Oh, Lara Croft. In past Tomb Raider games she’s actually been a fairly admirable character. Lara was tough, smart and resourceful — of course she also looked like a sex-robot designed by a team of horny 14-year-olds, because, well, video games.
A lot of folks were quick to applaud when the latest Tomb Raider game promised a Lara Croft that looked like a real human being with breasts that were merely larger than average as opposed to volleyball-like, buuut then everyone saw how the game was actually going to play. Turns out tough, smart, resourceful Lara was being replaced with a Lara who spends the entire game moaning orgasmically as men batter her and cover her in filth. The game looks…problematic, to say the least. Then someone went and mentioned rape, and boom went the Internet.
In a short piece on Kotaku, Tomb Raider executive producer Ron Rosenberg is attributed as saying there will be an attempted rape in the game, although to be fair, there’s no actual direct quote from Rosenberg to that effect anywhere in the article. Did Rosenberg actually mention rape, or was the Kotaku interviewer just extrapolating/getting an editorial jab in? Not that it mattered to numerous Internet commenters and bloggers, who fired up their word processors and set their spittle blasters to high.
Take this gem from Jezebel, that kicks off by elevating “Some guy may or may not have said there’s an attempted rape in the new Tomb Raider” to “There’s gang rape in the new Tomb Raider!” and continues the hyperbolic frothing from there.
So, exactly how offended should you be by Tomb Raider? Well, the controversial scene in question can be seen in one of the game’s E3 trailers, so hit the jump to decide for yourself…
Well, yeah, there were definitely strong hints of something unsavory there, but it certainly wasn’t an attempted gang rape. Square Enix, the publisher behind the new Tomb Raider, claims what we see in the trailer above is as far as the game goes. According to Square Enix high-up Darrell Gallagher…
“One of the character defining moments for Lara in the game, which has incorrectly been referred to as an ‘attempted rape’ scene is the content we showed at this year’s E3 and which over a million people have now seen in our recent trailer entitled ‘Crossroads’. This is where Lara is forced to kill another human for the first time. In this particular section, while there is a threatening undertone in the sequence and surrounding drama, it never goes any further than the scenes that we have already shown publicly. Sexual assault of any kind is categorically not a theme that we cover in this game.”
Of course, if sexual assault ever was a theme in the game you better believe it’s being frantically cut out as we speak after this s–tstorm.
So yeah, I’d like to say this is all “much ado about nothing”, and it is in the sense that there won’t be any actual rape scenes in the upcoming Tomb Raider, but the whole game still strikes a really weird tone. Personally I found the constant barrage of moaning and whimpering from Lara more eyebrow raising than anything in the “rape” scene.
Crystal Dynamics, the developers of the game, tried to do something different and stumbled into dangerous territory. There’s a reason why most action movies and video games that star female characters tend to make their heroines super-competent badasses who can kill a dozen people without smudging their make-up. Spend too much time beating up on a pretty lady and your fun action adventure turns into something, well, very different.
Tomb Raider is a series about a badass chick with big boobs shooting dinosaurs in the face. Best not to overthink these things guys.
Something Tomb Raider has also sometimes been about — prime-era Angelina Jolie in bathing attire.