Rhi, Light My Fire: Rhianna Pratchett On Tea, Cakes & Lara

By Cara Ellison on March 22nd, 2013 at 9:00 pm.


It’s about five to seven on a Wednesday night and I meant to call my mum about an hour ago to tell her that I am a failure of a woman because I am twenty seven and sleeping on a beanbag in a loft, but instead what I did was look in the back of the fridge for dinner, which turns out to be a giant pot of Tesco’s Finest pea soup with ham in. I dump the pot of soup on a table and then have a slight heart in mouth moment – I can’t call my mum or eat soup I am interviewing Rhianna Pratchett and she is the Lara Croft of writing Tomb Raiders.

You don’t understand, RPS. It was my New Year’s Resolution to interview one-time PC Zone journalist-turned-game writer Rhianna Pratchett, and everyone knows that if you break one of those resolutions the Ghost Of New Years Past will come and make you celibate like Morrissey. I squeak and boot up Skype in fear for my loins. I shouldn’t have worried. About Rhianna, I mean: I still don’t know if I’m celibate or I just smell like a beanbag ate some pea soup.

“You’ll probably hear cats squeaking and bouncing around in the background,” Rhianna apologises, before we begin, which makes me smile. (Cats have haunted all my recent work on RPS, as if they know I am allergic to them.) I have a notepad with questions about Tomb Raider in front of me, “ask about TEA” underlined with a box around it.

We have chatted for about ten minutes about our various recent niggles, which often include being defined by the closest male to us – for her, her father the author Terry Pratchett, and for me, pretty much every guy who ever wrote in an Amiga Power way about games. But we both have something specific in common: our love of computer games was instigated by our fathers. Whilst it was Acheton on my dad’s BBC Micro that made me want to learn to read and write, Rhianna was a ZX81 girl.

MAZOGS

“He introduced me to computer games when I was six,” she says. “I think Mazogs on the ZX81 was my first game. He said I was very scared about it originally… Mazogs was a very very basic dungeon crawler I guess…a little pixellated man, little pixellated crabby-spidery creatures trying to eat you. I was quite scared until I saw that the pixellated man had a pixellated sword and could kill the little spidery-crabby creatures. That was the start of a love affair. …I would sit next to him and get out the graph paper and draw maps for him. He had a very big chair and I’d sort of sit behind him and peer out as he sort of played, have the maps ready to direct him. Lots of isometric games like Head Over Heels, Knight Lore… We got to a stage where he would play a game first and then give it to me, or we’d get a couple of copies and we’d play it each. He played Tomb Raider first, so he spoilt the part about the T-Rex. I did remember that moment: trying to find the little cave to hide in where it can’t reach you. That was definitely a seminal moment in my gaming history. ”

We have a brief break because a cat is purring down her microphone. I wonder aloud if she ever had that moment like I did as a kid where I realised that Tomb Raider’s adventurer is a woman, and have some sort of mad epiphany that I could do things by myself. Rhianna doesn’t remember that moment. “I grew up going to fantasy and sci fi conventions. I was used to seeing women warriors.”

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee

This is where I begin to be frustrated with my shy upbringing: Rhianna had a childhood where women warriors weren’t just Lara Croft… they were everywhere. “I grew up with Ripley and Sarah Connor at the age I discovered them at…I don’t know – twelve? I discovered them first… That was just what women did… Which I think was a fine lie to grow up with.” She goes on to tell me that when she was twelve she had a six foot Alien queen on the back of her door, where I had a blu-tack stained picture of the All Saints pouting in parachute pants. I’m outdone really. Whatever the equivalent of emasculated is right now, I am feeling it. Femasculated.

We bitch about Aliens: Colonial Marines not having any women in it to begin with, and how Vasquez in Aliens was amazing, and how now that women are now serving on the frontlines in close combat reality is more feminist than most videogame fictions. “I’m hoping someone out there is going to produce ‘Vasquez: The Early Years’,” Rhianna says. In my head this is sort of like The Wonder Years but with bandanas and miniguns. I write down ‘pitch Vasquez: The Early Years at GDC’. Then I write, ‘Cliffy B?’ slightly optimistically. And then draw a heart next to it.

It’s Tomb Raiding Time. I ask her if Crystal Dynamics already had a story in mind when they contacted her to write the new Tomb Raider.

“They had a synopsis,” she said. “It was over two and three quarter years ago that they contacted me, and I think they had a synopsis and they had some character bios and some character artwork, so the core four survivors were all provisionally designed when I came on board…. They’d gone all through what they wanted to do with the game, and the setting. There was a sort of spine in place in the synopsis. During the course of the game I worked on that synopsis and I turned it into a full treatment. The supernatural aspects of the game were pushed back…there were more survival aspects introduced. …We built that treatment into a traditional three act structure.

“It was mostly Noah Hughes, the Creative Director, John Stafford the Narrative Designer and myself were the sort of narrative trio for it. John wrote the majority of the in-game lines, for Lara I think there’s a couple of mine in there from the old days before John was on the project. He also did the character diaries, based off the character bios that I created. I did the Lara journals.” Rhianna talks about the copious feedback that the trio gave to each other during the writing of the game. “It was a friendly harmonious narrative triangle all the way through.”

I ask her if she was at the helm of what I think was creating a pretty decent portrayal of a very human, more nuanced Lara. “I’m one of multiple parents of Lara. …My job was sort of to explore that human element… To explore Lara Croft: Tomb Raider… You know, the strength, the bravery… The British grit… Show those traits coming to the fore. Obviously still a human in a videogame, that’s not ever going to be like a human in real life. Just push it… Push the boundaries a little bit. …I don’t think it’s accurate to say that we took things away, it’s more accurate to say that we rewound her. …She doesn’t know what she’s capable of. It’s a big surprise to her in a way.”

You maaaaaaaaake me feeeeeeeel like a natural born KILLER. Yeaaaaaaah

It seems (and forgive the mini review) that the narrative team Rhianna was part of was often pushing back against what the demands for gameplay were. Rhianna states that the multiplayer aspect of Tomb Raider was already a requirement for the game by the time that Rhianna started, and the ‘survivor’ characters were made distinctly different from each other so that they would be visually recognisable in multiplayer – with little room for character arcs. The features of the game were making decisions for the narrative team, decisions that they were reacting to. This friction is felt throughout the game – where the action thrusts itself in, the narrative sometimes noticeably recedes.

Rhianna explains, “a lot of peril was gameplay needed, and so that was designed into the levels, so I wasn’t the one throwing her around and killing her in various ways. That was down to combat design, level design,” she often “[put] in the scenes to offset the doom and gloom”.

Rhianna also tells me about her conflicting feelings on Lara’s violence curve going from being afraid to kill, to being a mass executioner. “Hand on heart, the narrative team would have liked that to be a bit slower, but on the other hand we’d kept the player without a gun for at least an hour, we’d kept them without a weapon for a while. …We found that as soon as gamers got a gun, they wanted to use it. …You’ve got the needs of gameplay, you’ve got the needs of narrative, and you’ve got the needs of the player for this to be a fun experience. They don’t always align exactly. Sometimes you’ve got to make compromises on this.”

Some of the ways that the team worked the narrative into Tomb Raider’s gameplay were genuine touches of grace. A moment a good bit into the game made me unslouch my weary journalism-ravaged back and sit up with the ache of a caught diaphragm: Lara picks up a grenade launcher, and is immediately set upon (as is their wont) by a sprawling crowd of Solarii cultist dickwads who whoop and exclaim at her presence, the ‘outsider’. Hurtling Lara into the fray, I ducked her behind a box and started taking potshots under heavy fire. Frustration at their constant harassment built in me: Lara the outsider, Lara the set upon, Lara the woman afraid.

And then the moment came: my burning arrow sets a man on fire, and Lara bellows guttaral at their exclamations, “That’s right you bastards, run, I’m coming for you all”. My teeth grit into an ecstatic grin and my eyes got hot, wet.

