The Two Deaths That Defined Tomb Raider

By Nathan Grayson on June 12th, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

'Can't we talk about this,' asks the deer's facial expression. Unfortunately, deer cannot talk.

Tomb Raider‘s demo made me realize something: it’d be a stretch to call what we do in games killing. I mean, yeah, we’re probably the only medium that can (and frequently does) tout multiple physics systems specifically capable of calculating the way bullet-perforated brain bits dance majestically through the air. But really, all we’re doing is knocking down hyper-detailed action figures. We pull the trigger or aim the bow or bury the shank in a fertile bed of neckflesh, and they go down. Then we move on to the next faceless thug, rinse our knives, and repeat.

The Tomb Raider scene I sat in on during E3 really struck me because it didn’t let Lara cut people (or animals) down and then continue gleefully on her way. Death is messy and scary and awful. While the Nathan Drakes and Persian Princes of the world slay 300 people and then sweep corpses under a rug with a dumb joke, Lara – intentionally or not – sticks around for her victims’ final moments. I guess what I’m saying is, I sympathized with an irredeemable, cold-blooded murderer and, er, some random deer. They died scared and spittle-soaked and alone, and I really didn’t feel good about that.

The demo picked up immediately after last year’s E3 showcase, with Lara emerging from a mysterious cave onto a mysterious island of mysterious mysteries. She even continued to nurse a gaping side wound, a rather difficult-to-ignore reminder of the nasty fall (broken by a jagged metal pipe – hooray!) that kicked off her impromptu vacation to crazy land.

The deer, then, represented her first premeditated kill. She’d just acquired a bow – after leaping between, falling, and nearly falling from, like, a billion different jabbingly, scratchingly, stabbingly high places – and realized she needed to eat. So, from a player standpoint, the whole thing was almost callous, essentially taking the form of a bow-and-arrow tutorial. The deer daintily hopped into view from the island’s cool morning mists, and our presenter greeted it with two thudding arrows to the chest.

That’s when the first Unusual Thing happened: Lara approached the once-lithe creature’s quivering body, only to hear agonized wheezes. And, glassy though they were, its eyes were anything but peaceful. Every fiber of the deer’s being was gripped by panic and fear. Sure, it was necessary, and yeah, it was just an animal, but Lara was forced to watch like, well, a deer in the headlights as the life left this thing’s body. Understandably, she couldn’t help but burst out sobbing.

In a medium obsessed with rah-rah-rah violence, it might be easy to confuse those tears with weakness. Executive producer Ron Rosenberg, however, stresses that this is the beginning of a progression – not a defanging of one of gaming’s formative female leads.

“It all goes to trying the story we wanted to tell,” he explained. “And at the center of it is this character of Lara who is inexperienced. But she does have this certain [fierce] core in her. So we put her through these crucible of experiences. You see Lara’s character changing, right? That’s a formative moment in her career. So we’re telling that origin story. For me personally, I’m a fan of comic books. Especially as a kid, I always wanted to know ‘What’s the origin of Batman?’ And I think we’ve captured a little bit of that in this game.”

The second death, meanwhile, came right at the end of the demo – after a few admittedly convoluted events involving other survivors from Lara’s group (one took Lara’s best friend hostage, etc) and suggestions of supernatural presences on the island – and was perhaps among the most impactful I personally have ever experienced in a game. This time around, the victim was far less helpless than some dumbstruck deer, and honestly, he wasn’t even really a victim. As the leader of a gang of scavengers, this ugly heap of man, body hair, and scar tissue had no qualms with executing a band of hapless survivors his group had come across and – for some reason – setting a large portion of the forest on fire.

After taking a cringe-inducing beating herself, Lara fled. She hid in the claustrophobic remains of an old wooden shack, but the scavenger leader had little trouble rediscovering her trail. Gun in hand, he pinned her against a wall and began to caress her with a sweaty, salivating lust. Panicking, Lara (via quick QTEs) bit him as he leaned close and then kneed him below the belt. Seconds later, they were kicking and scrambling, surrounded by the sweltering orange of a burning forest.

Seconds after that, a gunshot rang. The scavenger fell backward, left side of his face masked in a thick, sticky syrup of fresh blood. But his eyes are what really caught my attention. They were so wide it felt like they were sucking me in – so overwhelmed by terror and shock and pain and rage and sadness. I felt incredibly uncomfortable staring into them, but it was all I could do. He was a monster, a nameless villain, and probably a rapist, but part of me wanted to hug him because, well, he was seconds away from awful, awful death. After what felt like hours, he finally choked out his last breath. Lara immediately fell to her hands and knees retching. She’d have probably vomited too, but well, she hadn’t exactly been eating much lately.

She took a human life. Once again, it was necessary, but that moment – I have to imagine – outweighed a thousand sudden falls or grisly steps into rusty bear traps. And according to Rosenberg, that’s the tipping point.

“In that particular scene, she literally becomes a cornered animal,” he explained. “We didn’t want to make it a gratuitous scene, but we wanted to show that character progression and talk about what you’d do if you were put in that extreme situation.”

“Certainly, I’ve killed hundreds of guys in videogames,” he admitted. “I don’t think twice about it. But in that particular moment, I feel it. And I’ve demoed it a bunch of times now. I’ve heard people gasp. I’ve seen people walk out of the theater with tears in their eyes. That’s the thing that I’m super excited about. We’re doing something that’s special. I mean, it’s a little bit risky in some ways. We’re forging into new emotional territories.”

It really, honestly stuck with me, too, which is why I was disconcerted to hear that another demo – which debuted during Microsoft’s press conference – featured Lara unloading arrows into gun-toting baddies like a mix between Robin Hood and the apocalypse. And let’s not forget a grand explosion or two. And yet, I suppose there’s a grain of authenticity mixed in there somewhere. After all, it makes sense that – to survive in a truly hostile environment – you’d have no choice but to become a killer.

“It definitely escalates, and I think she does become a little desensitized to it,” said Rosenberg. “We do try to be sensitive with how we deal with that stuff. We talk about it all the time. And we always have to weigh the balance between the story we want to tell and making a great game that people are going to have fun playing. We’re not willing to let go of either of those things. Certainly, our game isn’t going to be a movie.”

So then, while other games leave us scratching our heads about how ordinary “good guys” suddenly muster the stomach to headshot a couple hundred human beings, Tomb Raider’s aiming to at least explain the progression a little better. As for the sensitivity of which Rosenberg speaks, the jury’s still out. On the death front, I’m certainly interested in connecting the dots between my behind-closed-doors demo and the Microsoft conference’s late-game action-splosion, but – even early on – I couldn’t help but notice a few gleefully up-close-and-personal camera shots that ended up quite suggestively raiding Lara’s tank top.

