Get Back Up

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT
 

Alpha Maeko:
Rape is unacceptable in the real world, but that doesn't mean we should shun any idea out of principal just because we don't like it. If that were the case, no one should be killing each other in video games, either.

There's two sides to this hypocrisy. You could ask: "why is this the case for one fenoly and not the other?", or you could stay quiet and we might consider ourselves lucky that this subject matter is not used as blithely in fiction as the act of killing is.

P.S. I'd consider rewording: "Rape is unacceptable in the real world, but that doesn't mean we should shun any idea out of principal just because we don't like it." The meaning of this sentence is rather ambiguous.

BrotherRool:

In the end it stops being brave or exciting or virtuous to see badass videogame protagonists survive yet another explosion, yet another helicopter crash landing. All it means is that in those universes, explosions don't mean much, conflict doesn't mean much, pain doesn't mean much. They're not tough, because being tough means that there is some genuine struggle going on there.

See, that's kind of my problem with it- in the trailers it's just one horrible near death experience after another, Lara being put through the shredder constantly with nary a moment's pause for breath in between. She actually get's minced around so much that my suspension of belief is stretched too far. It gets to the point where she just shouldn't be able to get up, and I don't mean because of her sex- I mean any human being would be dead after that.

Don't you see? Lara's moments of falling, scraping, dangling, impaling... they ARE the explosions, the helicopter crashes. They fulfil the exact same role, and their frequency makes them every bit as meaningless as any other barely survived explosion/chopper crash in other games, because she will always survive, she will always get up again.

It gets to the point where it just seems like the game is actively just trying to torture Lara for the audience's benefit, and it doesn't make me connect more with a character to see her survive situations that would kill any human being- it just reminds me that it's a game, and one that almost relishes in putting it's main character through a mincer nobody should survive.

Sixcess:
reads to me like 'let's torture Lara' is going to be the running theme for most of this game.

Yeah, basically this.

-Also, if you want to talk cliches, it was pretty stupid when she fell into that plane wreck because -naturally- it's Japanese, as we would never see any American plane wrecks in a game set in the Pacific since none were shot down, but also because if it were Japanese, it wouldn't have parachutes in it, would it?

You know I kind of identify MORE with protagonists who say "OWWWW" and get the tar beat out of them.

Case in point when watching one of the SG1 movies and Cameron Mitchell lets out a long and pathetic "Oooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww" after getting beaten up...that really resonates with you.

I like the new James Bond because he takes hits, get beaten up, but he keeps pushing through even in pain.
You know its telling that people have this double standard in some sense.

You can show a guy getting the hell beat out of him, and most people dont care.
You show a WOMAN getting beaten up and people throw a fit.

I feel more for a protagonist who gets cut, bloody, falls over, and shows pain them a protagonist who can saunter through a battle field unfazed.
Like in ME2..when Joker was saying "SHIT SHIT SHIT WHAT THE SHIT!" that is what I would have been saying too.

NinjaDeathSlap:

For example: In the part where she shoots the deer the "I'm sorry" that she exclaims just before she takes the shot with the bow comes off as so forced and more than a little stupid. Even if you are, like this version of Lara, totally out of your depth and traumatised, if you're forced into a situation where you need to hunt wild animals to survive then you wouldn't say that. It's a necessity, and at that point you'd probably be so hungry that actually, your instincts wouldn't allow you to be sorry. Even if you were, you wouldn't say it, out loud, when you're just meters away from your prey that will run away if it gets spooked, especially if you're not an expert with a bow and getting the shot just right will require all your focus and the total element of surprise.
.

1. its jsut the trailer...not the full game yet

2. I think your REALLY reading into that way too much,

but...if I am going to aruge....people do all kind of funny things in different situations....in this case I don't see it as a case of "NOOOO! I had to kill a deer! *sob*" but more kind of "I don't want to do this but I have too" not just killing the deer but also because its become a survival situation

its like when I kill a big hairy spider...theres no doubt that motherfucker is going down (be it with spray or a heavy book) but then I feel kind of bad that I had to kill this thing just because I'm a little squeaminish

as for the realism with the hunting...its a game..you have to cut it some slack

I watched the trailer just now, and I didn't get anything remotely close to the "rape vibe" from any of it. I saw a guy try to grab her, presumably to push or knock her down.

