Tomb Raider Screens Locked In A Cupboard

By John Walker on January 5th, 2011 at 11:42 am.

I wonder what Tomb Raider looks like.

Update: The cropped Tomb Raider images illustrating this article – which was essentially a long-winded link to Game Informer’s site – have been removed. This is because Game Informer – after threatening our readers on Twitter – sent us a legal threat of our very own. A slightly ironic reaction bearing in mind the content of the original post, which is below.

Original post:

Here’s what would be a good idea. If information about games was made widely available so we could know about games. Games aren’t a special secret, they’re a commercial product, and all the tedious drip-drip-drip of information, trailers, screenshots, artwork, icons, box art, instruction manual pages, RAM specs, photos of the sound designer’s bottom, competitions to win the tears of the lead developer after a meeting with the marketing manager, is all advertising. Free advertising, frantically posted by sites as stupid as us, desperately scrabbling to grab these morsels of information thrown to us peasants from over the castle walls. That’s the system, that’s how we all survive. So why on Earth would you then attempt to inhibit that information by distributing it through one (albeit splendid) source, who can watermark everything and then justifiably get narked off when other sites/mags nick all their information uncredited.

So, Tomb Raider – there’s some new screenshots, but only Game Informer has them. I’ve chopped off the logos from four of them and made them RPS size because THAT WILL SHOW THEM. (Edit: Well, I guess I showed them then.)

It’s a bit like Nike announcing a new trainer, but insisting only one man is allowed to know what they look like, but he can tell his friends, so long as they promise not to take any photos. IT’S STUPID. STOP IT.

Anyway, there’s fourteen megatons of information about the game over on the Game Informer site, along with what may well be screenshots but could be art I mean I don’t know I can’t be bothered really if they don’t make them widely available.

And they look rather good.

And their site says we should check back today to find out more. (Well, actually, it says the first of April, but then America doesn’t know what order time goes in.) WHAT MORE? It’s been today for ages! It’s almost tomorrow! Hurry up America, you slow-coaches.

Edit: Looks like they missed that deadline then.

The images on this story now come from the excellent Wikimedia Commons, where artwork and photography is freely shared. The first photograph was taken by MarcoCrupi. The second is a public domain painting by Dutch artist, Aert van der Neer. The third is a photograph by the excellent John “noodlesnacks” Harrison, and you can buy his prints here. The fourth is Portrait of Two Children by George Henry Harlow, and is in the public domain.

Meanwhile, if you want to see the screenshots, they’ve been reposted without politely cropping them down so they’re inferior and suggesting the original site is a better place to see them, all over the place.

Games Radar
Softpedia
CVG
Gamernode
NOW Gamer
TheSixthAxis
Gaming Evolution

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171 Comments »

  1. Jim Rossignol says:

    THAT WILL SHOW THEM.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      My guess: You need to give the game a 90+ rating to get any content at all, and for every additional percent point, you get another picture. Isn’t that “industry standard” by now?

    • Rich says:

      That showed us.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      It really only showed us something about their character.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Oh please, threatening legal action over twitter – it’s like getting a parking ticket through a facebook status update

    • Radiant says:

      @HexagonalBolts DON’T GIVE ‘EM ANY IDEAS!

  2. Hunam says:

    But John, it is tomorrow!

  3. Premium User Badge Lambchops says:

    April fool!

    Oh wait, American date format you say?

  4. Jimbo says:

    Did she just slip on a bunch of banana skins in the second image?

    • DrazharLn says:

      Nope those are bones.

      I went back expecting a laugh but then I just saw a poor bloodstained (Maybe just muddy?) girl smashing her head on ancient bones.

      I am disgusted that you find humour in this.

      Furthermore I shall urge my MP to pass a special bill to ban you from the country. Good day to you!

  5. obvioustroll says:

    That was an enjoyable rant that made me smile on what has already been a crap day, and it’s only 33 minutes into it, I can almost forgive JW for that Force Commander review. And more recently finding out he didn’t like COMI. Almost.

    Thepics – Hardcore bone breaking action. If this was on Match of the Day, crisp promoting ex foot-to-baller Gary would not show it.

  6. Premium User Badge JohnArr says:

    HARD SURFACE

    I’m bringing it back.

  7. Xocrates says:

    It worries me a bit that they seem to be making the game bloodier and goorier, as it hints at them attempting a Darker and edgier approach which seldom works well.

    We’ll see. I find the amount of information still too lacking for me to make up my mind, but having enjoyed Crystal Dynamic’s works in the past, I’m cautiously optimistic.

    • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

      It does seem to follow the Dragon Age “COVER THEM IN GORE” school of character design.

    • Urthman says:

      I’m hoping for something as KEWL and HARDCORZ as Prince of Persia Warrior Within or maybe even Dante’s Inferno!

      Maybe she’ll even say some swears!

    • jeremypeel says:

      Are we seeing the same screenshots, Urthman?

      The bloodiness I interpret as a side effect of a shift towards less superheroic Lara Croft. That falling-on-bones-pain shot is pretty powerful, if my emotional calculator is working properly – it looks like a genuine ordeal, which, correct me if I’m wrong, is something the old Lara Croft never had.

      I guess the angle is real pain and suffering = real human connection, and I think it might be spot on. Lara Croft has, after all, been an unsympathetic arsehole for the majority of her career.

    • Urthman says:

      I’m also thinking of how one of the main talking points they’ve been going on about is how brutal and hardcorez her death scenes are going to be. “She’ll get stabbed in the eye!”

      Lara’s ragdoll-bouncing deaths in the past have always been more comical than tragic or gruesome.

      But more important than that is that it seems to be focusing on making the story seem “adult” (= cool to teenagers) instead of making the gameplay fresh and interesting. Who cares if Lara’s death scenes are gory or if her character skins has high-def bloody scratches if they haven’t found a way to make the combat any better or something fresh to do with her climbing and acrobatics?