That in mind, Tomb Raider could very well end up as a jumble of new and old. Emotionally-charged death versus mindless, explosive action. Tooth-and-nail survival versus ruthless domination. And, of course, smart character development versus unnecessary (and honestly, moment-killing) cleavage shots. Maybe, though – hopefully, in fact – not all of those things will end up at odds with each other. Perhaps Lara’s progression from cold, fearful victim to strong, self-reliant survivor will occur gradually and believably. Rosenberg, unfortunately, couldn’t provide me with an in-game exact timetable. He did, however, emphasize that an XP-based ability unlock system would evolve Lara at a measured pace – adding abilities like arrow retrieval and the object highlighting Survival Instinct system to her arsenal.

If nothing else, however, Tomb Raider provided me with a couple of my most memorable moments of E3. So, dismal failure or success beyond all expectations, I’m still expecting intriguing things from this one. Either way, I know I’ll stick with it until the bitter end.

, , , , .

135 Comments »

  1. Maldomel says:

    I hope the game is filled with those emotional moments. Could be a real change from the gratuitous violence, and would really fit the topic: she’s young, hurt and panicked, and yet she has to do extraordinary stuff to come out of it alive.

    • Bootstraps says:

      To my mind the thing that all good media share (films, poetry, documentaries, TV news, music, comic strips, whatever), is that it has some kind of emotional impact on whoever is consuming it. It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative, but there has to be something. I think any performer (or writer/director/etc) would say that if the audience isn’t affected on some level, then they’ve not been successful. It’s true for games too. Yeah, something like Tetris isn’t going to tickle your limbic system very much, but as soon as it gets even just a little more complex than that, the games that people rate highly all involve the player emotionally somehow (surprise, glee, remorse, wonder, whatever). Red Tide, Half Life (the first one), Braid, Dungeon Keeper, Alpha Centuri, Quest for Glory – they all do.

      I reckon this game is going to do well.

  2. kikito says:

    I’m surprised. I might even like this.

    • Premium User Badge

      golem09 says:

      This. I pretty much ignored this game completely, but especially after all the talk about violence since E3, this now officially has my attention.

      • Marik Bentusi says:

        Yep, looks like it has potential. But there’s a still a number of things that put me off about it, all of which smell like publisher demands to satisfy a certain demographic without realizing the real potential of this game. Emotional engagement is enough for anyone of any target audience to be sucked in, ‘splosions and boobies everywhere will only counteract and lessen that effect and by extension lessen the appeal of the game.

  3. Eip says:

    I’m very excited for the possibilities this opens. I hope this will encourage other developers to experiment and express the reality of killing.

    I’ll be honest and say that I consider myself desensitized to violence. I’ve killed hundreds of thousands of baddies in my life, but there are still some things that shock me. One time I was playing Fallout 3, and accidentally shot a townsperson. I knew I had a quicksave I’d made before, so I decided to just kill as many people as I could before I got killed myself. You know, just a little rampage. I went up to an old man and right as he started begging for his life I blasted him in the face with my shotgun.

    I had to stop playing, because it hit me that he was an innocent man just wanting not to die, and I felt physically sick.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      I know what you mean. I actually try not to kill enemies in Skyrim when they fall to their knees and surrender. Which usually means that I kill them two seconds later, when they stand up and decide that they don’t want to surrender anymore. But it still feels better that way.

    • Askeladd says:

      With increasing attachment t to NPCs, you are more likely to feel something for them. Even if you know they aren’t real.
      Maybe we are starting to believe in the VR O_o

  4. Inigo says:

    Quick Quick Time Events?

  5. aliksy says:

    No shit? I approve of games where killing isn’t LOL HIS BRAINS GO BOOM.

    I mean, I’ve done the occasional “murder all the people” rampages in video games. But as the article says, usually the things you kill are more like action figures than real people.

  6. doeke says:

    We should be glad that there are still developers will risk trying something new or untested, let’s hope they’ll be successful.

    • Fanbuoy says:

      Let’s hope that they actually give it some effort, and aren’t just doing it to induce preview hype. Consider me a hopeful cynic.

  7. Valvarexart says:

    I think it’s going in the right direction. If this influences the industry, we might see our form of entertainment actually become more than a mindless massacre on our screens. I am being optimistic, I know, but it’s good that at least some huge AAA games are changing direction a little bit.

  8. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    Sounds good. But then the part about unloading tons of arrows was mentioned :| how special it could’ve been if there had been only a handful of murders in the game? If even that many? That would’ve been far more interesting… making your way around, trying to get away, but not wanting to kill anyone and not being forced into it except out of dire need for self-preservation. Day Z territory, only with a strong female lead… that would’ve been sweet.

  9. Gentlemoth says:

    While I love the idea of a deeper emotional game that doesn’t simply boil down to mindless killing, did they have to use Tomb Raiders for their new spin? These games have an inherent nostalgia to many, and it runs the risk of ending up in the same fashion as Metroid Other M did.

    • jimboton says:

      You know, I think they shouldn’t have. They shouldn’t be making a game about ‘forging into new emotional territories’ by showing in great detail how it really feels to kill people (or deer) and naming it Tomb Raider. It just doesn’t make any sense.

  10. Bisyss says:

    … We didn’t want to make it a gratuitous scene…

    They made a QTE out of a rape attempt and they didn’t want the scene to be gratuitous!?

    • Reefpirate says:

      To be fair, it sounds to me more like a QTE of a rape defense… Could be educational in a good way in that it could be giving some ideas of how to disable a male assailant on the quick.

      • Premium User Badge

        RobF says:

        I really don’t think that’s likely.

      • Grape says:

        To be fair, it sounds to me more like a QTE of a rape defense… Could be educational in a good way in that it could be giving some ideas of how to disable a male assailant on the quick.

        Single dumbest, fucking thing I’ve read, today. Thank you.

        Thank you.

        • Reefpirate says:

          My pleasure. But I do think it’s interesting how this QTE would be treated any differently from any manner of others that deal with homicide, or torture/interrogation ala Splinter Cell. The crimes are all equally grotesque in my mind.

          I was mostly riffing off of what Nathan said, how the sequence of button presses lead to her taking a bite out of the man, and then kneeing him in the balls… Which is probably your best bet to get out of a situation like that in a hurry. A good bite or eye-gouge goes a long way, male or female, sexual assault or not.

          • Premium User Badge

            RobF says:

            If it were quite as simple as kicking someone in the knackers, EVERYONE would just do that and the world would be a better place. So, I fear, what you’re left with is again nothing more than someone’s bright idea of PRESS X TO NOT GET RAPED LOL.

