Update: Crystal Dynamics has responded to some of the concerns about the direction of Tomb Raider.
Ever since announcements of a new Tomb Raider game started to surface in 2010, diehard fans of the series have been anticipating a reboot of the franchise led by the strong, ass-kicking Lara Croft. “Forget everything you know about Tomb Raider, we are exploring things that have never been done before in this game,” said Darrell Gallagher, Head of Studio, Crystal Dynamics. There was a lot to wonder about the new Tomb Raider — given the success of Uncharted, a similarly styled but throughly modern action-adventure platformer, would the new iteration of Lara Croft’s adopt its gameplay and the badassery of lead character, Nathan Drake? However, after the official E3 preview trailer, it became quite clear that Lara Croft had been shifted from being a badass to being utterly victimized. “A big part of that journey is seeing some of the hits she’s taken along the way and why she had to get that inner strength and the inner core to become the woman that we all know. There is that sense of seeing it and being explicit about that. It’s part of the narrative,” Crystal Dynamics head Darrell Gallagher told to the Penny Arcade Report, suggesting that it is the violence and tragedy that Lara experiences, not her strength, that makes her admirable.
And so it wasn’t particularly surprising when, Ron Rosenberg, executive producer of Tomb Raider, has gone on record with Kotaku to state that players “will want to protect” Lara Croft as she is “turned into a cornered animal” in the face of extreme violence and the threat of rape. Gee, a woman protagonist facing sexualized violence, how original. Hit the jump for more from the article.
[Warning: the rest of this post will contain discussion of violence against women and rape].