That palace seemed pretty far away but I eventually set it on fire

To mention this moment on twitter was to receive an avalanche of recognition: people tweeted me their feelings and interpreted their heartgrins onto my feed. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way about that line, lots of men also felt the same about that moment. Rhianna remarked to me that being this Lara is facing an environment of fear that men often don’t experience, and that moment? It’s a refreshing reminder of what power is when you’ve slowly fought for it, and it tasted sharp, like a Whisky Sour.

Rab says he forgot Lara was a woman, but at that glorious moment, I remembered.*

I tell Rhianna I thought John had done a good job with the Lara-Solarii dialogue in that respect. She agreed and expanded on his role. “Something that John was very keen on,” Rhianna says, “and I agreed with him, was not to dwell upon gender insults. It’s fairly rough and ready but they’re not sort of throwing out ‘bitch’, ‘whore’ et cetera et cetera. We were certainly very aware of the Arkham City stuff, and you don’t get the same gendered insults to a male player that you do to a female. He didn’t feel that was appropriate, neither did I, but he wanted to have it in-keeping with the guys – but also they are working effectively for a woman as well, although you don’t know that at the time.”

I AM KURTZ

Being Cara is always to be asking the important questions. “If you get to work on the next game,” I say, “Can you definitely try and get Lara to call a few people twats? Because there aren’t enough ‘twats’ in games. ‘Twat’ is a very neglected insult.”

“That’s fair,” Rhianna says, “but it would be hard getting it past the Americans. I didn’t get Jaffa Cakes past them (not that Jaffa Cakes is an insult), but I originally had a scene where they were sort of reflecting on things they missed back home, and Lara mentioned Jaffa Cakes” –

I hear myself on the recording of the interview audibly gasp

– “It took a while – and I was like No! British people eat them all the time! They do not have Jaffa Cakes. That scene got changed and cut and moved so unfortunately Jaffa Cakes didn’t make it in.”

I check that this is not some sort of Jaffa Cake scoop (she gave it to Wired and then got tweeted by the official Jaffa Cake twitter account), and then I do my duty and segue neatly into tea questions. “What kind of tea would Lara drink? Is she a Tetley girl?” I ask, looking straight at the ‘ask about TEA’ note and drawing a massive tick mark against it.

A slight pause. “I don’t want to Mary Sue my own tea tastes onto Lara,” Rhianna agonizes. “Hmm. Old Lara would have been Earl Grey. Or what I am currently drinking right now which is Earl Grey with lavender. It’s the height of posh teaness. But new Lara is probably Yorkshire Gold. I think Roth’s got some Yorkshire Gold.”

“I was thinking maybe green tea,” I say, “But maybe she’s not that New Age.”

“No I think something quite strong and robust, so I’m thinking Yorkshire Gold probably.”

“And would she have half fat milk or whole fat milk? How far would she go with the milk?” I ask.

“I think she’d go half fat, I don’t think she’d go completely skimmed, I think that’s a bit reckless… Not as reckless as full fat but not as tasteless as skimmed.”

PROPER TEA

I nod. “I think you should definitely get twat and Yorkshire Gold into the next one,” I say. The conversation quickly descends into how many more Scottish words we could wedge into the next one – ‘scunner’ featured in this Tomb Raider, but I requested that ‘ya wee skite’ be mentioned in the next one. I’ll be crossing my fingers.

We began this interview on father figures, but they won’t go away. Throughout my almost two hour chat with Rhianna, I come to mention Roth and how I found him to be very paternal. And in turn, there is a lot of the paternal theme: the “You’re a Croft” line, the references to Lara’s father. “It’s a little bit cheesy, but that [“You’re a Croft”] line was one of the first lines I wrote. …They were test scenes, for getting the gig in the first place.”

“I know we were talking before about how father figures kind of haunt both of us,” I say. “It’s nice symmetry that we are now talking about Roth and Lara’s father. Do you think you accidentally put echoes of that in the script?”

I think I can hear Rhianna grinning. “I was careful not to go too Mary Sue on her, but I do joke that Crystal were like, ‘geeky, British, brown hair, possible father issues…Rhianna Pratchett’. …We’re keen on standing on our own two feet. We definitely share that.”

My favourite line of the game, which comes fairly early on. Lara is nerding out on a particular female historic figure, and she remarks, “A woman holds that much power, and sooner or later it gets called witchcraft.” There is a discussion almost going on in the way the power struggles happen in this Tomb Raider: there is the struggle of narrative against action scenes, and of quick time events against the player, and of on-rails sections against directed cutscenes. It’s all about power and who has it: but who holds the most power in the game is Lara. She is magnetic: no matter what she is hurled into, it is your wish to keep her going – because she deserves it. She holds the power. She’s a witch, and people are often trying to burn her.

This Tomb Raider has seen the franchise shift significantly away from tombs towards… Well, Uncharted territory. And despite myself I am perfectly willing to take her hand, even with a tearful goodbye to the vast tombs of Anniversary. I think Rhianna might be part of that. I thank her for her time, wish her luck with her Bioshock: Infinite work and upcoming film script based on Warrior Daughter. I wish her a good holiday from press questions in Barbados. I stop the Skype video call happy.

It is at this moment that I realise that I had a weirdly giant tub of pea soup behind me in shot the entire time. Oh god Rhianna’s off now, going oh that’s the soup journalist.

DRAMATIC RECONSTRUCTION OF RHIANNA'S VIEW. #SOUPGATE

Shit. I better call my mum.

*And then promptly exploded myself on a grenade.

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277 Comments »

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  1. DotEl says:

    Nice reading.

    btw, don’t ever put a pic of you on a gaming site, just saying.

    • Eldiran says:

      I’m sure we can trust RPS to stay classy, we have some pretty souperb posters here.

      • DotEl says:

        I sure hope so!
        It’s just that, I’ve seen so many pollute communities, i get afraid at the first glance, cheers!

        • 00000 says:

          I’m confused. Can I still rate this article 10/10 and would definitely let my Pinkie Pie figurine bang that Iron Man figurine?

          They could have wonderful babies… hopefully in a place where bestiality isn’t frowned upon…

          • Solidstate89 says:

            Tony Stark spits on the graves of Bronies. It’s one of his best character traits.

          • Chris D says:

            @Solidstate89

            Sure about that? You know Kieron Gillen is writing Iron Man at the moment. You probably don’t want to be giving him ideas.

      • Droopy The Dog says:

        I’m condiment we won’t have many unsavory comments if you ask miso don’t worry. If anything does brother her we can always pepper up again with some good old RPS punnage, although you have to be careful it doesn’t blend in too much.

        (did I go too far? I went too far didn’t I? ah well, bowldly on!)

    • zain3000 says:

      Come now, I’d like to think the readers of RPS are capable of seeing a picture of a female gamer/journalist without starting a ridiculously misogynistic thread and/or repainting their bedroom walls in off-white.

      • Shuck says:

        On the other hand, expect “SOUPFACE” (“WARSOUP”?) and related puns.

        • Premium User Badge

          Lambchops says:

          I’m disappointed to see a sad face by the soup though. The presence of soup should surely be marked by a happy countenance. Though perhaps she’s sad she’s only got what looks like some fancy shmancy Tesco’s finest rubbish instead of good old fashioned Baxters or Campbells soup?

        • Bhazor says:

          I Campearly believe we’ve not had more puns yet.

        • The Random One says:

          I’m Brazilian and Cara is the Portuguese word for face.

          CARACARA

    • MuscleHorse says:

      I went a bit :3

      • Alexander says:

        You can always cum back.

        Also, nice read, but man, Cara sure likes to insert herself in every article she’s writing. I’d prefer a bit more direct info and less journo-commercials and forced pop references.

        • Solidstate89 says:

          I’d say that’s what makes part of her writing style unique. It amuses me, so I can’t say I have much of an issue with it.

          • FurryLippedSquid says:

            Nah, not really, Ellie Gibson of EG does the same thing. It’s almost like women in games journalism have something to prove…

          • caddyB says:

            Furrylippedsquid:

            Oh no you didn’t.

          • Strabo says:

            Or because some people like to write a subjective, personal article instead of the pseudo-objective stuff you find on most big review sites. Which RPS is all about I thought. If you read an article by Adam Smith, John Walker, Kieron Gillen you will find they as often as not refer to their own feelings, thoughts and experiences. Hell, read the Interview with Levine posted some weeks ago, which is all about how the interviewer feels.

