In the beginning of the Grand Theft Auto series, players were given the option in Grand Theft Auto 1 to select one of eight different protagonists to play as in the game. Despite the varied selection of characters, they are no different in-game in terms of abilities, the only variance being the color of their clothes and skins. Each character has a default first name which the player may immediately use, but can be renamed according to your wish.
In addition to featuring characters of different appearances and backgrounds, the game is also notable for featuring both male and female protagonists to choose (the female protagonists aren't available in the PlayStation version of the game). The characters are illustrated in the same manner as other characters in the game, with a semi-realistic but somewhat stylized facial design.