  8. Matzerath says:

    So the reboot is that she’s now a buxom teenager? Certainly a bold move, and a hard sell to the gaming public.

    • Veret says:

      Have you seen what the adult Lara looks like? Either they make her a buxom teenager, or they resign themselves to making Tomb Raider: Quest for Silicone Valley at some future point.

      And since I’m commenting, let me join the chorus of people saying that this was a fun rant. Thank you, John Walker.

    • Nova says:

      She’s 21 in that reboot (afaik) so not much of a teenager.

  9. WJonathan says:

    WTF is that nastiness? Clive Barker’s Lara Croft? Please tell me their fresh new approach isn’t buckets of blood and a -harumph- “edgy”, “gritty”, “dark” new aesthetic. I played Angel of Darkness, and don’t want to again.

    • Basilicus says:

      I’ve never played a Tomb Raider game before, but I would pay so much to see Clive Barker’s Lara Croft. Mmm…Clive Barker’s Lara Croft. Oh, there’s gonna be dreams tonight!

    • Sky says:

      OH YEAH

  10. Radiant says:

    Blood n boobs.

    That’s mine that is I’m totally Langdell’ing that.

  11. Sigma Draconis says:

    As someone that’s never played a Tomb Raider (the series wasn’t ever on my radar in the past), I do like the visual direction this particular iteration is going in. Yeah, it’s rather grimy, but I actually like it for that.

  12. pupsikaso says:

    Blood, brown, grey.

  13. Premium User Badge TheTourist314 says:

    Boobs aren’t big enough.

  14. Premium User Badge AndrewC says:

    It’s an island, I’m sure there’ll be water around, and she can wash all the dirt off. I would like ‘washing Lara’ to be attached to an achievement please. Thank you.

  15. Stephen Roberts says:

    Anyone feel like writing up a chart of the Brownest games in the world? Just thinkin’ the Counterstrike clones and gears of war ones are so brown it’s basically illegal. Fallout 3 and New Vegas would come pretty high up in the Brown-meter. Brownian measure? I give up. But Wot I Thinks should at least quantify the brown quotient of any given game. And the Nerf gun thing.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Brown games are nothing new. Quake invented brown back in 1996.

    • Premium User Badge lurkalisk says:

      People complain about most colours in games. Brown, red, blue, orange, grey… Of all the things to be upset about, this is a bit juvenile. Besides, I’d hate to see a game that makes that only makes use of pink, yellow, green and purple.

  16. tomnullpointer says:

    The next generation of gfx cards only process grey/brown/rust. The other colours were found to be sub-optimal in gameplay. Processing will be spent on better physics for boobs,floaty cloaks and hair.

  17. Premium User Badge HermitUK says:

    It looks like the dog in picture the fourth is wearing a dress.

  18. airtekh says:

    I’VE SEEN THE PICTURES – THEY CAN’T BE UNSEEN!!!

    Nice work RPS.

  19. jeremypeel says:

    Boooo – poor show, Game Informer. Time to recognise the nature of information, the internet and how those things might actually be benefitting you.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Same goes for papers and magazines who like the idea of paywalling. Games journalism – like plenty of other journalisms – is situated within the culture it concerns. It isn’t academia. Games journalism on the internet is as much about fostering a community and being part of a wider cultural awareness as anything else. If you cut yourself off from that, not only will you lose current readers, but a whole budding generation brought up purely on online journalism won’t even know you exist.

    • Veret says:

      When this was first posted, I clicked through to GameInformer to see the rest of the gallery. But they apparently don’t want readers from RPS anymore, so I guess I won’t be going back. Good business sense just abounds today!

      So…basically what you just said, Jeremy, but less hypothetical.

  20. frags says:

    This is ridiculous. They don’t own the game or the IP. I doubt a games magazine could enforce ownership on a screenshot of a game. Heck I don’t consider all the screenshots i post on my blog as mine. This is bullshit.

    • John Walker says:

      Indeed – it seems extremely unlikely that GI has any ownership or legal right to make such demands, since the images belong to Square Enix. But this way seemed funnier to me.

    • Premium User Badge VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Game Informer is obviously not the proprietor of the copyright in the original screenshots. You might argue that they have a claim to partial ownership of the derivative works that are the screenshots with their logos watermarked on, but if they pressed that who knows whether it would turn out that they were licenced to create said derivative works? I doubt they are–I doubt they even have an exclusive licence to display the original screenshots, though that’s possible.

      Their threat probably has no legs, but they know it’s not important enough to RPS to spend money contesting it (or even to risk spending money by calling their bluff, if they’re bluffing). So they’re just bullying, basically.

    • jeremypeel says:

      So much American copyright dispute is based on speculation; most issues get sorted out of court as it’s usually far cheaper for the parties involved. Without clear precedents, GI are free to exploit the fear that the courts could be unusually harsh on perculiarities like this. They know that any sensible hypothetical lawyers RPS might hire would advise them not to challenge such bollocks.

    • Rich says:

      There’s a hole in my understanding: whose copyright law would this come under? RPS is based in the UK, while Game Informer is presumably in the USA.

    • John Walker says:

      I imagine it would depend in which country they chose to sue us. The UK would make more sense, since we have the more ridiculous laws, and they can obviously argue that the violation took place in the UK. But then, if US copyright laws were more draconian, they’d pick there, and again argue that we were technically published in the States. But then, they could sue us in Australia if they wanted to. It’s such a great system!

    • CMaster says:

      But presumably the images are copyrighted – no statement anywhere of them being otherwise. Hence, presumably Squenix could chase RPS over unauthorised use. It would be kinda counter-productive for them to do so, but they’d certainly have every legal right to, no? Agree that GI themselves probably can’t do anything about it however – unless Squenix handed over the copyright on the images.