            Videogames, eh? How the fuck did we get here?

      • gwathdring says:

        I’m not sure how to respond to that. I’m going to go with “No.”

    • Steven Hutton says:

      Press X not to get raped.

    • Leosaurus says:

      So what happens when you fail the QTE exactly?

    • Junon says:

      Wow. When the first gameplay trailer came out and the rape-y scene came up, I joked that it looked like a QTE and would make a hell of a commentary on the state of QTEs, but I figured they wouldn’t go there because, as other commenters have noted, the subject doesn’t seem like something to make a game out of.

      But they went there. So….

      I presume if you fail the QTE, Lara automatically fights it off anyway. It would really be rather creepy to fade to black, “GAME OVER – CONTINUE?” because you didn’t press A fast enough to prevent imminent sexual assault. Even though that’s what would happen in the scenario where the player’s life was at stake… a tangled hairball this is.

  11. misterT0AST says:

    This morning I had to kill a mouse that we caught in a mousetrap. I had to break its neck with a hockey stick, but he was still alive, so I bashed its skull with a heavy plank of wood.
    It was a grim morning.
    I don’t know why I said it, it seemed relevant, and I had to get it off my chest.

    • Psychopomp says:

      I ran over a possum once. Once I got home, I cried for two hours.

      Killin’ things ain’t really all that fun.

    • Reefpirate says:

      I ran over a rabbit at high speed in my car once… It was night, and the poor bastard just hopped straight under my tires at the worst time. I never thought I would feel as bad as I did in that instant. It was the whole butterflies in my stomach in a very bad way kind of feeling.

      I didn’t go home and cry for two hours, but it certainly had a much bigger impact than I ever thought it would.

      • gekitsu says:

        i know what you guys mean.

        i once ran over a fox at high speed. it was night, i drove round the corner, the fox was crossing the street, saw me, and reversed. i drove half way on the other lane to give him as much space for his retreat as possible, but then he reversed again, running straight under my front tyre. the whole thing was over before i was finished thinking “holy shit!”

        besides shaking and staring for an hour or so, i totally wasnt prepared for how much impact that is. i mean, we are talking ~1 ton of car against a cat-sized mammal. not only was that LOUD, it jerked the car up and down. like, really, really hard.

        that, and having a cat thats fond of bringing us presents so we dont starve, made a point for killing often not being a clean, disconnected affair like clicking a mouse button and watching the physics engine take over. its messy and visceral. both physically and psychologically.

        this article made it sound much better than the horrible press talk we got to read recently. (was that at kotaku?)

        • Blackcompany says:

          Six months ago, I ran over a young cat. Ran right out in front of me. Couldn’t help it. I have two cats; I cried for an hour, was late to work.

          Came home that night, tried playing Skyrim, couldn’t do it. First time it wanted me to kill a wolf I felt sick. Disgusted. In fact I have not killed anything in a game since. Just space ships in Eve, and stealthy, non lethal takedowns in Arkham City.

          Yeah…killing….really isn’t fun.

          • Grargh says:

            The hardest thing I ever experienced in that regard was finding a dropped baby bird on the walkway some day. It didn’t yet have its eyes open and no feathers either, and it was obviously dying in a very nasty way, but still alive. I stood there for a long time feeling absolutely miserable and helpless about it, and since I couldn’t bring myself to simply go away I decided to end it. That not only made my head spin and stomach act up, but killed my mood for the next few days. Looking back, I still can’t decide whether I could instead have saved it or something and it makes me damn uncomfortable.

    • Claidheamh says:

      Yeah, right, you totally felt bad for murdering those animals, you psychopaths. Stop making things up. Obviously videogames desensitise the youth to violence and blood and death.

    • Valvarexart says:

      With the risk of completely derailing this thing and going kinda off-topic, how do you relate to experiences like these and eating meat? Isn’t that a tad bit worse than killing pixel-men on your screens?

      (Yes; I’m a vegetarian. No, I’m not a member of PETA.)

      • Prokroustis says:

        Meat is tasty and necessary since humans are omnivores by nature and not eating meat will not do a damn thing in reducing number of animals being slaughtered for food. There.

        • gwathdring says:

          I’m a morally comfortable omnivore, myself, but the “one person won’t change anything” argument doesn’t cut it. If no one made difficult choices simply because they found themselves too small to matter, meaningful change would be even more rare than it is now. To violently abuse a metaphor: I’ve kept track of coins I find on the ground and I’ve earned almost $500 that way. That’s a lot of games! Every penny counts.

          Furthermore, early humans most likely had a diet of primarily vegetable matter. Omnivore, for quite a lot of species, means “sometimes eats meat on purpose.” While going Vegan without care can be quite dangerous, the primary concern I have with the diets of my vegetarian friends is that they don’t have as much variety in their diet, consume a lot of pesticides, and make it harder for me to cook to please a crowd. While there are certain things that can be more efficiently gained from meat (iron and B vitamins are the most dramatic ones), humans can get all essential sustenance from plants and even for omnivorous humans there are significant advantages to reducing consumption of meat and dairy–particularly as we age.

          • Kenseu says:

            What a balanced and reasonable discussion about vegetarianism? Don’t you know this is the internet???!!?

            Although, to nitpick a bit, I don’t think pesticides would become a big issue because you became a vegetarian—even if you at a lot of meat, you should be having produce regularly. Swapping meat for extra produce should only be a 15% or 20% change in your diet if you (loosely) follow nutritional guidelines.

            And if your vegetarian friends have boring diets, well, they’re just not trying very hard.

            For reference, I’ve been a vegetarian for a few years now and my wife tells me I’m the second best steak cook she knows (protip: it’s all in the searing).

          • gwathdring says:

            That’s perfectly fair. I have nothing against vegetarianism and it’s perfectly possible to have an extremely varied and healthy diet as a vegetarian.

            Actually, when I thought about it for a bit, I realized most of my favorite meals are vegetarian.

            Edit: The pesticide comment was specifically meant to illustrate how little getting rid of meat effects humans. It’s a perfectly safe thing for a person to do, and our “natural” affinity for meat really isn’t important. Make particular care to watch your B12 and iron and otherwise you’re worried about the same things any healthy eater ought to worry about.