But, yeah, I have to agree. This outrage seems manufactured simply because; Its a girl, who's tied up and at the mercy of a man with a gun.

lowlymarine:
Hey guys, remember at the end of FEAR 2 where Beckett gets fairly graphically raped by Alma, both physically and mentally, while you're controlling him no less? And do you remember the massive manufactured outrage over that? Oh, there was no outrage? Right, I wonder what the key difference there could have been.

I think that, despite all the advances, women are still seen as the weaker sex. And I don't think that is going to change.

I totally agree. No one would be complaining if it was a man in the trailer getting beaten up, it's just another crappy double standard by people who are actually serving to set equality back. Sexism doesn't mean actively hurting women, at least not in the real world, it's about disempowering them. That's not to say that there isn't crime against women, but crime happens to everybody.

nice article. at least someone who got it right and did proper research.
also on the official TR website http://forums.eidosgames.com/showthread.php?t=115168&page=10
there is a big discussion regarding this topic. also the links they post from other article are just amazing how stupid these journalists are. claiming how bad it is in a game, blah blah blah...

CD creates an more human, realistic looking, emotional character that makes a far more believable impression, and thats the thanks they get from some stupid retards dickheads who cant understand the concept of the character or even bother to do proper research.
also these stupid hysterical mothers who think they protect their children from becoming bad, which never worked anyway.

Hello. I had a massive breakdown this evening and my head is thumping and I cried and cried. The reason for this breakdown was a horrible thing in the past. Take a look, Tomb Raider. This is what happens... ...When horrible things happen. Not strong, interesting game characters. Broken and terrified and awful evenings like this. There. I said it. Please Retweet that. All these four tweets. The industry needs to know what really happens as a result of stuff like this. #tombraider

(Source.)

You are wrong, Susan. You are very, very wrong. The desire to write a strong female character does not give one free reins to make a traumatic, horrible thing part of your story. You are essentially saying 'well, rape sucks for those people who got raped, but I want my game with a cool character!' Your priorities are misguided. Do not attempt to defend a horrible thing, even if you think the horrible thing was not meant in earnest, because that's how we get used to horrible things.

I'll add that it's obvious from the internet reaction that the people who created that game never tried to talk to a rape victim and probably think trigger warning is something you shout on the shooting range. I don't think video games can't portray rape. I think the modern games industry can't.

Thank god. There are other people who really get it.

This game isn't just about a girl being placed in a terrible situation - it's about an average person in a terrible situation. Regardless of gender, Lara is in a place that no one really has to face, and here she struggles to survive. But this is only the first part of the game. Later, Lara learns to adapt, and then overcome her situation. This is a journey of hardship, and people seem to forget that we've only seen her beginning. If we ever get to see more of the end of the game, where Lara strikes back on her environment, then maybe people will be more mature about the game. This is about a scared person, not just a woman. It's desperate situations that show someones true character, and Lara certainly shows her strength and courage even when things look bleak, even before she has become our Tomb Raider.

And besides, rape isn't even in the game. At all. It isn't even the focus of the scene - it's about Lara's first kill. So, these accusations about using rape to define characters and to write stories is pointless - it isn't even there to begin with.

BrotherRool:
I agree, what's more I think this makes Lara a more interesting hero and this a more interesting story than in most games ever.

In the end it stops being brave or exciting or virtuous to see badass videogame protagonists survive yet another explosion, yet another helicopter crash landing. All it means is that in those universes, explosions don't mean much, conflict doesn't mean much, pain doesn't mean much. They're not tough, because being tough means that there is some genuine struggle going on there.

In the end, one of the most iconic heroes ever is Solid Snake/Big Boss etc and whilst they had their moments of awesome they spent a lot of time dealing with hardship as well. Big Boss was a badass because he got his eye cut out and it hurt but he dealt with it. Would MGS4 have been as great if it wasn't Snake being pushed beyond every limit he had and we could see that they were genuine limits. He almost didn't make it across the microwave chamber and that's what makes the difference and is a much more grown up and interesting story, when things really are difficult they really are hard.

And it means Lara will genuinely have an arc. Rather than being the generic protagonist whose a hero just because she is or Backstory! she'll become a hero because she was put in an impossible situation and she had to grow and survive or die. I've never cared about Ms Croft before (her 'personality' wasn't the most interesting character trait before) but now not only do I care, but if they pull this off, she'll be a turning point for gaming and iconic for a deserving reason

Whoa whoa whoa, Big Boss' eye was not cut out it was shot out.

Susan I think you just sold me on the new Tomb Raider, I'll still await the Escapists review of it and do some poking around to see whether or not it deserves a new purchase or a used one a few months down the road.

