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.