      • gwathdring says:

        I don’t think it is. Killing animals for food is a part of the natural order of things. Killing fellows of our own species of animal or killing animals through mistake or bad luck has long been constructed as very different. I personally find hunting and fishing a wearisome task I will try to avoid in the future (we ate everything, fortunately, which helped), but I don’t think my reservations about killing mark eating meat as an immoral act. They give me a sense of responsibility, instead. I have decided to, for better or worse, allow creatures whose lives I value to be exchanged for my sustenance–I now have a responsibility to give something back to the planetary system so that such exchanges are sustainable. I have to make sure I avoid participating in the over-consumption of any one food source. I have to make sure I avoid factory farms that tear up the land, produce unhealthy food, and needlessly harm the animals involved.

        Meat eating isn’t murder. In the simplest sense, we reserve murder for humans so it cannot be. But this sort of thing isn’t really that simple and I respect your views (but not PETA, ELF or ALF who often do more harm than good for animals in addition to my intellectual disputes with them).

        I am prepared to make the moral determination that I would kill certain creatures in order to eat. I am not prepared to make the determination that an animal ought to be squashed by my wheels or to shoot a fellow human due to intricate social complications. You can disagree with my determination at the beginning of the paragraph, but surely you recognize why these are different? And that media which evokes one of these situations will evoke the associated response?

      • gekitsu says:

        i do make a distinction between industrial meatfarming and “oldfashioned” farming. i dont find it morally objectionable when an animal was treated well and is then killed to be eaten. probably a part of growing up on the countryside and seeing how actual people and real animals are involved in that circle. it has a way of de-anonymizing what would be a product you get at the counter in the supermarket. (re my above post: what i saw as a kid was animals being cared for by farmers, and then ending up at the local butcher. exactly how visceral killing can be was the realization with the fox at night i described above.)

        in practise, that means i try to buy meat, eggs and fish, whereever possible, from local, non-industrialized sources. the meat is more expensive, but i know that the animal didnt live boxed in, force-fed with whatever makes it grow fastest, to be mechanically executed in a factory. (with a more-or-less success rate at killing, and being in different stages of being alive when meat processing starts. yuck.) all ethical issues aside, its also a much, much better product i am buying that way: steaks and schnitzel that dont shrink in the pan. eggs that make a deep yellow cake! in short: it is a product i am aware of where it comes from, and where i choose accordingly, whereever possible. it (like all food, really) is a product that should be treated with respect, not like a throwaway commodity.

        btw, i dont judge you for your decision. thats something everyone has to deal with on his/her own, and come to his/her own conclusions. kudos to you for not subscribing to that moral crusade tone a lot of people have with these issues. :)

        • gwathdring says:

          Thank you, that was very well said. It’s a very personal decision, and there’s no clear line to be drawn, but it’s always nice when people put a lot of thought and care into the little details of how they live and what they eat.

      • Max Ursa says:

        *some readers may find content in this post disturbing*
        when i was young, every weekend in February my family would head to my grandparents out in the country. my gramps was the gamekeeper for this particular estate and february is pigeon season. now these pigeons are not like your scrawny town pigeons, these ate well from the farmers fields and had plenty of meat on them. for years my brother and i would go out to the woods by the fields, hide in the treeline and act as our granddads retrievers. between shots our gramps would teach us proper respect and discipline towards firearms (in this case a 12 bore double barrel shotgun).

        when i was about 14/15, my gramps let me have a shot, needless to say i missed the first couple of times but eventually i managed to hit one. the thing was i only winged it so it crash landed about 10 feet away, so i handed my gramps the empty shotgun and retrieved it for my self. it was still alive and tried to get away but the broken wing prevented its escape allowing me to catch it by the neck. it looked at me, i looked at it, my grandad came over asking me if i wanted him to finish it off. i refused, i’d shot it, i’ll finish it and with a twist of the neck i did so. at that point i didnt know what to feel, i just went back to the treeline and emptied its crop (like a pre-stomach). i was elated that id made my first kill but remorseful. i just sat there and started plucking it’s feathers out.

        i took it back to my grandparents house where i was congratulated and asked how i felt, there was no ‘blooding’ or any of that bollocks. my grandma offered to gut it and prepare it for cooking but i said i’d do it under her direction and i did so. it went in the oven for however long it was and onto my plate. it was the best damn pigeon I’ve ever had, i knew where it had been and i’d killed it and eaten it myself and it wasn’t wasted.

        i respect vegetarians and vegans (except the pushy ones, same with religious people but that’s a whole different barrel) so please don’t start with the whole ANIMAL MURDERER crap. i hate seeing wasteful hunting, as far as i’m concerned if your gonna kill something on purpose it ought to be better than shits and giggles or mount it in your house or wear it. accidental death be it road kill or anything is a shame but there’s not alot that can be done.

        hope this makes sense, im currently on some strong painkillers so my mind ain’t so straight atm.

      • Premium User Badge

        wengart says:

        II felt bad when I hit a squirrel with my truck, but when I shot a turkey I was quite excited.

        Mostly I think it is related to your state of mind.

        I was driving to my friends when this squirrel ran out in front of me. It was unexpected and I felt a little sad about it.

        When I go hunting I get up in the morning ready to kill something. Expecting to kill something. If I do bag whatever it is I’m hunting it is successful completion of what I set out to do.

      • Boosterh says:

        I’m not sure if you are trying to compare eating meat to the game, or to the roadkill examples above. If it is the game, I think the point is that a good game, like any good piece of media, gets you involved in its world. Yes, the life of a meat animal is worth more than a calculation of bits in a game engine, but I’m not thinking about the game engine, I’m thinking “what if this situation were real? Could/Would I still leave this fellow human dead and bloody on the ground?” If you are referring to the roadkill examplesgiven earlier, I’d say it was just a matter of waste: Nobody regrets lighting a candle, even if it consumes the match, but accidentally smashing a dinner plate still makes most people embarassed.

  12. Serenegoose says:

    I really hope I’m not the only one that thinks making a QTE out of an attempted rape is horrifically insensitive to actual rape victims.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      rather a good question about what happens if you fail the QTE

    • pepper says:

      Um, so what about all the murder victims? And those of car crashes? Dont you think that anything we do in games will offend people? And how about rape portrayed in TV crime shows/movies?

      • PFlute says:

        Western society generally understands the complex dynamics of murder.

        Whereas most people in the west still consider rape solely “evil badman jumps out of the bushes” and think that date rape/spouse rape ‘isn’t so bad’ or doesn’t really count.

        So yeah the two aren’t actually parallel, try as one might.

        It’s an especially apparent divide when you have a game like this, where murder invokes a variety of reasons and responses, ranging from desperation and regret to desensitization, but then a rape scene appears featuring a Snidely Whiplash cardboard cutout villain, who honestly is nothing less than a monster.