    • Premium User Badge KindredPhantom says:

      If they sued you in Australia would it take place in Kangaroo Court?

    • Rich says:

      Ba-dum tish.

    • John Walker says:

      Indeed, Squenix could threaten us. They didn’t, incidentally. However, it would be an interesting case, since screenshots are released by publishers to advertise their games. The murky world of exclusives.

      KindredPhantom, you’re fired.

    • patricij says:

      It wouldn’t sound as good if they told you – get the screens down or we’ll tell Mommy Squenix, would it :))

  21. Griddle Octopus says:

    John – this is the best thing you’ve ever done. I am PROUD of you right now.

  22. el_Chi says:

    Game Informer are big sillies.

    (Please don’t sue me)

  23. mipearson says:

    I’d be much more interested in playing the Tomb Raider reboot it if looked like the images you posted, John.

  24. terry says:

    I am the owner of the internet and I am suing you all for big money!!

    • Rich says:

      If you’re the owner, I want a word with you. You haven’t cleaned out your tubes in ages, and they’re getting awfully clogged.

    • Fumarole says:

      These pipes are clean!

      And how.

  25. backcountry says:

    please stop writing in english or i WILL seek legal action. My great great great grandfather invented the language but it’s a secret. don’t tell anyone or the latin dudes will sue us.

  26. Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

    Also, I love how trailer sites precede trailers with adverts, which are also trailers. Presumably someone involved in the whole screwed-up process gets the irony of that. I *guess* at a pinch, the idea of adverts is that it forces you to watch a trailer you might not have watched by choice.

    • Rich says:

      If they get paid per viewing of the trailer that precedes the one you actually want to watch, but not the actual trailer itself, then fine. I can understand that they need revenue.
      If, however, they are paid for both, then they are greedy bastards and should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Urthman says:

      Do you really have any trouble understanding why a publisher would pay money to stick the trailer for their less-well-known game in front of a trailer for a more popular game that lots of people are watching?

      Because I could explain that to you if you’re having trouble figuring it out.

      But of course it’s annoying and I endorse using AdBlock to prevent it.

    • Premium User Badge Gap Gen says:

      Well, I cite examples of World of Warcraft adverts before random indie trailers. But yeah, like I said, one provides revenue to the trailer site and one does not, even if both are technically advertising.

  27. Premium User Badge Schaulustiger says:

    So, Lara is the little girl on the last photo? I knew it’d be a prequel, but I didn’t supect they’d take it *that* far back to Lara’s childhood. “Lara Croft and her Dog Guardian”? And who is her mysterious brother? Colour me interested.

  28. TomA says:

    Nice work, you handled the situation brilliantly, I’m much less mature and my reaction would have been to relate Mr. Reiner to some form of bells and ends.

  29. rei says:

    If you like this sort of thing, Game Informer also has the sole right to know about TES V: Skyrim; there’ll be a fourteen page exclusive in the next issue. I hope you have some more nostalgic artwork ready for when they make some of it available online!

    • TomA says:

      Quite upsetting really, I wasnt aware the game industry had turned into heat magazine.

    • Premium User Badge AndrewC says:

      The answer, quite obiously, is MS Paint recreations. Bethesda will LOVE that.

    • Premium User Badge JB says:

      @AndrewC – I heartily endorse this idea.

    • DiamondDog says:

      “MS Paint recreations”

      Oh yes, yes please.

    • WJonathan says:

      Well, that is what Bethesda used for the first Skyrim trailer, after all.

    • Nick says:

      I’m purely speculating, but I guess no one sucks dick like Gameinformer..

  30. rocketman71 says:

    Locked?

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/11/jan/tombpic1.jpg – 4.jpg

    If they’re locked you should delete them :P

    Yeah, exclusivities are stupid.

  31. Premium User Badge JohnArr says:

    I am making a t-shirt to celebrate this moment:

    http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/8108/jheguevara.jpg

    If John Walker objects to my unauthorised use of his appearance I shall threaten legal action.

    • Birky says:

      Quick, everyone – set up a server to host 4 .jpgs – It’ll be like wikileaks all over again.

      *gratuitous Rum doings cross reference* For john’s sake lets just hope cream tea eating isn’t an extraditable offence

    • John Walker says:

      I’m going to sue myself!

    • The Hammer says:

      I sometimes wonder if the RPS 5 get scared with the affection and effort that their readers spend on them.

    • Optimaximal says:

      John looks so cute as Che Guevara!

    • EthZee says:

      Man, I think I want one of those T-shirts.

      Also, I think that the kind people at Game Informer are in dire need of some cream teas. As soon as possible, frankly.

  32. Kadayi says:

    I’d of thought it’s a case that the imagery was given to Game Informer by the developers under strict licence, and it’s by the by that as a result of that they have to enforce their control regarding it. If the shoe was on the other foot it would be RPS threatening game informer Alternatively one could argue that if imagery is fair game, then the contents of entire interviews are also (in fact IIRC I do recall the hivemind getting rather upset some time ago with some site ‘borrowing; their RPS articles).

    Also I’m not sure whether exclusives are actually advertising in the strictest sense. Certainly they might enlighten us to the direction a new product is going, as well as the expected feature set, but are they actually persuading us to buy it? I’m not so convinced.

    • Auspex says:

      If you think RPS would agree to using screenshots that required them to harass other games websites then you’re barmier than a goat wearing a yak milk hat!

    • jeremypeel says:

      “Alternatively one could argue that if imagery is fair game, then the contents of entire interviews are also (in fact IIRC I do recall the hivemind getting rather upset some time ago with some site ‘borrowing; their RPS articles).”

      Really not the same deal. Borrowing a publisher-released promotional image is akin to borrowing a press statement, and definitely not anything like taking another site’s work.