          • 11temporal says:

            Sex sells. If you are a female in male dominated games journalism it’s much easier to get noticed if you play your gender card. That said doing it in a more subtle way would lower the risk of backlash but it looks like Cara prefers to live dangerously.

        • zain3000 says:

          I actually like her take on gonzo journalism. It makes the stories seem more personal. And, seeing as gaming is something close to all our hearts, I can appreciate Cara putting a little piece of herself into the writing.

          • Bhazor says:

            There’s “expressing yourself in writing” and there’s “crowbarring in 90’s music references into every article” or “forget about lets talk about me instead”.

            It’s getting dangerously close to being a gimmick.

          • Droopy The Dog says:

            C’mon, we already have John’s hug crazed terrible healer persona, Alec’s cat obsession, and Jim’s secret Planetside 2 bunker that he hasn’t left in months. I don’t see how this is any different.

            It’s the writer’s honeymoon period, where little baby in-jokes are destined to be made with furious intensity.

          • Phantoon says:

            But bad pop was all Kieron’s articles were ever about!

            And he was the best!*

            *At undetermined things.

          • Blackcompany says:

            Respectfully, I enjoy Cara’s writing. A lot of the writers here on RPS go for the straight up “information first” approach. Cara’s writing is much more personal. We get to learn not only about games, but what games mean to Cara and often why they mean what they do. Its a nice addition.

            As far as “gimmicks” go I think a lot of games journalists probably have “gimmicks” of some sort. Mr. Walker you can count on for pun. Nathan Grayson is going over-the-top funny at some point in near every article. Also, Texas. I have not spotted Mr. Pearson’s gimmick, but I will endeavor to so. Total Biscuit is…well…Total Biscuit. And Angry Joe literally IS the gimmick personified, unfortunately.

            When every games journalist is reviewing the same material and interviewing the same dev teams and writers, it is the gimmicks which draw the readers. When the source material is the same on every gaming-news site, its the gimmicks that draw people to RPS as opposed to PC Gamer or CVG. The puns and their threads, Fates following on the heals of the articles wot give them birth. Cara’s feelings about games and music references. Texas.

            I come here for the personal touches, not the news. And I hope they, like Cara, remain for the long haul.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            @blackcompany – **applause**

          • Aardvarkk says:

            I liked the interview style quite a bit. I found it much more engaging than:

            RPS: So, Tomb Raider?

            Pratchett: Yes, Tomb Raider.

            Very nicely written, Ms Cara.

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            LegendaryTeeth says:

            @Blackcompany: 100%. Cara is my favourite RPS writer now. I want articles that are not just informative, but also a good read in their own right. The other writers are generally pretty good at this too of course, but Cara has been nailing it every single time, and I look forward to her articles like I used to look forward to Kieron’s. This is the sort of thing that keeps me at RPS rather than other random gaming new sites.

        • DiamondDog says:

          I think there are enough dry info dumps in the world of games writing. More personality, please.

          • Alexander says:

            Completely agree with the guys… above me, but there’s also limits to how much gonzo you can do. I visit RPS daily precisely because I love what they do, but Cara tends to take it further. Which sometimes is too far.

        • Niko says:

          So what’s your point? Are you suggesting that she should change her style, or that RPS should publish less of her posts?

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          Lambchops says:

          Nah, I think it’s always nice to have at least one of the KG/Leigh Alexander type style of gaming journalism around. A site that was entirely made out of that sort of thing would be way too much but sprinkles of it here and there are rather lovely.

          • Alexander says:

            Sprinkles, yup, I can go with that.

          • Phantoon says:

            Leigh is also one of the only acceptable Kotaku writers. So, it’s a quality thing as much as it is a tonal thing.

        • wererogue says:

          http://gillen.cream.org/wordpress_html/assorted-essays/the-new-games-journalism/

          This kind of style is what brought me to RPS in 2007, and I’m massively enjoying Cara’s take on it.

      • AngoraFish says:

        I stopped reading Cara’s posts after the first half a dozen articles. I’m here for the gaming content, not the journalists.

        I appreciate that others find gonzo amusing, each to their own.

        • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

          I think ultimately games journalism is a rather thankless task for journos – although playing games is fun, a lot of the other stuff in the industry isn’t. So fun and interest has to be injected manually into gaming websites and blogs.

          Therefore I think it’s all good. I know I’d drive myself mad trying to write articles about this industry – I’d be trying all sorts of ways to spice it up.

        • Alexander says:

          Thank you, couldn’t have said it better. Although, to be specific, I am here for the journalists, but only after they prove themselves, like the RPS guys have done so many times until now. I want to know someone through their results, not their boasting.

        • Koozer says:

          “I stopped reading Cara’s posts after the first half a dozen articles.”

          *checks author of this article*

          *makes a scrunchy face*

          • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

            Top work, I heard his larconic scream from here, as he was crushed under the heavy, heavy weight of the irony!

          • Nim says:

            Maybe we should register a mining company? We seem to have struck a particular rich vein of iron here.

        • chackosan says:

          That’s fair, but it seems curious that you’d browse the comments of the same article you skipped. Or am I missing something?

          • FurryLippedSquid says:

            An opportunity to moan?

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            I lol’d

          • AngoraFish says:

            I skip straight to the comments on most articles. From other similar threads I’m confident that I’m not the only one. I find comments usually offer a pithy summary of the important points without having to read the filler. Particularly so with said author, as noted above.

        • bill says:

          Respectfully, if you want cold hard gaming news then RPS is probably not the place to come. It’s ok, but there are a kazillion other places that do that – and probably better.
          RPS is the place to come for weird articles about adventures with hats (in a game), and rants about girls boobs (in games) and entertainingly personal reviews (of games) and puns (not really related to games at all).

          • AngoraFish says:

            I like the level of indie coverage and the general tone and the quality of some of the comment threads. As above, I have no objection to others getting whatever they want out of the site. My above post was in response to the OP and should be read in that context.

    • jokigenki says:

      It’s not a picture of Cara, it’s a picture of some soup. The alt tag even says DRAMATIC RECONSTRUCTION OF RHIANNA’S VIEW. #SOUPGATE.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        Indeed, get that damn meatbag out of the way. She’s interfering with our view of the toxic soup!

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I’d like to think that a social contract exists where female gamers don’t have to wear a digital burka because some men are dicks.

      (Aww, my Nexus 7 wanted to write “ducks”. I feel bad now.)

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        They can’t even tell her to get back in the kitchen :-/

      • Geen says:

        My voice is a bit femine so I get to have that great moment when I inform the angsty 13 year olds that they’re hitting on a man.

        • Premium User Badge

          Gap Gen says:

          That is amazing. But yes, hitting on people in random public servers is probably a bit futile.

    • aepervius says:

      Weird I was more interrested to know if it was an iron man doll in the background to the right and a lego game.

      • yezzer says:

        It is an iron man figurine thing, and also a lego iron man in the background. They’re mine, and now famous for #peasoupgate.

    • Winged Nazgul says:

      Unfortunately, she needed to be in the shot so we would know without a shadow of a doubt that this was indeed hers and not any random giant tub of pea soup. Sad, but these are the times we live in.

      • Premium User Badge

        particlese says:

        Still, one can’t be sure. For instance, I see no bean bag in that picture. Someone with better skills than I should recrop to the reflection on “Cara’s” glasses, correct for distortion, and enhance/unscatter (depending on surface finish) the reflection from the computer screen in search of The Truth.

    • Jarl Hamburger says:

      Though it’s not really her fault that some gamers are misogynist shitbags who feel entitled to make a comment on her appearance.

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        I thought she was quite easy on the eye.

        However blaming a cat purring for the audible malodourus emission caused by the aforementioned Pea Soup is poor journalism

      • Nim says:

        Fear not as the RPS clientele shall endevour to knock such twats off the front page with puns, references to tea, cookies, biscouts and probably some Bovril too if we are fortunate.