        • gwathdring says:

          I agree with your analysis. But now I’m stuck. Most murder in games is portrayed as the casual slaughter of mindless goons or cardboard villains. Most killing in games specifically expects the user to put aside social understandings of death and murder or else to create a situation in which society should maybe kind-of hypothetically be ok with it and then send you in guns blazing.

          So where does that put use with handling rape in games? It isn’t the same as murder. The same rules don’t apply. We can’t treat it in exactly the same way, either in serious or cartoon settings, and expect it to work either as a piece of drama, as anything meaningful. I think it is valid to say “You can’t do that with rape, it’s too important to treat casually.” But if we want to do better, we have to start somewhere and people are going to screw up along the way. I think this is good; if it ends up turning out insensitive or otherwise problematic then we should call the developers out. But we can’t just magically churn out games with emotional relevance; we’ve got games without it down, and they’re evolving quite nicely. But I’m not convinced this is bad enough that it shouldn’t happen … it just sounds like it’ll be bad enough that it will require extremely heavy criticism (and requires a lot of caution and speaking about it right now in the hopes that they ultimately handle it well).

      • pipman3000 says:

        that argument will never stop being stupid.

      • Davie says:

        I think it boils down to the fact that murder victims aren’t still around to get offended. Rape and murder are equal crimes in my book, and the only reason I can think of that murder is constantly incorporated into fiction and rape is skirted around and avoided as much as possible, is simply that rape victims are still alive and still trying to recover from a hideous, traumatic experience, and no one wants to risk reminding them.

        It is territory one has to tread carefully to avoid seeming gratuitous and insensitive, but as far as I’m concerned anything goes as long as it actually contributes to plot or character development.

        • identiti_crisis says:

          As a survivor of a murder victim, I would argue that I also count as an indirect victim of that murder. I am kind of desensitised to “murder” now, in that I subconsciously ignore or gloss over any potential reminders, although others are perhaps hyper-sensitive. It really depends; the same seems to be true of rape, although my experience is not “first hand” in that case.

          Either way, it’s the same sort of thing: it all falls under psychological trauma, and you can argue about “differences of degree”, but by that point we’re just being somewhat callous.
          Anyway, it certainly isn’t about “being offended”, it’s about stirring up the pot of shit that your mind keeps to one side and lets you forget about just in time for something to drop in it and make a mess everywhere.
          Deal with that (stand up, “society”), and rape victims will have less to get “offended” about, unless they’re just the offendable sort in general.

    • Reefpirate says:

      Equally insensitive are most video games to homicide victims then? Or victims of slavery or imperialism?

      • Fanbuoy says:

        I’m pretty sure that it’s the fact that it’s presented as a QTE that is the issue, not the fact that it occurs. In some ways I think it might be good to present rape in videogames, as it may raise awareness about it, but I too hate that it’s a QTE.

        • DiamondDog says:

          Is interacting with a scene like that through a QTE any worse that being a passive audience member sitting and watching something similar unfold on a cinema screen? Both have the potential to trivialise the subject if not handled well.

          Is being active in trying to stop it happening better than just observing and being able to do nothing?

          I’m not really sure, myself. I just think a more broad dislike of QTEs might influence people’s feelings on this.

          • Fanbuoy says:

            I meant that the greater level of immersion and relationship to the character often provided by video games may achieve a more profound effect on the player than just idly watching it. So yeah, totally involve players but I’d rather not see it done in a QTE.

            And yes, my opinion of QTEs is almost certainly affecting my feelings about this. While I’m not actually an opponent of QTEs myself, I do perceive them as less serious than “regular” gaming. I’d rather see the player be more active in the situation than just pressing the buttons he/she is told to press.

        • Boosterh says:

          While I think that including an on screen attempted rape is questionable, to say the least (especially in a franchise like Tomb Raider), I don’t think that making it a QTE makes it any worse. I’m not going to lie, whenever one of my female protagonists gets in a (milder) situation like this in a cutscene or conversation, I’m pretty much mashing the melee attack key (or the run away key) anyhow, just on general principle.

          I’m not saying this should have been included, or trying to belittle anyone offended/hurt by it. I just think that if (and I say again, IF) we are going to deal with such a loaded topic in a game, I’d rather see it as part of the game, where you can fight back under your own agency, than be a passive observer of the horror.

      • pipman3000 says:

        murder victims as a rule really can’t compalin about this, you know since THEY’RE DEAD.

        but yeah those rape victims need to stfu and get things i perspective i mean like it’s not like they were murdered or anything.

    • Grargh says:

      What of actual boulder-crush victims? People who fell out of a helicopter? Don’t get me wrong there, but I think a lot of the situations usually handled with QTEs have a similar potential for trauma and irreparable damage as rape in real life.

      • PFlute says:

        Not that I don’t feel for falling-out-of-helicopter folk, but I don’t believe survivors of those incidents (or most physical accidents, really) have nearly as high a rate of PTSD as rape survivors, whom develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a rate comparable to actual war survivors.

        • Steven Hutton says:

          I was going to make a facetious argument about no longer making war games because they’re insensitive to people who’ve been in wars. But then I realised that actually having games that dealt with war (and rape) in a more mature and thoughtful way is actually something I really want.

        • Grape says:

          Not that I don’t feel for falling-out-of-helicopter folk, but I don’t believe survivors of those incidents (or most physical accidents, really) have nearly as high a rate of PTSD as rape survivors, whom develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a rate comparable to actual war survivors.

          Honestly, that has got more to do with culture/society than actual human nature.

          • gwathdring says:

            Nonsense. Human nature is an ephemeral thing that we’re having trouble really nailing down. Society and culture have a well documented ability to affect the way we think and feel about things.

            That’s like the ever-frustrating “That’s just a semantic point” comment. What things mean, how we use words, how we are culturally and socially informed to respond to things, how the very fabric of our perceptive reality is woven … those things matter. A lot. In some way, they’re all we have.

            Someone from a hypothetical culture in which people have been conditioned such that rape isn’t traumatic might well be more likely to suffer from long term psychological trauma after falling off a cliff than being raped. But we don’t live in that hypothetical culture. We live in this one.

      • Grape says:

        What of actual boulder-crush victims? People who fell out of a helicopter? Don’t get me wrong there, but I think a lot of the situations usually handled with QTEs have a similar potential for trauma and irreparable damage as rape in real life.

        Ooh! Some common sense! Didn’t think I’d get any of that in this comments-section.

    • pipman3000 says:

      how dare someone suggest we be considerate of rape victims! having realistic depictions of rape in games is just like the stupid action-movie style shoot-outs in games where arnold deflects a million bullets with his bare chest onto a group of faceless mooks who just drop dead instantly like a ragdoll instead of writhing on the ground screaming as they slowly and painfully die from injuries like in real life.

      might as well suggest we give medicare to loony toons!

