New ‘Tomb Raider’ Faces Allegations of Sexual Assault in Game, Developers Release Statement

- 06-14-12Videogames Posted by Sarah Moran

Can’t a girl just catch a break? Lara Croft is a queen among video game protagonists, but she can’t seem to avoid scandal. For years some would applaud the Tomb Raider franchise for their feminist hero while others couldn’t look beyond her gigantic rack. In the new reboot/origin story titled Tomb Raider revealed at this year’s E3, Croft is less boobalicious, just as kick ass, and still haunted by controversy.

First, there’s the trailer, “Crossroads,” which was our first look at the new game. In it some scumbag approaches Croft, gets all skeevy, runs his hand from her hip and upwards, suggestively, and she proceeds to kick his ass. Not gonna lie, the scene made me a little uncomfortable but I knew Croft would deliver a satisfying comeuppance so I really didn’t dwell on it. Then Ron Rosenburg, a member of Crystal Dynamics, the development team behind Tomb Raider, had to open his big mouth and clarify to us Croft was in danger of being raped and that her being able to overcome this sexual assault is key to her “evolution”. Wha-? In a video game?

Here’s what was said in an interview with Kotaku,

RON: “And then what happens is her best friend gets kidnapped, she gets taken prisoner by scavengers on the island. They try to rape her, and-”

KOTAKU: “They try to rape her?”

RON: “She’s literally turned into a cornered animal. And that’s a huge step in her evolution: she’s either forced to fight back or die and that’s what we’re showing today.”

Not surprising, and rightfully so, people are a upset. If she wasn’t a woman would the game have even taken this direction? Probably not, which makes you wonder why they felt the need to include a scene depicting sexual violence at all? And then, why make it part of the climactic finale to your E3 debut trailer?

Crystal Dynamics has since released a statement saying this was all a misunderstanding. Here’s an excerpt,

In making this Tomb Raider origins story our aim was to take Lara Croft on an exploration of what makes her the character she embodies in late Tomb Raider games. 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.

Yeah, we just mistook when Rosenburg said , “They try to rape her,” as meaning they try to rape her. Silly us, we’ll listen better next time. Whatever their real intention with the scene the fact is they were careless in including it and not realizing the ramifications. It’s lazy, bad, and sadly cliched writing to include a scene of sexual violence, especially against a woman, in their game.

Add this to earlier comments made by Rosenburg in the Kotaku article where he tells us we’ll want “to protect” Lara and we’ll “root for her in a way that you might not root for a male character,” I’m kind of wanting busty Lara Croft back.

Still no word if the scene will be altered in game. Tomb Raider releases March  5th, 2013.

Source: The Mary Sue

Category: Videogames

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