    • codename_bloodfist says:

      I don’t know about this. Why doesn’t an article written by one of the guys give any clear indications that it was written by a guy, whereas this article starts with the words “I am a failure of a woman” in the very first sentence and ends with her picture? I’m not saying it’s a bad article, but can’t female gaming journalists just act with a degree of professionalism like all other journalists and write about the actual topic, even if it is an editorial? The only paper I can think of where this sort of thing would roll would be The Sun and we already have Kotaku to cover that gamer demographic.

      On a less serious note, also this: http://i.imgur.com/VMbHTj2.jpg

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        RedViv says:

        Did you read the rest of the article? It’s written by a LADY who talked to another LADY about re-defining an iconic LADY of gaming. Taking offence to someone mentioning their gender in this? Silly.

        • codename_bloodfist says:

          Which is essentially the same thing as having Asian looking news anchors for all coverage related to Asia and a Middle Eastern looking anchor for the news from Iraq. Nobody is taking offence here. It’s just very silly.

          • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

            Oh dear! Oh deary deary dear!!

          • Premium User Badge

            RedViv says:

            Why then are you launching a broad attack on female journalists with weird generalised claims about their professionalism, caused by ONE writer starting ONE of her articles with a mention of her gender in a manner that is finely woven into the narrative of said piece, as well as being topical to the matter treated? Why, if you have not taken offence?

          • alw says:

            Unless you’re saying that the central point of all those Asian and Middle Eastern news stories is that they involve Asians, then no, it’s really not the same.

        • Geen says:

          Everyone shut up about misogyny and racism and whatever and read the damn articles.

      • aldo_14 says:

        Because the intro reads better and makes more sense than if it was switched to gender neutral.

    • Ci2e says:

      That was a good read, and if Lara is into Jaffa Cakes, and calling psycho’s twats then go for it. I enjoyed it when she called them all bastards, and I was actually expecting the Solari to have something to say back. Lara is British let her be! Just wish there were more tombs, that is what Tomb Raider has always been about and should be about. Now that the story is out of the way, there better be some good tombs in the sequel, with an epic story.

  2. Irishphnx says:

    9/10 pun, It’s ok- IGN

  3. Brun says:

    WTF are Jaffa Cakes?

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      This is probably going to blow your mind. They are a type of biscuit!

      • Brun says:

        Ah. So a cookie/graham cracker (in American-speak).

        EDIT: So I just looked at a picture of it on that Wikipedia article. That’s a cake, like a Little Debbie Cupcake or something.

        • Premium User Badge

          Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

          “Little Debbie”-Brand Cupcake-Like Product is made from discarded offcuts of Tempur-Pedic(R) mattress foam.

          Jaffa cakes are delicious.

          • Panda Powered says:

            As a Goa’uld, and single mother, I concur.
            Mmmm Jaffa beefcakes.

          • zenjestre says:

            why can’t you fucking limeys just eat pork rind puffs out of a bag, LIKE REAL WHITE PEOPLE DO?

            this jaffa cake business is a bunch of hoohah. back in my day, lara ate beans on toast. that was her favorite food. and while that sounds utterly pointless without the addition of bacon and hot sauce, at least i understood what the term meant, and was able to recreate it in the kitchen. it was pretty damn good, mostly because i added BACON AND HOT SAUCE as should have been done right at the inception.

            forewarning: i am not at all positive that ‘limey’ is the correct pejorative to apply. you may take me to task if i have erred.

        • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

          No they are a cake(and as such don’t attract VAT like biscuits). A biscuit goes soft over time a cake goes hard. To prove to Her Majesty’s revenue service Jaffa Cakes were indeed cakes they baked a cake sized one(identical ingredients) and when left out it did indeed go hard and so escaped having VAT levied on it!

      • Premium User Badge

        Surlywombat says:

        Lies and slander, there was a court case to prove they are a cake. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaffa_Cakes#Categorisation_as_cake_or_biscuit_for_VAT

        • Premium User Badge

          Vandelay says:

          I actually knew this, but it was more fun to confuse and scare our poor colonial members.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            You’re only making matters worse by referring to cookies as “biscuits”. In our neck of the woods, biscuits are what we put sausage gravy on.

            What the hell do you guys call biscuits, anyway?

          • Premium User Badge

            drewski says:

            “Weird American food.”

          • Eddy9000 says:

            COOKIES ARE NOT BISCUITS!!! ARRGH!!! FFS!!!

            Biscuits are made in a specific way, being twice-cooked or ‘bi-cuit’. They are differed to single baked cookies. Has nobody noticed that supermarkets in the uk sell both cookies AND biscuits? And Jaffa cakes are legally cakes, there was a court case because if they were biscuits they would be subject to VAT.

            Get it right!

          • themindstream says:

            The closest culinary relative to the American biscuit is actually the scone. They’re made in a similar way with slight differences and both are bread products that make excellent vehicles for butter, honey, jam, etc. However scones will often have fruit/nuts/spice in them which biscuits almost never do, and biscuits can also accept savory toppings like ham and cheese, sausage gravy (that is, white sauce with crumbled breakfast sausage in it), etc. which is unheard of for a scone, AFAIK (though I think there are some savory flavored scones.)

      • Solidstate89 says:

        That’s probably the worst way to describe what Jaffa Cake is to us Americans. Literally the only reason I know what one is, is because of all the Yogscast that I watch.

        However if you tell an American that a Jaffa Cake is in fact not a cake, but a biscuit (a cookie) they will look at you like you have 3 eyes.

        • Brun says:

          Yeah…I can see why they cut it. That reference would have flown WAY over the head of almost all Americans as we don’t have such things. They would have had to use something much more stereotypically British, and then it would seem too parodied.

        • Premium User Badge

          DrollRemark says:

          Yes, but you misunderstand. Explaining things to an American in a decidedly unhelpful way is just yet another layer to what makes us British.

          • Skabooga says:

            As I recall, that sort of backfired on you when you were explaining your system of taxation to the colonial Americans.

          • Dr. Shenanigans says:

            ^ Zing

          • Tams80 says:

            Well you hardly helped yourselves when you threw our TEA into the sea!

          • Solidstate89 says:

            That tea was shipped to us, but we’re a nation of coffee drinkers. We took that as a personal insult.

      • Canisa says:

        Nuh-uh. They are definitely cakes. They were classed as such for tax purposes.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Humanities greatest achievement.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Imagine, if you will, a US quarter-sized “splat” of orange-themed (not flavoured) jello-like substance, except it is thicker in consistency, more concentrated in fake-orangey-ness, and with more sugar. Place it upon an Oreo-sized spongey, slightly sugary, flat-topped ellipsoid of slightly dry cake. Coat the top of the entire assembly with nanometer-thick chocolate.

      Do not be fooled by the name “Jaffa Cake” or the fact that they are roughly 95% cake by volume. They are actually biscuits (cookies, as you might understand the term), because reasons.

      Now take how terrible that sounds and throw your preconceived notions away, because they’re awesome.

      I happen to know* that Publix sells a product called “Pim’s Orange” which is like a Jaffa Cake but is decidedly more upmarket, and so misses some of the cheap-and-cheerful charm by including more orangey stuff and thicker and higher quality chocolate.

      *: Do not wonder how I know, it would ruin some carefully arranged preconceptions I find entertaining.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lamb Chop says:

        oh, pims are great. We have those in the US, at least in the posh cookie market. Fun fact: A canadian holds the record for most Jaffa cakes eaten in a minute. For your viewing pleasure:

        http://challengers.guinnessworldrecords.com/challenges/46-most-jaffa-cakes-eaten-in-one-minute

      • Ross Angus says:

        Yes, yes. But if Jaffa Cake was an insult, to what would it be referring? Someone with a soggy bottom? A secret ginger?

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          According to the definition of ‘cake’ set out by MacVities that includes the observation that cakes ‘get harder the longer you leave them’, I would guess that the insult should be best applied to sufferers of priapism. Given this, It could also be an alternative to calling someone an unending prick

        • Phantoon says:

          A crafty butcher.

      • The Random One says:

        “orange-themed (not flavoured)”

        I love you more and more every day, Lord Custard

        • Premium User Badge

          Bluerps says:

          He is kind of the best of all commenters, isn’t he?

          … even though I now think that he has a terrible, dark secret.