    • MondSemmel says:

      Is it more sensitive to rape victims to pretend rapes never happen, and so to just bracket that whole “messy business” away, pretending all is right with the world in games? We have too many escapist fantasies already.

      Or is the QTE the problem? Would it be less insensitive to make it a cutscene?

      Honestly, I kind of see the point, but I still think that you are drawing too broad a brush with your criticism. I haven’t played the demo myself, and so I don’t know about this particular instance – it very well could be insensitive. But, if done well, it could, in principle, also be sufficiently sensitive to be generally helpful – for example, presumably nobody is going to be able to say “she asked for it” when they are the victim themselves.

    • Grape says:

      I really hope I’m not the only one that thinks making a QTE out of an attempted rape is horrifically insensitive to actual rape victims.

      As opposed to the usual QTE’s about killing and murder?

      God, you’re a cunt.

      • gwathdring says:

        Wow. That’s not at all called for.

        The thing about big, personally traumatizing things like this is that they have no strict hierarchy. You cannot simply say “well murder is just as bad” and leave it at that. Not only are there people who feel that such is an objectively demonstrable falsehood (it isn’t objectively any such thing, of course), but we have to look at the context. Violence has an established, desensitizing context in this sort of medium that rape does not. As discussed in the original article, there were individual deaths in the game in which that context was removed and overcome such that those deaths were ALSO impactful and distressing and I’m sure to hurtful and offensive to some viewers who otherwise wouldn’t have batted an eye.

        Rape doesn’t have much presence as a specific video-game element we can relate to with it’s own in-medium contexts. So it adopts more readily the contexts from outside the game–and those are way more powerful and harmful than the video-game murders.

        • dysphemism says:

          Can we get a Kickstarter to fund your being in every comment thread? I imagine you have a day job, but after reading your comments in this thread we’ve decided that the internet needs you more. If we can take up a collection to make that happen, let us know.

          Sincerely,
          The People

    • Vinraith says:

      Depends on whether success in that QTE gives you a “castrate the motherf!cker” QTE.

    • gwathdring says:

      I think it depends on the specific QTE. I’d have to play it to know if it felt insensitive or gratuitous. I do think it is more difficult to create a meaningful QTE than other forms of gameplay. But I’m not sure it’s much easier to make a meaningful in-engine cut-scene. Video game cut-scenes aren’t quite the same thing as a film because they still exist within the context of the game–specifically the context of interrupting the interactive part of the game and making the player into an observer. This CAN certainly be used intentionally and artfully, but I don’t think it’s any easier than with a QTE.

  13. Premium User Badge

    senning says:

    Interesting contrast between this conversation and the one with Kotaku, the most troubling aspect of which was:

    “When people play Lara, they don’t really project themselves into the character,” Rosenberg told me at E3 last week when I asked if it was difficult to develop for a female protagonist.

    “They’re more like ‘I want to protect her.’ There’s this sort of dynamic of ‘I’m going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her.’”

    It’d be odd if the producers humanized Lara’s (victims? targets?) while reducing her, but the amount of work put in to making these deaths feel real and terrible is a good direction for gaming.

    • Fanbuoy says:

      That actually sounds like a pretty bad view on women on his part. Male action heroes are all “Hooah!! Let’s blow some brains out!!” while female ones need protecting?

      On a less serious note, the most troubling aspect of this interview has to be: “I’ve seen people walk out of the theater with tears in their eyes. That’s the thing that I’m super excited about.” Sadist.

      • Grargh says:

        I wouldn’t take that for his view, but what he observed in playtesters.

        • Grape says:

          I wouldn’t take that for his view, but what he observed in playtesters.

          Exactly. Not him having sexist attitudes, but rather a very, very basic male instinct observed among the people who played the game.

      • ChromeBallz says:

        Honestly, i’ve gotten sick and tired of those alpha male, grey, completely bland and pointless ‘main characters’. They stopped being fun in the late 80′s and that hasn’t really changed now.

        That’s why Gordon Freeman is such a good lead character, simply in concept.

        On a sidenote, one of my monitors now has dead pixels :/

    • Urthman says:

      “When people play Lara, they don’t really project themselves into the character,”

      “Girls aren’t people…they’re…y’know…GIRLS!”

    • gwathdring says:

      There’s definitely some oddness floating about in the mix … I’m intrigued enough to see how this all fits together and I have some hopes that it just might work …

      To that end, I do often want to protect my characters–male or female. Left4Dead made some of my friends feel like badass zombie killing machines … it made me feel like a desperate, lost person. Extremely timid and in need of protection. When I thought about it in third person, my urge was to shelter rather than to empower.

      So while I understand the context that’s making people nervous (it worries me, too), there’s still the possibility that this is a good thing.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I hope that they manage to do this right. It could be that the character in these scenes and the one you play in the rest of the game are simply two different people. On the one side, you get the terrified person who is forced to kill someone, on the other you get the stone-cold generic action-hero. For example, first you see how Lara is shocked by the death of this guy, and then she blows his buddies away without showing any further reaction.
    (I haven’t really played it, only read about it, but I think GTA IV does this a lot)

    Though it seems like they explicitly try to not do this. I’m optimistic, for the moment.

  15. Yeould says:

    I for one am totally in favor of this kind of thing. They did this a bit in TR: Anniversary, with lara kind of going all lady macbeth for a moment after killing someone, and that was just such a nice surprise at the time, a game developer actually starting to approach the morality issues involved in running around and gunning down hundreds of baddies. I really think it’s something worth doing as game technology increases. In the 16 or even 32-bit days it wasn’t an issue because game graphics simply didn’t present killing in a realistic manner; it’s when you give 1995 gameplay the 2012 graphics treatment that things get seriously unsettling. Like, did anyone else play Rage and just get creeped out at how realistic the death/pain animations were? Putting a few rounds into a guy as he crawls away going “i’m hurt!” was just unpleasant more than anything, and taking heads off with the wingstick was a little TOO effective at times. Even just the general story of coming out of your stasis pod and running around killing hundreds of bandits just doesn’t really work for me when the characters and setting are so well-rendered. I just found it kind of creepy more than anything.

    I dunno, i’m most definitely not in favor of censorship or whatever (i have no desire to THINK OF THE CHILDREN)– i’m mostly just squeamish, and just on a personal level I’m perfectly happy for gameplay to adapt to how realistic death in games now is– maybe tone down the ol’ mass killing as a basis of gameplay. From what i’ve seen this new Tomb Raider is looking maybe a little fetish-y in terms of the constant brutal injuries and cries of pain (like, we get it, she’s injured…), but if there’s at least some acknowledgement that Death is Death then that’s at least a step in the right direction for my money.