    • rei says:

      in fact IIRC I do recall the hivemind getting rather upset some time ago with some site ‘borrowing; their RPS articles

      Piping all the content from a site to another URL and pretending that it’s the real site is a little bit different, and something that definitely justifies the creators of said content getting a bit upset.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      We might watermark some exclusive screenshots, but this *is* the internet. I am not going to send out emails worrying about this stuff getting circulated.

    • Kadayi says:

      Auspex

      Game Inforrmer is a full commercial product, where as RPS is a side venture. However if the obligation was there by the developer, they wouldn’t have a choice in the matter (legally speaking)

      Regardless though, this was at best a petulant goading post by John and demonstrates why he’s the Boris Johnson of RPS. Feel free to interpret that as you want.

    • Auspex says:

      Kad

      My point was that I believe RPS would never agree to posting screenshots under such draconian a requirement, thus no legal obligation.

      Also I’m not sure if RPS /is/ a “side venture” I may be wrong but I imagine the hive mind don’t consider it such.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      RPS is very much a commercial beast, as of last year.

    • Kadayi says:

      Jim

      It might make money for you, but it’s a side business vs your other activities no? Big Robot, Game Biz, Free lance reviewing, writing comics etc? Where as game informer is a full on commercial magazine & website.

      Auspex

      That they might not, but it doesn’t mean others aren’t bound by those conventions. Crying anarchy is all well and good, but surely it’s the height of fucktardery to use it against others who don’t aren’t at liberty to share your freedoms no?

    • Rich says:

      “fucktardery”
      Ooh that’s some Oscar Wilde shit right there.

      “one could argue that if imagery is fair game, then the contents of entire interviews are also (in fact IIRC I do recall the hivemind getting rather upset some time ago with some site ‘borrowing; their RPS articles).”
      RPS did the interview and transcribed it. Therefore they created it.
      The only person who created those screen shots is the developer.

    • Kadayi says:

      Rich

      You need to understand assignment & distribution rights.

    • Rich says:

      Oh I do take your point that they may be under a strict license, which would then mean they are protecting themselves rather than just throwing their weight around.

      I was taking exception to your assertion that grabbing pics that have not been created by, only licensed to, Game Informer was the same as a site taking large sections of an RPS article, written (created) by someone at RPS. The latter is definitely copyright infringement. The former likely isn’t. Certainly, if GI had actually taken the pictures themselves then it would be.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Kadayi: RPS pays better than industry freelance rates and basically provides a wage for the four primaries. Not a particularly great wage – which is why that everyone does other stuff* – but a wage that it’s possible to live off.

      KG

      *Plus, of course, that they want to do other stuff.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Rich

      The problem is if you don’t act on an issue, you open yourself up all sorts of legal problems in the event that you do need to fully pursue a matter further down the line. They aren’t being assholes they are merely doing what they have to do.

  33. Catastrophe says:

    I was going to take a screenshot of whats currently visible on GameInformers website stating I owned this screenshot of GameInformers website and that if anyone else uses that particular screenshot of GameInformers website I would threaten legal action against them as its my screenshot of GameInformers website.

    I then decided not to as that would be silly.

  34. Calabi says:

    This isnt just endemic to games, its becoming common with all forms of media. You cant see the politicians or celebritys unless you kowtow to their particular lines.

    Its just making all medias unreliable.

  35. jonfitt says:

    Isn’t Game Informer the rag produced by that obsolete game pawn shop?

    • The Hammer says:

      *checks Wikipedia*

      Oh, that’s interesting. I did not know that.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Their circulation is the most interesting aspect of Game Informer. 3,500,000 copies a month.

      For comparison, you should know that the best UK gaming magazines do about 40,000. If that.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      America’s much bigger.

    • Rich says:

      That’s more than Time Magazine.

    • Jimbo says:

      It’s also only about $1 an issue if you subscribe. Because it’s actually a (subsidised?) GameStop brochure.

  36. noproblem says:

    One positive thing to come out of this is at least other media organisations are taking RPS seriously? : )

  37. Premium User Badge Durkonkell says:

    Oh GOOD GRIEF, game informer (no capitalisation for you!), what absolute twaddle! RockPaperShotgun, (one of?) the biggest pc gaming blogs makes a news post saying “here’s some screenshots we found on game informer” and then provides links to game informer encouraging people to go there to view more. So people looking at this article will follow the links and look at your Internet-website, where they otherwise may not.

    Except they won’t do that now as you’ve made a frightful mess of the situation and proven yourself unworthy of the RPS community’s pageviews or advertising revenue GOODDAYSIR!

  38. Acosta says:

    Yes, that showed us how ridiculous that Andrew can be, good job. Going to check the scans of the magazine and read your stupid feature for free, sue me if you can. (yes, juvenile, I know, but whatever, it feels good, assdouchery is contagious.)

  39. Jimbo says:

    The incestuous GameInformer/GameStop/GameIndustry relationship is fucking filthy.

  40. Teddy Leach says:

    Wait, GameBlah doesn’t have the legal jurisdiction to do that. They own absolutely nothing pertaining to the IP, last time I checked. Who they hell do they think they are?

  41. noom says:

    What a cunt

    I mean shame…

    Or do I..?

  42. TV-PressPass says:

    Game Informer: Journalists or Lackey’s of the Industry?

    As if I needed another reason to avoid buying their magazine. Making legal threats via twitter is pretty low.