      • Premium User Badge

        Jackablade says:

        If I may ask, Lord Custard, as you seem particularly knowledgeable about such things, is the Jaffa cake named after the Jaffa lolly, or vice versa, or is the term a generic one covering all foodstuffs combining the flavours of dark chocolate and orange?

      • Premium User Badge

        Lacero says:

        Is this preconception that you’re british?

        It would be unusual for someone in the UK to take the title “Lord” online. Either you respect the institution too much to fabricate, or you disrespect it to much to emulate.

    • Ansob says:

      And this, dear readers, is why Britain will forever remain the more civilised nation.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        You lot use too many “u’s” and not enough “z’s”.

        • Premium User Badge

          DrollRemark says:

          Zs are ten points! They’re not to be wasted.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Britain will remain the more civilised nation because of its lovingly created and long-gestated repression of emotion and unbounded shame and self-humiliation. Exhibit one: The American “whooping” in celebration of some positive event. Seen as an expression of pride and joy in victory in the US, winced at and sympathetically humiliated by in the UK. Over here, we prefer subtle clapping and perhaps turning to our trusted partner in denial of feelings (our mothers) and saying “oh yes, splendid”, doing a polite, nervous laugh and then looking mildly uncomfortable because we feel we should be making conversation but now instead have an Awkward Silence.

            Endless, unbridled shame is what built this country. I’ll be damned if anyone is going to liberate us from it.

          • Premium User Badge

            DrollRemark says:

            *dabs single tear from eye*

          • Hillbert says:

            Good lord, pull yourself together!

          • Ansob says:

            No, it’s Jaffa Cakes.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            And thus, the Faction Wars of 2013 began. We do not know if it was The Jaffa Cakers or the Humiliationists who struck first. However, we do know that it was us … who scorched the biscuit batter.

    • LazyAssMF says:

      Mmmmmmmmm… Jaffa Cakes….:P

    • Premium User Badge

      Durkonkell says:

      I am quite incapable of even thinking about Jaffa Cakes without pronouncing them like Stargate’s Jaffa. As in “Jaffa! Kree!”

      Except it’s JAFFA! CAKE! instead.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      In France they have cherry Jaffa cakes. Best country.

      • Premium User Badge

        Durkonkell says:

        I know those things! They have various flavours. I usually end up bringing a packet of raspberry ones back with me when I’m over there.

        One day I will invade and conquer France*, and liberate their supplies of differently-flavoured Jaffa Cake analogues for the benefit of the whole world. They’ll not be allowed to hoard them forever.

        *Because that plan has worked out so well for Britons in the past.

      • LazyAssMF says:

        Mmmmmm… Cherry Jaffa! Cakes!

          • Premium User Badge

            DrollRemark says:

            You, sir, have made my day.

          • modomahu says:

            I see that Jaffa Cake is dressed as a zebra. Was the picture taken in Lyon?

          • Premium User Badge

            Gap Gen says:

            Not my picture, but are you saying that those don’t exist outside of Lyon? Hmm, might have to rethink moving to Paris.

          • modomahu says:

            Zebra…Lyon…:'(

          • Premium User Badge

            Gap Gen says:

            Ah, puns. Right. Slow day. But yeah, I was confused because I am in Lyon.

          • modomahu says:

            Hah, that’s actually pretty cool; what were the odds that my pun would be sabotaged by your living in Lyon?

            Let’s see.

            Wikipedia gives me an upper figure of 2,118,132 people for Lyon and environs (I imagine people can consider themselves lyonnaise without having to live in the city proper), and 65,350,000 (oddly round number, I wonder who got approximated out) for the whole of France, which would make the rough odds about 1/30. Surprisingly high. Of course, the picture might have been taken in some other French-speaking country, which would increase the population pool by about five-fold (and take the odds up to 1/150, still not that bad), but since Jaffa Cakes are essentially British, I didn’t feel too bad about leaving out Vanuatu, Madagascar and the DRC – although you might be able to make a good case for Quebec, Switzerland and Monaco.

          • Droopy The Dog says:

            modomahu, are you by any chance Randall Munroe or just possessed by his spirit?

          • Premium User Badge

            Gap Gen says:

            I wonder if the statistics are skewed by the fact that I speak/am English (most French people don’t). I’m guessing most anglophones congregate in cities like Paris, Lyon, Marseilles, etc, rather than being distributed the same way as francophones in France.

    • Gassalasca says:

      Jaffa cakes are huge here in Serbia.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Lucky so and so’s. They are only an inch and a half across over here.
        Parp parp.

      • LazyAssMF says:

        They’re big in Slovenija too, bro.;) Nice too see some neighbours here.:)

    • Lemming says:

      Obligatory:

      • Premium User Badge

        Lambchops says:

        Glad somebody is on the ball!

        • Premium User Badge

          Henke says:

          Yeah really. I was about to freak out and just type “Spaced reference” in all caps but this is much better.

        • DiamondDog says:

          Come on, my post is like right there. I even timestamped it for the exact bit in the video!

          All that effort…

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      In Germany, they are called “Soft Cakes”, and nobody wonders if they are a cake or a biscuit because the distinction isn’t considered important.

  4. Unrein says:

    If Cara was a wizard in D&D I think her familiar would be a can of pea soup.

    • Brun says:

      It would be interesting to see an entire D&D party made up of RPS writers.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        They’d all fall into a spike pit on their first roll. The same pit in fact.

        • Brun says:

          Yeah, Kieron Gillen would obviously be the DM, and I can see his dungeons being pretty brutal.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        The party is doomed, I hear their healer is terrible.

        • Premium User Badge

          Durkonkell says:

          Oh, bravo. Have ten RPS In-Joke Reference Points!

          (It would later turn out that John wasn’t even a cleric, he’s just the only one who remembered to bring bandages. Everyone else decided he was the party healer by default and promptly died when it turned out that bandages don’t help so much with severed limbs).

        • Obc says:

          i’ve been reading rps for years and have read of the terrible healer a million times in articles and comments, but god, i cant tell where the healer jokes originated from? anyone care to elaborate?

      • mandrill says:

        I would listen to a podcast of such antics.

  5. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    Haha, nice. I enjoyed reading that.

    Also, RP seems to be a smart one, shall need to play this game at some point.

  6. Ravenholme says:

    Great interview Cara, and I never realised that Rihanna wrote the story for the new Tomb Raider – I hear it’s a bit un-game-y, but that does put it up on my radar a bit (I’ve enjoyed her stuff since reading PC Zone as a young’un, and Mirror’s Edge was awesome)

    Should’ve asked her if she’s writing ME2, because ME1 was great (And had a good female protagonist in my opinion – I think a lot of people tend to forget about Faith when discussing female portrayal in videogames, as I think Faith was one of the first really strong and independent characters who doesn’t get victimised etc – at least within the sphere of gaming that I’ve been exposed to, I should perhaps add before people descend to tell me how wrong I am)

    Also, Tesco’s Pea and Ham soup? Pfft, please, Carrot and Coriander 4 lyfe.

    • Dominic White says:

      ” I hear it’s a bit un-game-y”

      Ever play any of the Uncharted games? Imagine that, but with a lot more freedom. There’s a lot of setpieces that drive you forward, but you can freely explore afterwards, and are strongly rewarded for it. It’s kinda like Batman: Arkham Asylum (not City, though) in that way.

    • Strabo says:

      ME 2 was sadly a lot worse with some female characters – Tali, Liara (without Lair of the Shadow Broker), Miranda (in parts), EDI. They made good with others like Samara, Jack, Kasumi, but overall it was a bit of a mixed affair with their portrayal of women.

      • wererogue says:

        “You got your Mass Effect in my thread about Mirror’s Edge!”
        “No, you got your…”

  7. DiamondDog says:

    Great read, had pretty much everything. Thanks, Soup Lady!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZnsOZsA7_4#t=1m39s

  8. Premium User Badge

    HermitUK says:

    With regards to the combat and violence, more chances to use Lara’s climbing skills to bypass enemies would have been nice.