Woodsey:

Susan Arendt:
Rosenberg came off sounding like a condescending chauvinist who doesn't understand the first thing about the player's relationship with Lara.

Actually, I think the guy sounds like someone who completely understands a male player's relationship with a completely inexperienced, 21-year-old female character who they are playing as in the third-person.

Well, he did come off as a condescending chauvinist. Which is not to say I wouldn't be putting my money on him being right.

Personally I suspect there's a real danger of reading entirely too much in character actions here. When it comes down to it the trailer shows very little, and much of what I hear bandied around so far is largely projection, conjecture, and assumption.

Of course it's entirely possiblethat Crystal Dynamics will deliver a robust, yet subtly complex character, but on the whole I suspect we really shouldn't hold our collective breaths for it to be anything beyond a cardboard cutout of the stereotypical Break the Cutie - even though that arguably would be a huge improvement over the current "characterisation" of being a pair of tits with a love for hidden treasure.

Well said, congrats Susan, this is why your one of my favorite people at the Escapist

I'll be honest and say it's the first Lara Croft game I've even been remotely interested in. All of the others I've seen snippets of play her as the unstoppable, violent, sociopath that constantly flaunts her body to the camera, and wanted none of it. This one, of watching her endure all these hardships because the alternative is letting someone else down, was much more appealing. Nice to see her limping and reacting slightly slower, after some of those injuries, though I wonder how long that will last. Nathan Drake was dehydrated and could barely stand after a few days in the Rub Al-Khali desert, and yet he still managed to shoot down an entire ruined city filled with baddies, despite the hallucinations and exhaustion. No way in hell he'd be reacting that fast, in those conditions.

If a man endures hell and comes out stronger for it, he's a badass and we cheer. If a woman endures hell and comes out stronger for it, the developers are sexist and we hate it. Apparently it's only men who are strong enough to be badass and women are precious little flowers that we must be ever so careful with our words when discussing.

Someone says he created a character he wants people to have an urge to protect and suddenly he's an idiot. That's funny, because I don't think a single person in the world would say it's sexist if Lara was a man. Oh that's right, women are special creatures we all need to approach carefully. Wouldn't want to treat a female the same you would a man. No! It's an entirely different issue when no penis is involved.

Equality at its finest. I'm beginning to think no one actually wants true equality, they just want to look good, fighting for the poor old women folk.

BrotherRool:
I agree, what's more I think this makes Lara a more interesting hero and this a more interesting story than in most games ever.

In the end it stops being brave or exciting or virtuous to see badass videogame protagonists survive yet another explosion, yet another helicopter crash landing. All it means is that in those universes, explosions don't mean much, conflict doesn't mean much, pain doesn't mean much. They're not tough, because being tough means that there is some genuine struggle going on there.

In the end, one of the most iconic heroes ever is Solid Snake/Big Boss etc and whilst they had their moments of awesome they spent a lot of time dealing with hardship as well. Big Boss was a badass because he got his eye cut out and it hurt but he dealt with it. Would MGS4 have been as great if it wasn't Snake being pushed beyond every limit he had and we could see that they were genuine limits. He almost didn't make it across the microwave chamber and that's what makes the difference and is a much more grown up and interesting story, when things really are difficult they really are hard.

And it means Lara will genuinely have an arc. Rather than being the generic protagonist whose a hero just because she is or Backstory! she'll become a hero because she was put in an impossible situation and she had to grow and survive or die. I've never cared about Ms Croft before (her 'personality' wasn't the most interesting character trait before) but now not only do I care, but if they pull this off, she'll be a turning point for gaming and iconic for a deserving reason

In short: Yep.

Also to OP: I completely agree.

Also in general: I wish people stopped being so fucking offended all the time. Or even better, BE offended, but know that its ok to be offended and that the offensive item still exists.

I wish game companies grew some fucking balls and learned that offending people might not be a bad thing. Dont offend for the sake of it of course...but as for the hinted rape...DO IT. Its an unusual thing to do, and its an uncomfortable thing to do...but that makes it interesting. Experiencing this situation in a game does not mean that anyone playing the game is supporting rape.

Goddamnit people can be so extremely dense.

Evil Smurf:
Rape is awful I just hope the game handles it sensitively

There is no rape in the game. A man beats up Lara and if you fail to fight him off, Lara dies.

No rape.

lowlymarine:
I'm glad to see someone actually taking a reasonable approach to this. This whole situation is ridiculous.