  43. stahlwerk says:

    On topic of the Tomb Raider reboot, these screenshots worry me. I had hoped they continued in the beat that they clearly had found in Underworld. Less fighting, more puzzle solving and exploration. It’s not like you can’t write a story that doesn’t consist of daddy/mommy issues as MacGuffins. It’s not like there can’t be more variation to the formula of settings than “Jungle temple” and “mysterious underwater temple”.
    And I don’t mean Japanese high-rises. Himalayan Monasteries, Sumerian catacombs, Celtic burial mounds, Carthago, Greece, medieval Spain. Civilization is 40.000 years old, and there are a gadjillion exciting stories buried in the ground. Maybe concentrate on one setting like in the Guardian of Light game instead of burning through locations like an ADD travel agent.
    What do we get? Solely from the screenshots, it could be argued that they aim for torture porn enthusiasts as their target audience. Lara appears injured, bloody, dirty, bound. I can see the reasoning of casting a fragile female character as a protagonist in a survival horror game, if only to enable the player to connect to the character in a caring way.
    But why does it need to be her? Lara Croft is a British aristocrat slash gymnastic wunderkind. She survived plane crashes, quips posh one-liners left and right and kills predators on a scale that makes the World Wildlife Fund weep bitter tears. To reinvent her as a more “dark, realistic, gritty” character is blatantly unnecessary.
    Can’t they come up with a new IP, a new face, a new NAME? This seems to be on a similar level with how Metroid Other M redeveloped Samus Aran as more fragile (read: angsty). And we know how well that ended for the franchise.

    • BooleanBob says:

      You’ve hit the scantily clad nail on the dishevelled and whimpering head. With a hammer wrapped in barbed wire.

  44. thesundaybest says:

    Here in Canada it is always yesterday.

  45. Sergey Galyonkin says:

    They have no right to send legal letters, BTW. I was an editor-in-chief of gaming magazine in a past and signed those “exclusive screenshots” documents. Original game publisher keeps all rights for those, so magazine (including a Game Informer here) merely uses them under permission.

    Nowhere in those documents was permission to sue other magazines or blogs. It is solely right of publisher, Square Enix in this case.

    • Kadayi says:

      They are well within rights to protect their exclusivity from a commercial perspective. Like RPS they probably generate additional income from page views. For the casual viewer seeing the screen shots alone on a 3rd party might be enough to sate their interest in the subject (without recourse to visit the originator). Effectively it’s piggybacking off another site.

    • Sergey Galyonkin says:

      Legally they are not. And if they check document, they’ve signed with Square Enix, they will find out, that they’ve just breached it. Under no circumstances Square Enix (or any game publisher for that matter) will give any legal rights to their IP to third party.

      So, legally they’re wrong. If they wanted to protect their “exclusivity”, so they could get more pageviews and links – they’re also wrong. RPG republished just three screenshots out of 14, clearly everybody interested in those would follow links to GameInformer website. And now they will not.

      Also, they happened to piss off several hundred gamers for no apparent reason – bad for karma :)

    • Chris D says:

      Here’s the the thing. Before Game Informer started throwing their weight around I might well have clicked the link and if I liked what I saw had a look at what else was there. That was how I found RPS, after all.

      Now I have no interest. They may be the most stunning screen shots of all time but I have no intention of encouraging this kind of behaviour. It’s as John says in the article. Advertising works best when it’s shared around, whether it’s for games or gaming sites.

  46. BooleanBob says:

    You know what those screen shots are? Completely fucking horrible. I dread to think how much genetic material has already been spunked over pictures of an overtly sexualised woman in obvious pain. Physical and emotional objectification: who’da thunk they taste better together!!

    And maybe that does expose some close-to-the-surface insecurities or prejudices of my own but I still feel it. Horrible.

    • Dominic White says:

      Every woman I’ve talked to about the new design seems to vastly prefer it over ‘classic’ shorts n’ leotard Lara. So yeah, this probably says way, way more about you than it does the character design/setting.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Oh man! You totally got me with that anecdotal evidence. If only there was some way that could be discarded out of hand…

    • Basilicus says:

      Huh, I viewed it as overtly sexualized woman bothers to do something not overtly sexual, i.e. interact with her environment in the destructive/self-destructive habits of a man.

      I, for one, support Clive Barker presents Hilary Swank as Lara Croft.

      Tomb Raider was originally sold as a female Indiana Jones, but was never realized as such. Sure, she raided tombs, as it were, but half of any Indiana Jones movie is watching him get pummeled and marvelling at how he bests his situation nonetheless. And I don’t see anyone saying that’s because we’re experiencing power fantasies about raping Harrison Ford, although I’m sure there’s a fanfic somewhere I’m ignoring. If anything, the physical trials Indiana Jones go through make the character even more powerful and admirable in our minds, and it’s that sense of consequence that the world of Tomb Raider sorely lacks.

      I’m tired of Western fiction saying that putting a woman through the same trials we’d put a man through is mysoginistic. It’s mysoginistic to change our narratives to the point that the trials within them are made easier for female characters. Put the women through what the men go through in our pulp adventures, see them go through the same story structures, and you’ll see worthwhile power figures start to appear. Lara Croft is not, as yet, a power figure – she’s an overtly sexualized action Barbie who’s neither overcome male-styled story obstacles like Indiana Jones nor sexualized the opposite sex like James Bond. As a game, she’s had some successes, but as a character, she’s a complete failure up to this point.

  47. Kadayi says:

    @Sergey Galyonkin

    They (game informer) have every right to protect their business interests (including the potential loss of site traffic). Data like that they use to help them secure coverage Vs other commercial sites. I doubt it’s particular to an agreement with Square Enix though I’m bemused by the notion that you (Ukrainian Journalist) personally saw the agreement between them, so can pass definite judgement on the matter.

    @Chris D

    If John had done the reasonable thing and perhaps posted one screen shot (with game informer watermark) and then linked to the rest of the article with a ‘more here from our friends at game informer…’ I doubt very much whether the game informer editor would of had an issue with it. However instead of being reasonable, John elected to go on some half baked schoolboy tirade against them and post up the lot. Hint: If you want AAA exclusives, perhaps skip the ‘Wot I thinks’ for metacritic measurable reviews, not that I necessarily would want you to go down that route, but still, if you want to be taken seriously by the big Publishers you need to step up to table and participate.