  9. LazyAssMF says:

    Heeeeej!:( I’m 27 and I still sleep in my room at my parent’s house so you’re in a better place than me. I’m just eating better, I guess, but… …whatever. Food is overrated anyway.:) And you’re really, really cute.:) That’s a BIIIG plus.:D

    • Metalfish says:

      Oh. Guys, I found THAT comment. Do I win a prize?

      • Premium User Badge

        maninahat says:

        It was going to happen sooner or later, unfortunately.

      • LazyAssMF says:

        Wait, I win?O_o FU, fish-man, I win!
        Yeah, baby! I’m on a roll today! You better watch out, world!

        • Droopy The Dog says:

          You win indeed, have a hair ruffle you precocious little scamp. Don’t mind the grumpy old folks, they’re just tired out, watching you young’uns running around chasing your tails is hard work and this happens a lot you see?

          Maybe burn some energy, make a snowman or something?

          /Mr. Rogers

  10. Niko says:

    Is this really soup? Cause it looks like a can of mutagen to me, but maybe I’m just not really familiar with canned soup.

    • fallingmagpie says:

      From the silver and black label, I believe it’s Tesco Finest soup, which comes in a plastic tub. If so, Cara may be dramatically exaggerating the level of squalor in which she lives, possibly so as to appear ‘down’ with ‘the kids’.

      • Droopy The Dog says:

        Don’t let the price fool you, all supermarket soup still tastes like squalor.

  11. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    Cara Accidentally Embroiled In Brouhaha Ellison, Soup Journalist Extraordinaire

  12. tossrStu says:

    PLEASE STOP WITH THE 90S/00S POP REFERENCES CARA. SO MANY EARWORMS.

    (although if by some miracle a new Rollercoaster Tycoon is announced while you’re here please find some way to work in a reference to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMnCaA9pVW0 NO RONAN KEATING PLEASE THANK YOU)

  13. Premium User Badge

    DrollRemark says:

    Where do I pre-order Tomb Raider: Twats and Yorkshire Gold?

  14. inertia says:

    STARING EYES!

  15. Dominic White says:

    The bit where Lara starts bellowing in defiance of the cultist army is one of my favorite moments, too, but I’ve seen a lot of people write it off as the weakest point in the story, and even say that it completely ruins Lara’s character.

    There seems to be this weird idea going around that for the story to be convincing, Lara must either devolve into a Hotline Miami-esque stone-faced psychopath, or be reduced to a sobbing, PTSD-wracked shell of a human being.

    Why does nobody think that John McClane or Max Payne should be broken people? What’s wrong with having a female action hero?

    • Premium User Badge

      Fiyenyaa says:

      I liked that bit too; it’s a fun bit of “now I have the upper hands, you giant bunch of arses!”
      I feel like that’s a pretty natural response to being in a position to do damage to people who’ve done a load of damage to you & yours recently.

    • honuk says:

      Max Payne is broken. John McClain doesn’t have to be broken because his movies don’t start with him crawling around being impaled and pseudo-raped by insane cannibals for the first two hours. And this game starts with that specifically because Lara is a woman, because for all the Girl Power affectations the writer will externally appeal to, the game itself plays out according to the immutable rule of female heroes in pop culture: they must suffer. And the must suffer because they are perceived as weak, and because suffering “makes them human”–which is code for “makes me want to have sex with them.”

      Anyone can write a story about a “strong female hero” who gets angry and shoots guns at the bad guys. To call that progressive or feminist is so insulting I don’t even know where to start. But to write a story about a female that doesn’t 100% play on the unconscious social tropes and machinations that its PR will pretend it rails against? Sorry, that takes actual skill.

      • Premium User Badge

        maninahat says:

        Then again, I had read somewhere else that you could not make a male Lara Croft in this way. Modern audiences just wouldn’t be able to accept a broken, struggling and perpetually terrified male lead without complaining about him being “gay” and “whiny”. You can make a male character vulnerable, but you can’t ever let them display emotions or attitudes beyond stoic resolve.

        That males aren’t allowed to show a full range of emotions is one of the few areas in entertainment, and real life, where women have it slightly better: an audience can accept that woman cry, show fear, and even have weaknesses. Unfortunately, that comes from the expectation that this is all women are capable of. Being able to show a full range of emotions, from shivering wreck to hollering bad ass is a huge benefit to writers.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          Luke Skywalker was gay and whiney but he turned out to be a pretty huge character

          • Premium User Badge

            maninahat says:

            I was more talking about guys who as emotionally vulnerable as they are physically, rather than people who whine about going to Toshi to pick up some power converters. Then again, Luke still proves my point: not only does everyone hate him, he has to be offset by Han Solo, the roguish, bad ass, dashing lancer anti-hero. Games don’t tend to have lancers.

      • Strabo says:

        @honuk: What you just wrote makes me thing you haven’t actually played the game.

    • Premium User Badge

      DrollRemark says:

      I completely agree with the point you’re trying to make, but, err, Max Payne is a pretty broken guy. That’s kind of his thing.

      EDIT: Beaten to it.

      • Dominic White says:

        He’s plenty angsty in Max Payne 3, but he’s always been portrayed as a pretty archetypal self-destructive film noir cliche. Dude was a bit of a mess from the start, but shooting guys doesn’t seem to factor too much into it.

        I’ve seriously seen people complaining that Lara doesn’t break down crying enough, and she doesn’t loudly mourn every psychotic murderous Bad Dude(tm) that she has to shoot.

        • Premium User Badge

          drewski says:

          Isn’t the whole genre of film noir basically broken dude tries for redemption through femme fatale and fails?

          Max Payne is utterly broken in all three games, I would argue.

          • JackShandy says:

            Mmm, no, usually they’re looking for The Truth, if anything. Femme Fatale’s cloud the truth, and must be avoided at all costs. In the end, of course, the truth turns out to be meaningless or horrible.

          • Premium User Badge

            drewski says:

            I guess it depends on the films you look at and how you interpret them.

    • Nova says:

      There seems to be this weird idea going around that for the story to be convincing, Lara must either devolve into a Hotline Miami-esque stone-faced psychopath, or be reduced to a sobbing, PTSD-wracked shell of a human being.
      Instead she just goes on and kills a few hundred more enemies (and cleaves a few skulls) without batting an eyelid, well because… because she just has to.
      That said, the “defiant bellowing” doesn’t matter, because the last bit of credibility went out long before that point.

      • bill says:

        As do all action heroes in almost all games and movies.

        • Nova says:

          Exactly. But in the reboot Lara is supposed to be a 21 year old archeology student who never harmed someone before.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Quite. It’s not like we didn’t give Gordon Freeman stick for being a theoretical physicist headshotting mass murderer either, and that’s freaking golden team Valve at the wheel.

          • Nova says:

            I think we can agree that Half-Life and Tomb Raider have a slightly different approach to storytelling. Gordon is just a vessel for the player, the new Lara is a movie character.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Sure. And yet even with reduced focus on him as a character, even Gordon still doesn’t get away with it.

            I’m agreeing.

          • Strabo says:

            Then compare her with Indiana Jones, John McClane, Jason Bourne, James Bond and similar movie action heroes, not to even start with movie Superheroes (which Lara – and most game protagonists are in the end). Sure, they are a few years more advanced, but hardly anyone ever questions their body count.

          • Nova says:

            @Lions Phil
            Oops, okay.

            @Strabo
            But they specifically focused on Lara’s “development” and her first kill, that she is human, etc.
            Due to the nature of games the body count of your examples isn’t as high as Lara’s.

    • Strabo says:

      It was definitely one of my favourite moments in the game: After being harassed and hunted through half the island, fleeing through a burning palace, being separated from Sam again you get that one scene where they tremble in fear “Oh shit, she has a grenade launcher. Where did she get a grenade launcher from?”, and she shouts out all her pent up anger and annoyance with them trying to kill her, throws the sentence defiantly into their face. Lara’s voice actor sells it perfectly. Loved the whole sequence. For me it was basically the equivalent to John McClanes “Now I have a machine gun. Ho, Ho, Ho”.

      • Nova says:

        Interesting. Apart from the environment, it looked to me that Lara was the one who “harassed” the most.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Durkonkell says:

    This was a lovely interview and article, thank you!