    That’s my 2 cents anyway, as a representative of The Squeamish.

  16. Essell says:

    “He was a monster, a nameless villain, and probably a rapist, but part of me wanted to hug him” is a really, really odd thing to say in an article applauding the game for supposedly not trivialising horrible things.

  17. kalirion says:

    I’d feel really bad for the deer too.

    The other one – don’t see it as much of an emotional moment myself.

  18. Shooop says:

    Well at least a handful of parts in this game seem ready to push mature themes in the right direction. I’ve never liked 3rd person shooters though.

    Like Spec Ops The Line, I’ll probably just watch YouTube videos of it because the story looks like the strongest point.

  19. jellydonut says:

    You said QTE’s, though.

    Fuck. That. Noise.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      There is nothing fundamentally wrong with QTE’s as an idea they’re just really poorly used in almost every game in which they appear.

  20. Yosharian says:

    Seriously? This isn’t Tomb Raider, this is just an interactive movie.

    • Dominic White says:

      The bigger magazine previews say the opposite. It’s an open-world game with survival elements and a handy fast-travel system because the world map is so large. The problem is that PR people don’t want to demo the whole ‘exploring and climbing and hunting’ gameplay, and just show the big cinematic moments.

      Don’t forget that this is Crystal Dynamics. They made the Legacy of Kain series.

      • MondSemmel says:

        Incredibly, they also made Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, which I found a highly enjoyable, great game – despite its abysmal story. I wonder how they went from that game to this one.

      • Yosharian says:

        Hm OK, I am willing to be proved wrong, but the description of the intricate death sequences above are merely QTE events, right? So it shows nothing about the actual game.

  21. Mman says:

    “It really, honestly stuck with me, too, which is why I was disconcerted to hear that another demo – which debuted during Microsoft’s press conference – featured Lara unloading arrows into gun-toting baddies like a mix between Robin Hood and the apocalypse. And let’s not forget a grand explosion or two. ”

    The E3 demo pretty much killed any enthusiasm I had that this game would handle death maturely. When the concept for this game came out I thought Lara having to take lives at some point was going to be an obvious major turning point for her character, but for that to matter the game has to establish Human life as something sacrosanct so that taking it is a major moment. Apparently the first kill does that (rape QTE issues aside), but how can that mean anything if Lara goes straight to slaughtering hordes of near-characterless goons after? It could be even worse than that, given the game has an experience system, which means you might be overtly rewarded for taking lives.

    Maybe these moments where Lara kills several people will be very rare and major story points, and I’ll respect it if they do manage that, but I highly doubt it considering the mechanics are obviously geared towards fighting humans (with stuff like the use of cover).

    • Grargh says:

      Maybe a mechanic like that of Amnesia’s creeping insanity would be interesting for a game like that. Some kind of shock or trauma level that rises with each kill (depending on cruelty even?) and simulates the real-world effects of those states, lowering your concentration and reaction time or something. Could that work?

      • Mman says:

        Something like that could work in a game to add some weight to killing. On the other hand, it’s not especially relevant to Tomb Raider as the developers presumably don’t plan to end the game with Lara spending the rest of her life getting treated for PTSD.

      • FunkyBadger3 says:

        Metal Gear Solid 3 is the only game I can think of that even hints at this kind of mechanic, and then only for one sequence…

    • DK says:

      What I don’t understand is how the devs for this new Tomb Raider seem to get credit for having her be all moralistic about killing people and then getting used to it when Tomb Raider Anniversary did EXACTLY that already – but without fanfare or hyperbole and “look what we did, we’re so mature and clever”.

      In Anniversary it just happens on it’s own – Lara only fights animals and supernatural enemies throughout the entire game, until at the very end she accidentally kills one of the bad-guy Henchmen. From that point on, she gets progressively less concerned with human life over the course of the next games in the series.

      • gwathdring says:

        I’d forgotten about that. I’ve never played it, but I’ve heard that fact mentioned before.

  22. DK says:

    Kane and Lynch series already did the “what actually happens when people act like Shooter Game Protagonists” and got torn apart by the games media who didn’t have the brains to understand it. The only reason this is getting a positive treatment is because it’s a “poor defenseless girl” as the main character.
    Pathetic.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      I bet you liked sucker punch too.

    • dysphemism says:

      The difference doesn’t seem to be that she’s a “poor defenseless girl” so much as the violence here is portrayed as tragic and vile, both to the character and to the player; it humanizes, in a way, which is a different tack than most games take.
      Kane and Lynch were brutal psychopaths. They indulged in the violence that games typically do, but the K&L games stripped away the veneer of moral justification for it, shining a spotlight on how often games themselves are essentially psychopathic. It’s a commentary on the medium.
      The one is being portrayed as an earnest attempt to elevate games; the other was a nihilistic rebuke of games. I don’t know how successful Tomb Raider will be in realizing its marketing pitch, but its message is more obviously attractive. It’s got much less to do with the gender thing that you seem to be going after, I think, than the fact that nihilism doesn’t win Oscars.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Kane and Lynch was also a really shit video game. Let’s not forget that salient point.

    • Yosharian says:

      K&L got torn apart because it was an awful game

  23. Axess Denyd says:

    My wife was raped years before I met her. If I were to find the person responsible, the only regret I would have is that, inevitably, there would have to be a point at which his suffering ended.

    I would feel bad for a suffering deer that I had to kill for food, though.

    Evil does not deserve pity.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Except evil you do yourself, apparently.

      • Axess Denyd says:

        In what way is removing a rapist evil?

        Letting a rapist go means you are responsible for every other person he victimizes.

        When you break rules of human interaction to that extent, it is game over. I do not have compassion on any level for them.

        • gwathdring says:

          I guess I don’t see people as ever simply evil. Crimes and acts, yes, but not people.

          I also don’t believe that by failing to kill a violent criminal, I am complicit in their crimes. I have a responsibility to prevent crime within certain limits, but I personally set those limits far short of murder. My biggest responsibility is to make sure that people trained to deal with crimes get the information they need.

          The law in many nations considers the murder of violent criminals illegal unless it is part of a direct defensive measure; I personally think this is the right way to handle such situations. I feel that death is too serious a punishment to be doled out by ordinary citizens, especially victims and those closest to them.

        • Steven Hutton says:

          Whoa! Easy there tough guy. Put the tape measure away.

    • Cryo says:

      Vigilantism is totally awesome and never ever leads to any bad consequences. Everyone knows that.