    I’m sure if I uploaded the entire print PDFs of the next 12 months worth of PcGamer UK prior to the magazines physical release on a blog (because after ‘all games coverage is just advertising..man’). I doubt whether the guys at Future publishing would be too chuffed about it either.

    • Sergey Galyonkin says:

      You might be talking about moral rights. I’m talking about legal rights here :)

      As to seeing agreement – I saw Square Enix standard agreement for exclusive screenshots back in a days. It clearly stated that all rights to all information (including screenshots, artwork, interviews, video – everything) was an intellectual property of Square Enix and under no circumstances we (magazine) could claim otherwise.

      So, if Square Enix lawyers didn’t change this line (which I doubt, as it would be quite stupid), Game Informer just breached that agreement by claiming that they somehow have rights to ensure no other sites can publish this content.

      Yes, I might try to understand why Game Informer could be angry here, but you can be angry about lot of things, that doesn’t give you right to send out Cease and Desist letters.

      On the other hand Square Enix can do this, but this kind of stuff is free advertisement for them, I doubt they will try to press charges against anyone.

      TLDR: Screenshots are intellectual property of Square Enix. Game Informer has rights to publish it, but has no rights to send out threats about those screenshots to other outlets, including RPS.

    • Kadayi says:

      Certainly the imagery belongs to Square, but the exclusivity to them (until Square elect to release them to other sites, which they haven’t yet, no doubt as part of the coverage agreement) is game informers. The fact that they as a magazine & website they have set aside their time & resources to give the game broad coverage, is clearly on the basis of that feature exclusivity generating magazine sales & web hits for them. What part of that don’t you quite understand exactly? Unless Square have given RPS permission to distribute the imagery (which doesn’t seem to be the case), game informer have every legal right to raise an issue.

    • Polysynchronicity says:

      Did you read anything that he wrote?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Kad: “I’m sure if I uploaded the entire print PDFs of the next 12 months worth of PcGamer UK prior to the magazines physical release on a blog (because after ‘all games coverage is just advertising..man’). I doubt whether the guys at Future publishing would be too chuffed about it either.”

      Are you genuinely forwarding this one? I’m disappointed in you.

      KG

    • gwathdring says:

      If you could sue simply on the grounds that your site lost site traffic to another website, you could be sued for having better advertising than another site. There has to be stronger legal grounds involving actual infringement of property rights. If a newspaper is given exclusive rights to a celebrity interview, they own the actual text of the interview, and the sound with a fair-use margin of error, but not the information contained within. The interviewed individual may in particular circumstances have a case against the organization not specifically permitted to publish the information, but not the newspaper given exclusive rights. The only thing they have legal rights to protect is their own intellectual property (such as PDF copies of their magazine …), including anything they are given partial ownership of by the company giving them the exclusive. I doubt, however, that a company would be silly enough to give GI partial ownership of their material. It is entirely possible GI has no legal grounds. Watermarks, furthermore, are usually used to designate ownership of the material … which GI probably doesn’t have. I could be wrong. I haven’t been to law school. But while copyright law in the US is extremely complicated (I’ve published some ditties and it is rather a mess), to my knowledge GI would have no grounds to sue.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Polysynchronicity

      Yes I did. He’s arguing about image ownership (which I’m not disputing), where as I’m discussing an exclusivity agreement (between square & Game Informer). Anything like that is done on the basis of an agreed time period (a month, a couple of weeks whatever). Where in the magazine/site covers the game & the publisher agrees (in principle), not to screw them over by releasing the same data to other magazines websites before the time period elapses. Square didn’t give the images to John, John republished them from the game informer site, therefore (again) they (game informer) have every right to raise an issue. The fact that the pictures were taken down, is testament to the fact that game informer had a valid legal claim. Sure it’s unlikely that push comes to shove they would undertake anything (losses are unprovable), but they are within their rights to bring it.

      @KG

      You have stop speaking cockney there.

    • Premium User Badge AndrewC says:

      Kadayi is funny.

    • Kadayi says:

      @AndrewC

      Kad also has a legal background, and good understanding of copyright.

    • Chris D says:

      Kadayi

      Really? You know watching a Law and Order boxed set doesn’t count right?

      Because the only way I could imagine to defend this comment:

      “The fact that the pictures were taken down, is testament to the fact that game informer had a valid legal claim. ”

      - is to assume you had absolutely no knowledge of the subject whatsoever.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “The fact that the pictures were taken down, is testament to the fact that game informer had a valid legal claim.”

      But it was John who took the pictures down, and John has no legal background. How would he know?

    • Sergey Galyonkin says:

      Unless Square have given RPS permission to distribute the imagery (which doesn’t seem to be the case), game informer have every legal right to raise an issue.

      Now that’s a great point. You’re half-right here.

      Yes, all screenshots are intellectual property of game publishers, including those you took yourself with FRAPS or any other program – those are considered to be derivative work.

      But there are also two different interesting points here.

      First is “fair use” concept, which permits citing. Yes, 3 of 14 screenshots might be too big for citation, but this is definetely not a full web-site copy, neither all 14 screenshots. And even if RPS copied all 14 of them, that doesn’t give GI rights to those screenshots – it is still an SE property.

      Magazine scan would be a GI property of course – but we’re not talking about these here, right?

      Second is: there are no precedents for magazines or blogs to be sued because of publishing screenshots. There were cases where publishers of hint books and guide were sued for this of course, but never ever anyone sued journalists for screenshots.

      So, while SE (not GI!) have all rights to sue RPS, they will have to prove this blog post caused any damage. Which is going to be quite hard :)

    • Sobric says:

      “Hint: If you want AAA exclusives, perhaps skip the ‘Wot I thinks’ for metacritic measurable reviews, not that I necessarily would want you to go down that route, but still, if you want to be taken seriously by the big Publishers you need to step up to table and participate. ”

      Are you fucking kidding me?