    I’ve always thought that what RPS needs is someone we can rely on to ensure that tea remains at the forefront of games writers and designers’ thinking. You’ll have to excuse me, I have to write a long angry letter to Crystal Dynamics about their vendetta against Jaffa Cakes.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    This is the New Games Journalism of games journalism.

  18. Totally heterosexual says:

    Ok this is pretty fucked up but hear me out.

    Ok, look at that black and white picture, to be exact, at the upper “this way” line. Then scroll down just a little with middle mouse button.

    It stays there. It’s pretty crazy.

    (so is the new tomb raider good?)

    • Premium User Badge

      maninahat says:

      What are you talking about? Anyone else know what he’s talking about?

      • Mashakosha says:

        I know what he’s saying. it’s that if you put the Mazogs image at the very top of your browsr page then scroll down with your mouse wheel, the words all appear to stay in the same place relative to the rest of the screen.
        If that makes sense.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Yeah, I see it. If you have a mouse wheel set for “notched” scrolling and it’s set to scroll 3 lines per notch (Windows default?), then scrolling the page with the mouse wheel makes the text look like it isn’t moving while the rest of the page scrolls.

        Probably helps if you’re a little toasted…

  19. kael13 says:

    Cara, I was starting to feel you were RPS’ very own MPDG, however this has now been proven false. You have a flaw! Cat allergies. I’m so sorry.

    … Carry on.

    Certainly looking forward to whatever Rhianna writes next.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      You know what else avoids cats? The creepers in Minecraft. Just sayin’.

    • The Random One says:

      I am also looking forward to what Rihanna writes next, but that’s just because that’s Bioshock Infinite apparently and I was looking forward to that anyway.

  20. Droopy The Dog says:

    Femasculated, terfeminated, gyneutralized. Basically, she got it right in the lady stones ma’am.

  21. Alexspeed says:

    9.5/10 Would read again =)

  22. Koozer says:

    I love how the entire first page of comments is devoted to a) telling people not to be silly and b) Jaffa Cakes.

  23. Drake Sigar says:

    I’m going to start a petition and demand they bring in Jaffa Cakes for the next game.

    • Chris D says:

      I’d sign it.

    • Niko says:

      Not entirely related, but there’s a Jaffa Cake-themed (not flavoured) level in Sanctum.

      • LionsPhil says:

        It’s awful, though, since some idiots from some podcast making very loud and stupid commentary throughout.

        This does not play well with voice chat.

        No, they didn’t do anything as sensible as to put them on the music audio channel so you can turn them down/off.

  24. Anaraavi says:

    I am sooooo surprised that Eldron’s opening Pun went un-noticed >..<

    hehe, I enjoyed the write-up. Nice job. Nice to see some of the interactions, questions and answers from a female gamer with a female gamester. As this is the only gaming review site I visit and have visited for quite a number of years now, it is nice to see things from a feminine angle now and again.

    Regards
    Anaraavi

  25. Anaraavi says:

    mmmm lost half my post somehow, ah well, Vodka and coke does that I guess.

    Anyhow I also commented that I thought it was

    Super-Cara-Frag-you-lipstick-XP-Alley-Doscious. :p

    I’ll get my coat.

  26. Eight Rooks says:

    I’m sure Pratchett: The New Generation is a great person – she comes across like one here, at least a little – but I still don’t get the adulation for her as a writer. I’m aware I’m very much in the minority in that I hated Mirror’s Edge with a passion anyway (seems a minority view from most of the websites I read, at least), but the dreadful, dreadful script was a significant part of it. Tomb Raider was a little better, but hardly ever lifted above mediocrity for me. Let’s see…

    No character development whatsoever beyond “Oh, shit, killing people’s not much fun”, “I’ll show dad, see if I don’t” and “Leave my friends alone”. All characters acting completely oblivious to blatantly obvious plot twists to an insulting degree. Almost a complete lack of depth or nuance to the bad guys to the point they’re little more than cartoons. Blood and guts coming across as comically excessive (the gibs in particular reminded me of the ridiculous effects when you overkilled a target in DA2, and they turned into a splash of ketchup and a dismantled shop mannequin).

    I wouldn’t class the gore as torture porn, or outright creepy/salacious/anything else but the QTE deaths were far, far too over the top (STARE INTO HER EYES AS SHE GETS CRUSHED BY A GIANT ROCK. STARE, DAMN YOU) and what emotional reactions we did see weren’t up to much. I just… I simply don’t get what there is for people of either gender to latch on to, to seriously identify with, other than “Look! She’s a lady!

    Even Uncharted 3’s terrible story at least tried much harder than this to show Nathan Drake reacting to its hamfisted psychobabble plot beats and there was nothing, nothing in Tomb Raider 2013 to match the love triangle in Uncharted 2, and the way it balanced macho popcorn movie backslapping with genuine thoughtfulness, compassion, and characters who had to come to terms with their friends’ flaws as well as their good points. (Yes, I do agree that franchise largely made a complete hash of acknowledging the hero’s a mass murderer, but eh, I takes the rough with the smooth, me.)

    Tomb Raider was… it was okay. It was all right. A serviceable third-person shooter with a couple of nice set pieces, some reasonably entertaining exploration and a few desultory puzzles barely worthy of being called any such thing. Story-wise I saw absolutely nothing to write home about. Nothing. Well… I got maybe one good line out of it, the “No, you know about choices, not sacrifices”, and then that got largely thrown out of the window by yet more ludicrous, poorly thought-out contrivances (what, you-know-who couldn’t just have ducked?).

    It made a better attempt at showing the darker side of survival than most games do, but it’s hardly the best anyone’s ever done by a long shot (Christ, Spec Ops: The Line flattens it). And aside from the actual words, the scene-setting and world-building just wasn’t that great – a couple of the lore documents weren’t too bad but the island never once felt like an actual fully-realised world, for starters (how in the hell could anyone believe anyone actually lived, or had once lived, in the shanty-town area?).

    So, yeah. I’m sure Ms. Pratchett’s lovely, and I admire her for making such a name for herself as a completely different creator from her father. But her work does nothing for me, and all the articles like this are yet to persuade me I’m missing out on anything. I had no idea she was writing for Bioshock Infinite, and if true that’s significantly lowered my expectations (I’ve already pre-ordered it). Oh, well, 2 was all the followup I needed anyway, for the storytelling as much as anything else. (You heard me.)

    • nindustrial says:

      While I actually loved Mirror’s Edge, I’ll give you that, honestly, I had no idea that game even *had* a writer.

      • mouton says:

        Yup, the writing in Mirror’s Edge was very poor. To me, along with the cutscenes, it is the worst element of the game.

        On the other hand, the Mirror’s Edge comic book mini written by Rhianna wasn’t bad at all.

    • KenTWOu says:

      @Eight Rooks
      Did you read this article before commenting it?

      Cause, you know, it has these words: The features of the game were making decisions for the narrative team, decisions that they were reacting to. This friction is felt throughout the game – where the action thrusts itself in, the narrative sometimes noticeably recedes.

      And it even has more words explaining that game writers don’t have enough control during game development. This isn’t a Hollywood case where sometimes script writers control almost everything, especially if they are directors too. By the way, Mirror’s Edge development was a mess.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        Yeah, it’s sometimes fairly obvious when studios hire a big-name writer but have already made most of the narrative decisions. What was that game about punching aliens where they hired Orson Scott Card? Biggest waste of time (unless it was him that wrote the giant mess of a story that game had). Advent Rising. That’s it.

        • iucounu says:

          I won’t buy anything OSC is involved with, seeing as how he’s a bigoted asshole. His books are no great shakes either, so I can entirely believe that any crappy writing in the game in question (Shadow Complex?) was down to him.

          • Droopy The Dog says:

            Oh, he must do a lot more game writing than I realised. As well as those two, he’s involved in firefall too.

          • HamsterExAstris says:

            Shadow Complex used the setting from OSC’s novel Empire, but the actual game was written by Peter David.

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        I hear the developers were as surprised by the Flash-animated cutscenes as players were. By the way, didn’t the writing for Mirror’s Edge sort of get added within a very limited framework at a late stage in development… like here’s the whole level progression, get us some story in there?