Hey guys, remember at the end of FEAR 2 where Beckett gets fairly graphically raped by Alma, both physically and mentally, while you're controlling him no less? And do you remember the massive manufactured outrage over that? Oh, there was no outrage? Right, I wonder what the key difference there could have been.

No biggie. I mean, it's just a man being raped. But don't you dare show a woman being raped! Even though there is no rape in the game and it's all been blown out of proportion by knee-jerk feminists and white-knights... Still, don't you dare!

EDIT: Sorry, Abstract! Quoted the wrong person :P

I think, Rosenberg's original comment isn't all that different from this article, it's just more carelessly worded.

But it's the same basic idea, that Lara is not supposed to be IDENTIFIED WITH, as an audience self-insert, as your avatar that you are experiencing exciting adventures with, but EMPATHISE WITH, as the protagonist of a story who you are attached to and who goes through hardships while you follow her.

It speaks ill of gaming's future when we basically adopting the old media's assumption that everything that's happening in a game is a "simulator" of personal fantasies; just as GTA was called a "murder simulator", or Mass Effect a "sex simulator", now even we are talking like this:
For example, how anything with a main romantic plot is called a "dating simulator", even if the POV protagonist is a self-conscious character on his own right.
Or this time, there is a story where hardships and suffering play an important role, and the first thing we think of is that it must be a "torture simulator" for people who enjoy this kind of thing, and even a comment that the player is supposed to "want to protect" the main character, is met with hostility, even though obviously normal people feel protective about others' suffering, but if it happens in a game, it must be some sort of "white knighting-simulation". Because it isn't possible that a game is intentionally trying to invoke NEGATIVE emotions, right, in one way or another, it must be a simulator of your fantasies.

Squilookle:

Don't you see? Lara's moments of falling, scraping, dangling, impaling... they ARE the explosions, the helicopter crashes. They fulfil the exact same role, and their frequency makes them every bit as meaningless as any other barely survived explosion/chopper crash in other games, because she will always survive, she will always get up again.

It is a trailer so frequency is hard to judge, but I will give you that there is a point in the trailer where it gets too much, but there is easily hope that things are going to get better over the course of the game.

And I wasn't saying I disliked the helicopter crashes and explosions just the way they are treated so minorly. Think of all the military shooters where your helicopter goes down and it's never even thought to suggest that it might have hurt. What's the point of the crash in the first place if you're going to do that?

And it leads to an arms race where the explosions get bigger. Suddenly it's nukes and radioactive clouds etc

Sixcess:

BrotherRool:
I've never been a big Lara Croft fan, so I was wondering if you could explain which direction it should have gone in in updating/giving Lara 's/a character?

I'm not sure, but it would definitely have involved shooting dinosaurs.

*cough*

Okay, maybe not.

More seriously, I'd have played up the supernatural/horror aspects. If you want to make a young and inexperienced Lara afraid of something then make her afraid of undead spirits, or monsters, not sweaty dudes with guns. Play it slow at first, with an emphasis on atmosphere, exploration, puzzle solving. In fact if I was doing the reboot I'd likely have few or no human enemies - the prevalence of them in the later games of the series was arguably when it started to lose direction.

So... quick pitch: Lara gets shipwrecked on an uncharted (no pun intended) island. She's salvaged a shortwave radio and manages to communicate with someone on the other side of the island. It's not clear who they are but they say they can help her - if she can get to them, because they can't come to her. It sets up a nice mystery for later on, and in the meantime she's got people to talk to, to show character development (and provide exposition.)

The beach where she's landed is surrounded on all sides by unscalable cliffs. The people on the radio tell her that the island is riddled with ancient catacombs built god knows when by god knows who. If she wants to get up the cliffs, and across the island she will have to enter those catacombs, and they are huge - the entire island being the centre of some long forgotten death cult. Essentially she's shipwrecked on R'yleh. Not literally of course, but in the general feel of it.

Etc etc. Just my idea.

Edit: all of which is a long way of saying I have nothing in theory against the character arc that's apparently being plotted out, but I do not like the tone in which it's being done, as it's all too gritty and real for Tomb Raider.

And this is just that again, if every gain has these fantasy badass tanks, why not have someone who actually struggles and has setbacks? And if Lara Croft was a women in a sea of macho-thugs why not capitalise on that and show that the weakness can be more interesting than Alpha Male strength?

