, they sometimes have to interact with these problematic characters because of the improv nature of the game they’re playing.

Is anyone else watching this? I’d love to hear what ya’ll’s thoughts are on this trend, and I’m curious if you can recommend some streamers who try hard to keep that toxicity out of their stream.

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Initially I thought it was fascinating that GTAO RP servers have been taking off as much as they have in the streaming world, in contrast to the lukewarm reception RDR2’s online component had.

It made me think about how cool it would have been if Rockstar had embraced that sort of roleplay structure instead of making it a giant glorified lobby for accessing various half-baked competitive multiplayer modes. I’d rather be virtually playing a mundane shopkeeper in a western setting than running around in circles getting in random cowboy deathmatches.

It’s disappointing then, that even with the practically unlimited toolset for self-expression in a roleplay setting, players and Twitch streamers end up choosing “boring bigoted caricature”. Never underestimate the potential for gamers to take something exciting and do the least imaginative thing with it.

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Yeah, I am genuinely curious if Rockstar is seeing this boom in Roleplay and is looking towards the future of GTA 6.

It seems like the trick is to allow players to play Cops, Criminals, Workers, EMS… Make it an ACTUAL MMO instead of just embracing the uninteresting chaos of regular GTA Online.

I’ve been watching some of these streams and it reminds me a lot of when VRChat was popping off. I find a lot to enjoy with people bouncing off each other in very silly ways. But, yeah, it’s just sullied with straight up racist garbage. When the terrible memes started getting traction in VRChat, I atleast saw some people seem uncomfortable with it. I’ve seen nothing but praise for awful accents and what not in the GTA stuff. I’m willing to bet if you brought it up in any stream you’d immediately get kicked into the stratosphere.

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I feel like the people who do the accents would be the, “How is that racist???” types, like the VR Chat morons are. Thankfully, it’s only a handful of avoidable people in the NoPixel stream that seem to be a part of that.

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