Rockstar co-founder and vice president of creativity Dan Houser has briefly touched on the male-only character roster for Grand Theft Auto V.
As the first game in the series to feature more than one protagonist, some observers have bemoaned the decision not to use this flexibility to introduce a female lead to the game for the first time.
"The concept of being masculine was so key to this story," is the sole reason given for the decision by Houser in an interview with The Guardian.
"Having three protagonists allows us to create nuanced stories, not a set of archetypes. Rather than seeming like you've got this super-criminal who can do everything effortlessly, they're all good and bad at different things.
"We liked the idea of a protagonist retiring with a family, and how awful that would be. We've never done anything like that and you don't really see it in games – to feed into these concepts of parenting and pseudo-parenting."
Grand Theft Auto V is released worldwide on September 17th.