    • Bhazor says:

      Agree with every word.

      The praise the writing is getting baffles me.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        The praise is probably for the pedigree, not the writing

  27. wodin says:

    Well I’m going to be very un PC and say… Cara is fit.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      You have addressed the elephant in the room and directly expressed emotions. You must now be ostracized unless your powers of denial and repression improve.

      Please stick to thinly veiled awkward flirting or posts getting oddly angry over minor points of the authors character. Your sexual attraction must be obfuscated by pretending you meant something else or preferably hidden under a layer of confused frustration-driven scorn.

      Then, have a good wank, and try to ignore the odd sense of shame and anger that creeps in at the ‘end’

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        The elephant in the room tips his cap in acknowledgement, but quietly disapproves.

    • aldo_14 says:

      Can you be very un-PC on RPS? Is it allowed?

    • bill says:

      Good job. It is clearly something that must be stated on all articles by a woman writer. We almost forgot.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Well, unless she isn’t fit

        • Premium User Badge

          maninahat says:

          Which would necessitate someone to loudly complain about her appearance, and her not being attractive enough to write about games.

    • DXN says:

      Thanks for updating us, man. Don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t know your opinion on this matter. Probably start reading and writing about videogames or some crazy shit like that.

  28. nindustrial says:

    Just wanted to jump in and say that, while I missed that tweet, I totally agree that the “That’s right you bastards, run, I’m coming for you all” bit likewise made my eyes and emotions well up a bit. Also a man here. One of the best moments of the game.

  29. AndreTheTinny_withagiantdick says:

    GIRLS TALK!YAWN

  30. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    That doesn’t seem like much Rhianna content for a two hour interview.

    It’s good, but I just would like some more from RP.

  31. guygodbois00 says:

    Head Over Heels on C64, ha! Original, funny, hard. Those WERE the days. Also, great commenting here at RPS about the Jaffa cakes – they are and always will be quite excellent. Even when homemade.

  32. typographie says:

    I’m an American and I’ve never heard of a “jaffa cake” in my life, but for the good of the story Lara should be as authentic (and therefore as British) as possible! I will happily look stuff up if I need to know!

  33. mr.black says:

    Really nice read, Cara, can you stay and do your work for RPS forever, please?!
    Also not just Serbia, Jaffa Cakes were an important part of many people’s youth all over ex Yugoslavia also.

  34. Sleepymatt says:

    Great article Cara – I love your style, more please! And, having only just realised you are a fellow Scot (how have I missed this fact? I now need to go back and re-read Cara Vs Crysis in accent!), I fully support your campaign for the improvement of future game dialogue. Ya wee beezer!

  35. ZHsquad says:

    Although the soup may have tarnished your image just a smudge, at least your talked about proper brew. All sins are forgiven.

  36. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    Later today this article will be something I read.
    For now, though, I wish it had bold question. I mean, not edgy, brave question, but bold questions.

  37. caddyB says:

    Needs less lipstick.

    The soup, I mean.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      Wait… that means…. I see through your disguise!! When are we getting a new Beyond Good & Evil then?

  38. Laurentius says:

    I would like to know why writing is the weakest part of new Tomb Raider. Seriously like JW mentioned in his WIT every part of the plot, every twist is telegraphed from miles away, you know who will die and when, even when characters stupidly act out with “no, it’s impossible”, when game is ostentiosly pointing you out what will be your final boss battle and alike.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      My theory is that you’ll never get good writing by hiring someone on a contract and giving them a synopsis to go off of. They’re job is basically to edit and reword and flesh out a bad story. Polish a turd, if you will.

  39. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Lovely interview!

  40. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    Man, if they thought Americans would be offended by Jaffa Cakes just wait until you find out how we react to the word “Twat.”

  41. Tams80 says:

    Semi-skinned milk with Yorkshire Gold?! No, no, NO! If you even use milk at all, you only ever use whole milk!

    On another note, some Yorkshire Gold packs come with a tin tea caddy. Rather useful.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Right, otherwise you’re just adding more water to the tea.
      On that note, why milk at all? just use cream

      • Premium User Badge

        Jackablade says:

        Cream in tea? I’m suspicious. This is some kind of trap to draw out the poseurs from the real dyed in the wool Brits, isn’t it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      Who puts milk in tea?

      [actually I know the answer to that question, but you’ll just have to imagine the puzzlement in my voice at the thought of anyone ruining perfectly good tea by putting milk or sugar in it]

      • BooleanBob says:

        • Premium User Badge

          Ninja Dodo says:

          Points for YouTube funny, but I think you mean EVERYONE [in the UK]. Also I am puzzled that most Brits seem to make tea with tea-bags when leaf tea is clearly where it’s at. Seriously I had to look all over London to find a shop that had some decent (not powder in bags) tea, last I was there.

  42. tims says:

    That was a really great interview.

    “That’s right you bastards, run, I’m coming for you all” brought tears to my eyes. I was so happy. It was a seminal moment that I’d been hungering for for years. I just want to put a big massive stamp on it that says YES.

    I was really astounded by how good this game is and it’s not the satisfying mechanics that I remember most, it’s those moments where Lara is real.

    Everything that Lara is and means is reframed for the first time explicitly from *her* perspective, to me this is a defining moment of gaming. It’s not just about the character, it’s about the semantics of Lara to gaming.
    Every tomb raider game to date I’ve identified with Lara via a suspension of disbelief, in order to bypass the objectification. This is the only one where I wasn’t just playing her, I really was her.

    I’ve always been wary of Tomb Raider games, what will we have to excuse to enjoy it?
    I’m so pleased and surprised to be able to say that Tomb Raider is a truly great game.
    Rhianna Pratchett deserves a lot of credit.

    ps. the multiplayer is pointless, dumb and not fun. irrelevant.

  43. LionsPhil says:

    That palace seemed pretty far away but I eventually set it on fire

    That’s the spirit.

  44. buzzmong says:

    That’s a rather good article, although I wish the discussion about Lara turning into a killing machine could have been expanded a bit in terms of how the compromise between story and mechanics was reached, as that type of thing makes for nice sort-of behind the scenes look at the design/development process.

    As an aside, thanks to Cara’s subtle messaging and despite just finishing one, I now want another cuppa.

  45. Premium User Badge

    Toupee says:

    I love these kinds of interview write-ups, good job!

  46. eclipse mattaru says:

    Girlfriend, I would declare my love for your writing if I hadn’t already declared it for GayGamer’s Super Suede’s writing. I would definitely cheat on Super Suede’s writing with yours, for what it’s worth.

    Also, you people and your teas really puzzle me. Down here tea is just this insipid, worthless beverage; I can only imagine what it tastes like over there, what with all those varieties and whatnot.

  47. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Pft! Pea soup is worthless without a good rookworst.

    Also: mustard soup > other soups.

  48. tuttelihevonvittu says:

    Your style of writing is very tedious. Please stop. Thanks.

  49. Premium User Badge

    Melum says:

    Love your writing style. Never forget that the whimpers of gynophobic man-children are a sign of success (bonus points for complaints about pop music, when Kieron wrote a series about how britpop is MAGIC). With that said, my eyes glazed over the tea discussion; as an American, I consider tea a delivery mechanism for milk and honey. And pea soup? Really?

  50. Yglorba says:

    I was shocked and horrified to scroll down and discover that Rock Paper Shotgun had unexpectedly subjected me to this disgusting, unwanted photograph of a cup of pea soup. Seriously, Rock Paper Shotgun? Pea soup? For years you’ve posted articles, and only now, when someone was writing an article near a cup of pea soup, did you feel the need to subject us to a photograph of that pea soup?

    I will never trust Rock Paper Shotgun again. Every time I read an article, some part of me will wonder if there was a pot or crock or perhaps a can of pea soup near by when it was being written, tainting it. How can I trust RPS to review games fairly when there’s so clearly a can of pea soup near someone on the staff? Now, instead of an unbiased perspective, articles are going to be written from a pea-soup-drinker perspective.

    Most people who play games don’t have cups of pea soup nearby, you know.

    It’s just… ugh, pea soup. I don’t even want to talk about it anymore.