  24. arlyn says:

    wat demo? where is said demo?

    registered to say that, & kudos on the awesome captcha, i’ve yet to seen one like it, and all should be such.

  25. Bhazor says:

    Soooo you watched a cutscene then?

    “a few gleefully up-close-and-personal camera shots that ended up quite suggestively raiding Lara’s tank top”
    So they are still sexualising a rape/beaten victim. This is going deep into I Spit On Your Grave territory.

    Can’t we just go back to sumersaulting over Panda’s and shooting skeletons with a rocket launcher?

  26. Grape says:

    Wow. Aren’t we melodramatic.

  27. GT3000 says:

    I’m curious to see what a failed QTE sequence for the at scene looks like. Ya know. For science and what not.

  28. owenj says:

    That’s all fine and great and all, but the trailer I watched from e3 had her running around shooting dudes wily-nily with a bow and arrow. I do believe it will be difficult to reconcile this “killing is an emotionally significant act” with the hundreds of dudes you will inevitably end.

    • gwathdring says:

      Yeah … that’s a problem. I doubt they’ll pull it off. But I like that they THINK they can. As was said in the article: at least it will be a SMOOTHER transition than the typical zero-to-hero we see in games.

  29. Bhazor says:

    I literally can not believe the number of “LOL RAPE” and “I hope we get to see her get raped” comments here.

    I’m honestly offended. I thought that RPS commentors were better than that.

    If you don’t see the problem with that then you are the damn problem.

    • sophof says:

      I haven’t read a single one, so I’m going to assume you’re being a bit hypersensitive about the topic…

  30. Kresh says:

    “They were so wide it felt like they were sucking me in – so overwhelmed by terror and shock and pain and rage and sadness. I felt incredibly uncomfortable staring into them, but it was all I could do. He was a monster, a nameless villain, and probably a rapist, but part of me wanted to hug him because, well, he was seconds away from awful, awful death.”

    …and this is why we can’t have nice things… like a functioning, RATIONAL, civilization. A “person” (in a video game, admittedly) who obviously deserved death, causes sympathy merely because he’s disbelieving of the sudden delivery of the justice he deserves? He’s about to rape (and probably murder) a girl in the jungle and you’re moved that his violent terminal ending in his quest for some involuntary nookie made him sad?

    Seriously? A stone-cold killer and rapist, suddenly dewy-eyed and aghast that he’s going to meet his maker, causes sympathy in you?

    Good god, grow a pair. You should have been cheering the result. A victorious roar and a fist-pump at the demise of such a monster would have been ENTIRELY appropriate.

    Still, I’ll judge the game on it’s merits when it comes out…. not on how killing a rapist would make me feel. Although, to be honest, that is one heck of a draw for me. Killing Nazis? Booring. Killing Commies? Meh, done it. Elves? Check. Dwarves? Finished. Giant-green skinned mutants 3000+ miles from their source of origin? I can show you the t-shirt. Rapists? Hmmm, I think I’ve missed that one. Sounds good to me!

    • Cryo says:

      I miss having this amazing moral clarity. Too bad my teenage years are so far behind me…

    • gwathdring says:

      Of course … you could also see it as a moment enhanced by the obviousness of the villainy. As becoming emotional when bland canon fodder actually shows some signs of humanity. One could argue a mustache-twirlingly evil rapist is hardly a realistically human depiction of most sex-criminals. While there certainly are some genuinely horrible, dark, cold people in the world a lot of horrible, dark, cold acts are committed by people indistinguishable from other more sympathetic humans in the bulk of their lives. A murder being justified does not make the murderer weak for feeling remorse; it is natural to react strongly to humanity being snuffed out however dark its frame.

      Back to video games, is it so strange that with all the ridiculously obvious villains we face in video games, seeing a realistic depiction of a formerly menacing man suddenly fearing death has an impact? We are offered so few human moments in games.

      Or perhaps I need to have my “pair” professionally examined to make sure they’re functioning properly. They are a little lopsided, but I thought that just happens to some people.

  31. ichigo2862 says:

    I hope you get an option to kill it mercifully instead of stare at it while it agonizes in pain. Sounds kind of inhumane to just let it suffer.

  32. Premium User Badge

    PikaBot says:

    The trailer I saw looked like oversexualized torture-porn (I’m not sure Lara did much of anything in it but run, whimper in pain, and freak out to Big Strong Men who had come to save her), and nothing I’m seeing here makes me think any different.

  33. Shortwave says:

    This article gave me a mild wood.
    I wasn’t going to get this day one but I’m gunna’ have to now.
    My body is ready!

  34. BenA says:

    Chuck Wendig has some interesting things to say on the matter:
    http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/06/12/the-victimization-of-lara-croft/

    • sophof says:

      This is clearly an eye of the beholder thing.

      Firstly he completely misunderstands that the developer is merely observing player’s tendencies when playing Lara, not stating a design decision.

      Secondly, his observations of Lara being ‘weak’ and a ‘victim’ are exactly that, his. Then he chastises the game for that. Apparently he is the one that thinks that a pretty women almost getting raped by isolated thugs on an island is not only weak, but apparently her fault. And again, he then starts insulting the developer, now including curse words as well. But all the game does is put Lara in the situation, the game implies exactly nothing about women, except the very real fact that this is a thing that can happen, whether a woman is helpless or not.

      Seriously, I have read a lot of stupid things on the internet, but that article is a strong contender for the title.

      To expand it a little, I think from these kind of reactions that it is clear some people just never have been in these truly dangerous types of situations. They have an idea of themselves of being strong and heroic and therefore project it as ‘strong’. I think anyone what a little experience knows that these are ‘cornered animal’ types of situations and there is no ‘weak’ or ‘strong’, there is just the situation and what you are going to do about it.

      To summarise: As is so often the case, he is turning something into a gender issue that is clearly not an issue. Trying to pick a fight for a perceived wrong in the wrong places.

  35. Radiant says:

    By the time we get to ‘Lara Croft 3′ she’ll be killing 304 bambis as part of a quest to get better shoes.

  36. Daarck says:

    ‘I always wanted to know ‘What’s the origin of Batman?’ And I think we’ve captured a little bit of that in this game.”

    I like Batman, but I don’t see why he’s in a Tomb Raider game.

  37. chhopsky says:

    This is the most intelligent, rational and sensible discussion on every issue in TR:CR that I’ve seen online and I’m joining and donating to this site because of it. What a fantastic community.

  38. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    Just to add a lighter tangent to the discussion, anyone here play Iji? That’s got a protagonist forced into conflict coming to terms with the taking of life, all portrayed through the responses in-game. (And you can also play it as a pacifist, though I never managed to complete it like that.)