News: Tomb Raider scribe Rhianna Pratchett has spoken about the rape controversy that stemmed from a trailer and then comments made by a Crystal Dynamics producer earlier in the year.
It was a trailer that conformed to all the imagery we’d previously seen of newfangled Lara. Lots of wheezing. Lots of screaming. Lots of discomfort. At the time, the term torture-porn was already being bandied about with gusto but a scene between Lara and an island miscreant had some concerned that Crystal Dynamic’s Tomb Raider reboot was about to wade out into truly dubious ground. While it was a scene loaded with implication, it wasn’t until comments were made by producer Ron Rosenberg that the controversy wagon set off at full throttle. (Then careened into a wall made from internet wrath.)
“It was very unfortunate things got said the way they did. I wasn’t happy about it,” Pratchett explained to Eurogamer. “It took away from what we were really doing with that scene.”
Under an NDA at the time, the Mirror’s Edge and Heavenly Sword writer was unable to come to the defence of her alternative Lara and laments the reaction of, among others, British tabloid The Sun, which ran the characteristically melodramatic headline: ’Lara Croft in Island Rape Hell’.
The scene in question though, was apparently negotiating a different moral morass altogether.
“The scene is very much about what it means to take a human life. It’s about Lara’s reactions, rather than the guy’s actions – which are absolutely what you see in the trailer, and never go further than that.”
“One of the problems with the trailer is that it cut out Lara’s reactions. When you see the scene in context, you see the light leave the guy’s eyes and it’s a big f***ing deal for Lara. She just can’t believe what she’s done. She’s not thinking, ‘Oh my God, I was almost raped.’ She’s thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’ve just taken a human life.’ It’s unfortunate that if you have a female protagonist and male antagonists, and they’re coming after her, people see that vibe.”
The industry’s had a tough time of late with regards to its portrayal of women. Hitman Absolution developer IO Interactive earned the wrath of the internet with its sexy-nuns-being-punched-in-the-nose fiasco while comments by Chivalry: Medieval Warfare boss Steve Piggott baffled when he explained that his team hadn’t included female fighters in Chivalry because he thought “adding female characters to a game like this would make it appeal less to females.”
BeefJack had a play of Lara’s latest adventure at this year’s Eurogamer Expo and followed that up with a chat with Crystal Dynamic’s Brian Horton. We’ve got plenty more in our Tomb Raider treasure trove for you to plunder, should you need a refresher course in all things Lara.