    • Sergey Galyonkin says:

      Kaday, if you have a legal background, you gotta know, that RPS had to comply with GI requirements under DMCA :) But that can’t stop RPS (after taking down potentially infringing information) from questioning GI rights to this information.

      I’m not suggesting lawsuit, I would just ask GI if they can prove they have right to send out this kind of takedown notices? Like a quote from their agreement with SE or something?

      Could make into interesting blog post, you know.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Sergey Galyonkin

      As I said, it’s not an issue of whether they will, it’s whether they have the right to (which they do). The other thing to consider is that (as I wrote in my earlier post to Rich), by not acting on a legitimate issue, you can potentially open yourself to problems down the road in the event that a substantial legal matter arises. Pursuing a case against one party, but not against others can raise all sorts of complications. When in doubt, pursue everything. Legally it’s your best course of action.

      Amazing what Law and order can teach you. ;)

    • gwathdring says:

      I am unaware of any copyright precedent in the united sates by which you can give someone the right to exclusively publish information without first disseminating ownership of the original material. That is the equivalent of having a book published by Random House without Random House having any rights whatsoever over the book. If SE has given game informer true, legally binding, exclusive rights to the material, then they would have to have sold temporary partial ownership of the intellectual material. On the one hand, it would be silly of SE to do such a thing, but on the other hand it is entirely possible that GI would want to secure such rights in return for extensive coverage in a widely viewed magazine. Is it worth it for SE? Doesn’t sound like it. Is it possible? Yes. If SE never gave specific partial OWNERSHIP of the images to GI, however, simply giving GI the right to post the images DOES NOT confer legal rights to pursue copyright infringement onto GI. There is no precedent for suing someone on the grounds of undermining their business model, thus GI can’t nail RPS without specific property violations. So maybe they do have a case, but not for the reasons Kad seemed to me to be implying.

    • Kadayi says:

      @gwathdring

      You have to consider these things from the perspective of a time period of exclusivity. To quote John earlier on: -

      ‘So, Tomb Raider – there’s some new screenshots, but only Game Informer has them.’

      Where as the more apt sentence would probably be

      ‘So, Tomb Raider – there’s some new screenshots, but only Game Informer has them for now.’

      Tomorrow SE might pass the same shots onto Gamespot, IGN or even RPS. But for now they’ve granted one site exclusive access to them (likely for an agreed period commensurable to the coverage), and that site is well within it’s rights to defend that exclusivity until such time as that happens.

      Sure as said before, the odds of legalities in unlikely when push comes to shove, but never the less from their perspective it’s sensible to issue takedown notices against sites posting them because if they don’t, then they could potentially undermine themselves in the event of needing to launch a full proper legal action against another site/magazine. ‘Why me and not them?’ not necessarily an insurmountable argument, but a tricky one given legalities are about principles of fair conduct, not the likelihood of a cash settlement.

    • Captain Kirk says:

      As long as RPS does not copy text (and for god’s sakes why would they given the quality of GI’s writing), and only reproduces screen grabs (which are SE’s intellectual property as discussed), GI has no legal recourse beyond issuing a faulty take down notice and they know it. In general you must respond to a take down notice by removing the “offending” information. You are allowed to challenge a take down notice only after you comply with it. The difference being that one is “willful” infringement and the other is not (making the penalties more severe).

      At least that is how it works in the US.

      The implicit arrangement with exclusives is that the intellectual property owner will protect their own via lawsuits if someone other than the company writing the exclusive produces those screen shots. In practice, no one actually pays the game publishers for their exclusives, and since all advertising that is free is good, they don’t give two shits about protecting their screen shots. Even timed exclusives are normally not legally binding for the people writing an exclusive. They are “embargoed”, but this means little practically speaking. There is almost no legal recourse if an embargo is broken – but you can expect that game publisher to never share anything exclusively with you again.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Captain Kirk

      Oh, it’s all about the niceties, but the point is GI aren’t being the dickish assholes some are saying in the thread, they are just engaging is legal standing operating procedure in a situation like this. A failure to protect their interests (no matter how trivial it may appear) is tantamount to a concession, which is something that can be used against you in a similar situation.

    • gwathdring says:

      Fair point; precedent is everything. But by the same standard, there isn’t any legal precedent for this specific case. Similarly, we don’t even know if they’re contract does transmit temporary ownership. And unless they said that they have such a temporary ownership in their threat, it would be perfectly reasonable for RPS to first challenge the claim, asking if they had such a legal document before complying. You can’t claim legal rights to control, not submit any proof, and then sue for non-compliance. You have to provide the evidence and should probably at least state that you are capable of doing so in the cease and desist, out of courtesy and for the sake of clarity. In this case, the official cease and desist order sounds like it was delivered via Twitter … whatever floats GI’s boat, I guess.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Captain Kirk

      Strange, my earlier response to you (prior to gwathdrings post got deleted somehow). Not to sure why, but still I’ll reiterate as best I can

      It’s all the niceties, but in a way they have to be followed. Otherwise you potentially leave yourself open to further abuses.

      @gwathdring

      I’m sure there’s plenty of precedents for takedown notices across the length and breadth of the internet, just people don’t bother making a song and dance about how ‘unfair’ they are, and generally just get on with complying with them, because generally it’s not worth contending them if there is a possibility of prosecution. Claiming that ‘it’s all advertising, so what’s the big deal’ is kind of reaching as a defence.