It's very true that the needs of gameplay have almost always led to the jarring disconnect between the character you see in the cutscenes and the character you play in the game. As Ross Scott of Freeman's Mind said, realistically the only way Gordon could survive the story of Half Life is if he was a paranoid homicidal sociopath, because normal people don't adapt that quickly to gunning down dozens of people.

There's nothing inherently wrong with playing with an audience's perceptions of a well known character, but only if there's a good pay off at the end. I'd cite Casino Royale as a good example in that they played with the expectations of Bond fans throughout the film, but then delivered an absolutely knockout ending that kept true to the character without diminishing the changes that were made to bring him up to date.

I just don't think CD have the skill to pull something like that off, and the relentless emphasis being placed on Lara's vulnerability in everything we see and everything they say does not reassure me one bit.

Your idea is fine, but I meant more, what you have done in terms of her character, rather than setting?

Incidentally if you meant the new Casino Royale, well played, I hated that and I guess for similar reasons that other people hate this. I think maybe a difference is in Casino Royale they took away the suaveness of Bond and didn't actually replace it with a personality. I can't tell you one thing about how Daniel Craig would react in any situation. He was in a lot of pain but he wasn't reacting emotionally to the pain. It just hurt.

Whereas here there's an emphasis on what Lara is actually thinking about this and the emotional content. Also Lara Croft was never really suave (to be honest we've got a lack of that kind of hero too at the moment. The game industry has really done nothing with character over the last 20 years) so she was already in many ways a Daniel Craig James Bong

tzimize:

In short: Yep.

Also to OP: I completely agree.

Also in general: I wish people stopped being so fucking offended all the time. Or even better, BE offended, but know that its ok to be offended and that the offensive item still exists.

I wish game companies grew some fucking balls and learned that offending people might not be a bad thing. Dont offend for the sake of it of course...but as for the hinted rape...DO IT. Its an unusual thing to do, and its an uncomfortable thing to do...but that makes it interesting. Experiencing this situation in a game does not mean that anyone playing the game is supporting rape.

Goddamnit people can be so extremely dense.

I agree that the gaming community is becoming increasingly negative at the moment and it's just as bad having companies fall over themselves trying to fix it. It'd be nice is people just thought 'Hey we're getting a new Deus Ex, could be cool!' rather than 'My childhood will be ruined!' We're getting a bit Lucasy about everything at the moment.

Saying that I'd say no to the rape, it's just such a traumatic thing for people who know about it, that you'd need a really really good reason to justify including it, rather than another reason to show hardship

fanklok:

Whoa whoa whoa, Big Boss' eye was not cut out it was shot out.

Susan I think you just sold me on the new Tomb Raider, I'll still await the Escapists review of it and do some poking around to see whether or not it deserves a new purchase or a used one a few months down the road.

Darn did I go with cut in the end?

I was trying to remember and as far as my recollection went Ocelot was playing his ridiculous roulette again and Boss stopped him, and the shot went off and took out his eye? But in my head I was thinking, how can you shoot out someones eye and not give them a bullet in the skull too?

In Mafia 2, Vito Scaletta is nearly a victim of prison rape and has to fight the prisoners off. Nobody cared. But now that Lara Croft, who's practically a spoiled little kid in this game gets into dangerous situations it's OH NOEZ!! POOR LARA!! DAMN SEXIST, EVIL DEVELOPERS!!

Also I get the whole protect thing. It's supposed to imply that Lara is just a child and we are the adults responsible for getting her safe from danger by teaching her how to survive.

BrotherRool:
Your idea is fine, but I meant more, what you have done in terms of her character, rather than setting?

Yeah, I did drift off topic somewhat there. My bad.

I've got nothing against the new game's proposed character arc, in theory, I'd just prefer if it was in a setting more befitting Lara's roots. I haven't played Uncharted but from what I've seen of it that series doesn't play up the mystical/fantasy elements like Tomb Raider always has, so wouldn't that have been a valid way to make the reboot distinct?

Alternatively they could have went the Saints Row 2 route and embraced the inherent absurdity of the character. SR2 has a serious underlying story but it plays out almost as if the characters know they're in a video game (like in the ludicrously high number of murders Gat is on trial for.) Just Cause 2 would be another example of that kind of game. It's not deep, but it's fun.

Incidentally if you meant the new Casino Royale, well played, I hated that and I guess for similar reasons that other people hate this. I think maybe a difference is in Casino Royale they took away the suaveness of Bond and didn't actually replace it with a personality. I can't tell you one thing about how Daniel Craig would react in any situation. He was in a lot of pain but he wasn't reacting emotionally to the pain. It just hurt.

