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How GTA 5's Michael Really Feels About GTA 6's Lucia

"Grand Theft Auto" is full of fascinating characters, from the aspiring criminals at the heart of each story to the weirdos and randoms who hang out on the outskirts of each game's open world. These characters are all brought to life by talented voice actors, many of whom hold the series near and dear to their hearts. One such actor is Ned Luke, who memorably protracted co-protagonist Michael De Santa in "Grand Theft Auto 5." As longtime fans are no doubt aware, Luke continues to champion the series on social media and his Twitch channel, often weighing in on the series' latest developments. In a recent interview, Ned Luke not only revealed how he feels about Lucia, the franchise's new female lead, but he also took some time to speak frankly about the trolls who have criticized the next installment for allegedly "going woke."

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Luke sat down with IGN's Akeem Lawanson as part of the outlet's ongoing "GTFM" series, which takes a deep dive into "Grand Theft Auto" news and rumors. The conversation quickly pivoted to the hype surrounding the first trailer for "Grand Theft Auto 6," at which point Ned Luke made it perfectly clear that he's here for Lucia in the next game. Lawanson remarked upon the impressive reveal of the series' newest protagonists, quipping to Luke that they could bump Michael down a few pegs in terms of popularity. Though Ned Luke brushed this off, he did note that he was also excited to see what Lucia has in store. "Lucia's hard, man. I loved her," Luke said. "In the trailer, she looked good."

Ned Luke on Lucia's power and 'woke' Rockstar

Ned Luke continued to explain why he was impressed by Lucia in the debut "GTA 6" trailer, explaining that she looks to have all of the qualities that gamers look for in a proper "Grand Theft Auto" protagonist. He noted that she is clearly the driving force in the robbery scene at the very end of the trailer, as she's the one who kicks the door open and draws her gun first. Jason is clearly following her lead in this job, which puts her in a position of power. "She looked like a badass [in the trailer]," Luke commented. While he doesn't seem to think Lucia is going to usurp the popularity of Michael, Trevor, and Franklin from "GTA 5" any time soon, Ned Luke is definitely impressed by what he's seen so far.

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Luke also made sure to weigh in on the criticisms that have sprung up surrounding "Grand Theft Auto 6" and its use of a female protagonist. Over the last couple of years, Rockstar has made a concerted effort to clean up the "GTA" series' act, including removing jokes aimed at marginalized communities and striving to include greater female representation in its games going forward. The series has seen a bit of backlash from some vocal parts of the gaming community, with some accusing Rockstar Games of virtue signaling with its newest project. Ned Luke's not going in for any of that, pointing to Rockstar's past (and its future potential) as proof. "You get a lot of these clowns out here going, 'Oh, Rockstar's going woke, Rockstar's going woke. You know, they're caving into the, you know, woke-ness of the world,'" Luke said, shrugging. "First of all, there's been other female protagonists in the past, you know, but obviously not in something as huge as this. 'GTA 6' is gonna be the biggest game ever."

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Ned Luke on GTA 5 vs. GTA 6

Ned Luke makes a solid point regarding the history of female protagonists. Beyond heavy hitters like Lara Croft from "Tomb Raider" and Samus Aran from "Metroid," the "Grand Theft Auto" series itself has also utilized female playable characters in previous entries. Granted, these were essentially just interchangeable avatars in the earliest entries of the franchise, so Lucia definitely represents something new for the series in terms of writing and characterization. This was another point that Ned Luke seemed to be very interested in: The actor predicts that "Grand Theft Auto 6" might be a lot darker and more serious than the entry he starred in.

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While Luke is clearly still unsure about the direction the game is taking as a whole, he still seemed comfortable with giving the new stars some advice: "Get ready ... I don't know if they really have any idea of what they're in for," Luke cautioned. He noted that the graphics of the new game have come so far that there's no way fans won't recognize these actors out in public, so the actors need to be prepared for that. 

Considering the fact that Ned Luke has been swatted multiple times while streaming "GTA" gameplay, it makes perfect sense that he'd want to gently prepare his successors in the "Grand Theft Auto" universe. Despite that — and despite the resentment some of his co-stars feel towards the series — it sounds like Ned Luke wouldn't change a single part of his career or his relationship with his fans. The nice ones, anyway.

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