    • gwathdring says:

      I was unclear. I said nothing about a precedent for takedown notices themselves. I meant there is not significant body of precedent for legal action with regard to screen shots and promotional material for games and movies leaking beyond it’s intended exclusive premiere magazine or whatnot. I would not be surprised if there was in fact no precedent for that particular scenario. The song and dance as you call it is partially in good fun and at least a slight vector for discussing copy-right law , too, not just a fan rant against Game Informer and for RPS. The dismissal of the exclusivity, I’m sure, is not intended to be a legally water-tight defense, but an offhand comment alluding to the supposedly ridiculous nature of GI’s reaction. I for one don’t think ill of game informer for this incident or find it particularly remarkable: they were baited, of course they responded. But I do find the legal situation interesting, and suspect it is not as concisely in favor of GI as their threats imply.

    • Kadayi says:

      @gwathdring

      I guess you’ve missed all the legal wranglings by various magazines like Hello over the years over the use of what are considered by one party or the other exclusive images, and how the law tends to favour the plaintiff every time.

      Also, I’m not sure whether appealing to the gallery with a sob story about how GI are big meanies (whilst naturally, do no wrong John is a champion for truth & justice) really constitutes ‘discussion’ (generally the most I’ve witnessed so far is a lot of ‘you tell em john!!’, & ‘fuck those guys’) . The proposal that ‘everything is advertising’ therefore ‘all news is good news’. Doesn’t really hold water under scrutiny.

    • gwathdring says:

      Interesting. And they won more damages then the owner of the pictures who also sued. But again, we would have to see the contracts. My main contention is that the exclusivity agreement would need to impart temporary partial ownership for this to work out, which may well have been true in the Hello magazine case (or this bit with GI for that matter) and thus wouldn’t directly contradict my statements, though it would make them somewhat pointless. I maintain that without such a clause, such a case would not have legal grounds.

      I also forgot to mention that I’m from the US. That might be why I missed this. But it’s entirely likely I would have missed it anyway and that similar cases have occurred in the US without my notice. If the issue were filed in the UK, though, GI would have a strong case it seems. Thank you for the info.

  48. Soon says:

    I’d like a plugin that replaces all screenshots this way (with a toggle, I suppose).

  49. gwathdring says:

    On the matter of Lara’s new look … I am optimistic. For one thing, her proportions are way more reasonable than usual. Her breasts aren’t on a fetish scale, and she doesn’t look like jogging or tumbling would instantly result in a thrown back or fainting due to poor constitution and weight imbalances. She doesn’t look like a world-class athlete, either, but I don’t particularly care about perfect 1:1 balance between character visuals and character abilities. While I respect complaints about the palette, and second them, I like the idea of characters who get injured. One of my favorite parts of Arkham Asylum was the continuing degradation of Batman’s costume over the course of the game. The fraying of the cape, bits of blood here and there, dents and scratches all over the armor … it was a step in the right direction. He’s Batman, so I didn’t expect him to be completely disheveled and crippled by a long, rough night of intense crime-fighting … but I liked the type of detail described above and how in cut-scenes, he moved more and more slowly and seemed more and more tired as the game progressed. Why can’t that happen to Lara Croft?

    I never played Tomb Raider. I didn’t see the point. I likewise don’t see the point of calling this Character Lara Croft other than brand recognition (which is a rather *important* point from a game making standpoint, they have to pay for it somehow …); it’s a little like trying to make James Bond good at espionage, less of a slut, and capable of predicting betrayal. That’s not the point of James Bond films; he’s an action hero, and he’s a longstanding character. Making him a “better” character is pleasing a different fan base than his own for the most part. But, as mentioned, Brand Recognition equals cash. So I don’t blame them.

    That in mind, I liked what was said above about male versus female narratives. We are so surrounded by misogyny and over sexualized women that it is difficult to tell when an attractive female character in a rough situation is akin to a strong character in the same situation (sexy, but not sex object; struggling, but not “weak”; emotionally complex; etc.). Ideally, we should be able to put b female and male characters into the same sorts of situations in fiction without sexism interfering (unless it is supposed to; a story about 1950s America that wants to incorporate accurate social dynamics can’t ignore gender or race). This means that strong characters, male and female, shouldn’t be Strong and invulnerable but complex etc (of course not every game should have strong characters … stock characters are important in gaming, and in quality fiction, they just serve different purposes). This said, fighting sexism isn’t just switching out the male with female. Female characters usually shouldn’t be interchangeable with male characters, which is one longstanding gripe I have with Bioware’s stories albeit something I can easily understand and forgive based on a variety of factors. Gender is part of a character’s identity and women and men are different in a lot of ways–psychologically, physically, and in this age and all others in human history, socially. Those things matter to a character. That doesn’t mean a fiction writer can’t create a world in which gender does not effect social status or identity. It does mean that one can create a world in which it does without being sexist. Sexism in character portrayal depends not on whether or not being male or female changes the character and the way the character behaves, but on how any existing change is handled. And sure, it would be great to have a female character that wasn’t supposed to be sexy … but people like looking at attractive people, and as long as all of the other important character traits balance out, well, why not have a character be attractive? Plenty of games have idealized male figures and plenty of books and movies deal with attractive characters of both genders … and it isn’t always a bad thing.

    Hell, the only thing other than color that’s really bothered me so far is that it’s another goddamn “origin story” reboot. Can’t we jump into the middle of a character’s success and life? A good story teller can do that and make it feel natural. I’m tired of, especially in movies, rebooted franchises taken the origin story route. Hellboy’s origin story was just a prologue and not the whole damn movie; that alone made it one of the best comic book movies I’ve ever seen. Sometimes an origin story works, and I know that a reboot is all about getting back to the heart of a character from a new writer’s perspective and redoing the other bits from the ground up. But it’s boring. Origin stories are only really needed if there is something in the rebooted character’s past we wouldn’t believe unless we saw it OR if it’s genuinely more interesting to see the whole story play out from before the character knew how to do anything cool then to just start later and MAKE a better story rather than attempting to grow and harvest one.