Whereas here there's an emphasis on what Lara is actually thinking about this and the emotional content. Also Lara Croft was never really suave (to be honest we've got a lack of that kind of hero too at the moment. The game industry has really done nothing with character over the last 20 years) so she was already in many ways a Daniel Craig James Bong

And yet most people would say that Casino Royale 'humanised' Bond in ways the previous films hadn't. It's all a matter of individual perspective. Again, like Lara, Bond's lack of 'realistic' personality never bothered me, since that's not what the franchise is about, and he did get character development when it mattered.

I am curious about how much of the negative reaction is coming from long term fans of Tomb Raider, like myself. I'd do a poll on it, but I think we have more than enough threads on this subject as it is.

Finally. Nice to read some sanity and actual intelligent analysis of the trailer, rather then people trying to convince other people that they should be angry because something in the trailer might upset other people, even if it doesn't affect them.

There's so much rage-mongering on this site I forget that there's a few worthwhile writers on here who know how to look at games for more then just sources of controversy.

A very thoughtful article, but I have to disagree with one of your core concepts. Media is now mostly telling western men that we are superfluous. That it is good and proper that men are held up as object of ridicule, while mothers and women are the smart ones who really save the day.

I think there is value in what you are saying about the trailer, but I think in some ways that your views on the enculturalization of women may not be 100% accurate. In the case of these survival guides, the blowback that has occured clearly speaks against your point. The company tried to make a sexist product and the market has pushed back. They did not push back because of the subject matter of the boy's book, but rather because of the difference between the boys and girls book, and most especially because of the girl's book content.

Also, for the record Scholastic apologized, and I suspect we shant be seeing books like that again. In reality when we start to see sitcoms where moms are idiots too, not just ones where the dad is an idiot, then we can start talking about fairness in media.

I know the argument that comes back inevitably falls down onto "but women are paid 70% of what men are", or the other usual horses that people like to ride into this battle. Fine, I would argue that within the next generation that will be radically different (owing to the VAST disparity between men and women in university graduation rates). I don't want to start a men are discriminated against battle here, because we are, but EVERYONE is discriminated against and to pull that out is just playing the victim card. It wont advance the argument. However, I am not sure that it is fair or balanced to only talk about an injustice done to women, it would have been easy for you to focus on the fact that in the video the men were bad people, that rape appears to have been sanctioned in this situation - what kind of a role model for men is that? And how would that advance the dialogue between a girl trying to discover her identity through video games and a strong father figure in her life?

I could be wrong, but most of the comments here are objecting to the idea that people who are up in arms about the trailers are only up in arms "because it's a woman." "If it were a man," you'd say, "then none of these whiners would be talking. It's unfair towards men."

I think that would be missing the real argument. Nobody is against the violence towards Lara solely because she's a woman - that actually would be hypocritical.

Instead, people seem to be upset over the fact that Lara has gone from confident badass chick to weakling damsel-in-distress-ish who needs male protection (because men are the target demo). On top of that, in order to further "humanize" her, they're going to throw the ever-present, implied threat of rape out there and surround her with it at every turn.

Sure, the actual act of violation may not happen, but the threat of it - the idea that "shit I have to make sure poor little Lara doesn't get raped" - will be there. People believe that's really unfair, considering CD's apparent belief that falling out of a plane, being shot at, struggling for food, and tripping over tree branches isn't enough to make Lara more "humanized" (which, IMO, I'm convinced CD doesn't quite understand the meaning of. It seems like they're going from one end of the non-human spectrum to the other). They have to make her cower at the big strong men, and have you, the other big strong man, protect her, which is kind of fucked up.

I'm not saying I agree with that point of view either way. In fact, I mostly agree with Susan's assessment. I just see the same made-up counterargument being repeated in comments everywhere and thought I could clarify. Of course I may be misreading things on both sides, haha. Hope I'm not.

Kargathia:

Woodsey:

Susan Arendt:
Rosenberg came off sounding like a condescending chauvinist who doesn't understand the first thing about the player's relationship with Lara.

Actually, I think the guy sounds like someone who completely understands a male player's relationship with a completely inexperienced, 21-year-old female character who they are playing as in the third-person.

Well, he did come off as a condescending chauvinist. Which is not to say I wouldn't be putting my money on him being right.

Personally I suspect there's a real danger of reading entirely too much in character actions here. When it comes down to it the trailer shows very little, and much of what I hear bandied around so far is largely projection, conjecture, and assumption.

Of course it's entirely possiblethat Crystal Dynamics will deliver a robust, yet subtly complex character, but on the whole I suspect we really shouldn't hold our collective breaths for it to be anything beyond a cardboard cutout of the stereotypical Break the Cutie - even though that arguably would be a huge improvement over the current "characterisation" of being a pair of tits with a love for hidden treasure.

The trailer shows little in terms of what? We've already seen the entire attempted rape.

And again, there's nothing chauvinist about saying what type of reaction it's going to inspire in a certain group - there's nothing, "men are superior" about what he said or in that reaction to it. I can see it being viewed as a little condescending when he says it's like you're helping her, but it seems apparent he's just trying to iterate on the same point - he says it like three times in different ways.

And seriously, that Kotaku article was shit.

Sixcess:

BrotherRool:
Your idea is fine, but I meant more, what you have done in terms of her character, rather than setting?

Yeah, I did drift off topic somewhat there. My bad.

I've got nothing against the new game's proposed character arc, in theory, I'd just prefer if it was in a setting more befitting Lara's roots. I haven't played Uncharted but from what I've seen of it that series doesn't play up the mystical/fantasy elements like Tomb Raider always has, so wouldn't that have been a valid way to make the reboot distinct?

Hmm... in some ways I guess. The latter half of an Uncharted game is always spent in a mystical environment killing zombies/yeti's whatever so I wouldn't say that it doesn't play it up, but it could make it distinct.

But in some ways, okay that distinguishes but it doesn't get me invested in the franchise. The success of Uncharted has never been in the stuff that's happening or where it's happening, but people genuinely like Nathan Drake and it's always about what he does next. There's a huge character focus. And Lara Croft has the press disadvantage of having her name be the franchise. It's completely associated with her and it'd be hard to engage people with the peripheral stuff. I'm pretty sure most people's thought process goes 'Lara Croft(the game) -> Lara Croft (the person) -> Lara's 'personalities' (possibly with a stop off at Angelina Jolie inbetween). I'm not a franchise fan but I've played some of the games and I couldn't tell you the slightest bit about what happens in them

Sixcess:

Alternatively they could have went the Saints Row 2 route and embraced the inherent absurdity of the character. SR2 has a serious underlying story but it plays out almost as if the characters know they're in a video game (like in the ludicrously high number of murders Gat is on trial for.) Just Cause 2 would be another example of that kind of game. It's not deep, but it's fun.

This is more valid, but Saints Row isn't just absurd characters it's absurd gameplay from start to finish, which is why it works. You'd have to throw out all the 'woah we're exploring an ancient civilisation' stuff and replace it with 'look at all these wacky traps! Why do they still work!'

That could be fine, it'd make a funny game. It feels less true to the character to me but I wouldn't object to it because it'd be interesting. At least there'd be something memorable about Lara Croft

Sixcess:

Incidentally if you meant the new Casino Royale, well played, I hated that and I guess for similar reasons that other people hate this. I think maybe a difference is in Casino Royale they took away the suaveness of Bond and didn't actually replace it with a personality. I can't tell you one thing about how Daniel Craig would react in any situation. He was in a lot of pain but he wasn't reacting emotionally to the pain. It just hurt.

Whereas here there's an emphasis on what Lara is actually thinking about this and the emotional content. Also Lara Croft was never really suave (to be honest we've got a lack of that kind of hero too at the moment. The game industry has really done nothing with character over the last 20 years) so she was already in many ways a Daniel Craig James Bong

And yet most people would say that Casino Royale 'humanised' Bond in ways the previous films hadn't. It's all a matter of individual perspective. Again, like Lara, Bond's lack of 'realistic' personality never bothered me, since that's not what the franchise is about, and he did get character development when it mattered.

I am curious about how much of the negative reaction is coming from long term fans of Tomb Raider, like myself. I'd do a poll on it, but I think we have more than enough threads on this subject as it is.

[/quote]
There's a huge difference between Bond and Lara. Both lack a realistic personality, but we're not talking about realism here. In many ways Bond had a personality, he was a high flyer, a lady charmer, the man with the style and the cool line, unbreakable underpressure etc. We know stuff about Bond, we know how he walks and talks, what he'd do in a situation. It's not a realistic person, but maybe the problem people have is he's quite a shallow person, who doesn't look for much depth. But if Bond is in a situation at least I'll have some idea what he'll do.

It's not that Lara Croft doesn't have a realistic personality. It's that she doesn't have a personality. In truth if I were to make a game that was to keep true to the series but improve, I'd play up the Catwoman personality, that's probably as close as Lara came to anything. But Tomb Raider was a sinking ship, a weak IP with only hardcore fans and no-one else knew why they should care what happens to her. There were better more interesting games with better more interesting characters .

This is what Lara Croft meant to the world
http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20060403
and frankly that just doesn't cut it. But here we have a strong feminine character, resilient and relatable making use out of tropes and making the industry look like it's fallen far behind.

I'm pretty sure a lot of the strong comments were started by Tomb Raider fans and I guess it is change. I'm pretty sure people who never played Deus Ex enjoyed Deus Ex:Human Revolution a lot more. Maybe they should have done it with a new IP. But then chances are it wouldn't have got made, because you can't sell new IPs without a lot of backing and it's risky. Equally Tomb Raider was dying.

Look at this graph
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/2009/04/24/eidos-shows-lifetime-sales-for-tomb-raider/1

The weird thing is, Tomb Raider is completely entrenched in the popular cultures. It's got ridiculously long tails on it's sales (for example Underworld sold a million copies the year after its release) it's clear this isn't a franchise that should die. In terms of brand power, the name Lara Croft is actually up there with Mario. More people in the world know who Lara Croft is than Solid Snake, or Drake or Max Payne etc. But all those games completely obliterate Tomb Raider in sales figures. Max Payne 3 sold in a week the same number of games as Tomb Raider has sold in five years (which includes two releases). MGS4 is a console exclusive but has sold the same number of games as the last 3 Tomb Raiders combined.

And from the reviews I've read, these weren't bad games at all. The problem is something deeper

It just all feels utterly hollow to me though.

Everything from the incredibly cliched gravelly voiced dad being the strong parent she looks up to in her family to the total lack of reaction to "I was nearly just raped and I shot a man in the face. Ho hum, time to dust myself off and act like a sociopathic Hollywood action film."

This is progress? Hardly. This is flirting with "nearly raped" as a marketing gimmick the same way GTA and Carmageddon's violence as a unique selling point. This isn't storytelling a female character's story, this is a male character with a lazy genderswap (marketing want boobs) and "women's problems because they're not men". But it doesn't it in anyway as consequential.

This *isn't* progress and everyone who is calling it lazy story telling is right on. I'll even go one further - its lazy cinematic storytelling, pandering to an audience. It isn't treating the player as a participant.

For a AAA studio alone should be enough sound alarm bells that *this just is not working*.

The Random One:

Hello. I had a massive breakdown this evening and my head is thumping and I cried and cried. The reason for this breakdown was a horrible thing in the past. Take a look, Tomb Raider. This is what happens... ...When horrible things happen. Not strong, interesting game characters. Broken and terrified and awful evenings like this. There. I said it. Please Retweet that. All these four tweets. The industry needs to know what really happens as a result of stuff like this. #tombraider

(Source.)

You are wrong, Susan. You are very, very wrong. The desire to write a strong female character does not give one free reins to make a traumatic, horrible thing part of your story. You are essentially saying 'well, rape sucks for those people who got raped, but I want my game with a cool character!' Your priorities are misguided. Do not attempt to defend a horrible thing, even if you think the horrible thing was not meant in earnest, because that's how we get used to horrible things.

I'll add that it's obvious from the internet reaction that the people who created that game never tried to talk to a rape victim and probably think trigger warning is something you shout on the shooting range. I don't think video games can't portray rape. I think the modern games industry can't.

First: there's no rape. The guy gets his nuts kicked in about 2 seconds after he puts his hand on her. Perhaps someone needs to Tweet that back.

Second: rape is terrible. That does not mean it's not a valid inclusion within a story (and remember that Tomb Raider doesn't actually have a rape scene). It's a form of peril. It's a particularly female form of peril, yes, but it's still a form of peril, and peril is used to advance and evolve characters.

That is perfectly legitimate.

Three: Does the person who wrote that Tweet protest every film with a rape scene? I watched The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo recently (American version) and that has the nastiest fucking rape scene I've ever seen - that doesn't make it wrong. It's necessary to the characters advancement.

Four: 'I don't think video games can't portray rape. I think the modern games industry can't.'
Well, again, it's not - and second, if no one tries to breach the subject for fear of being shot down before they've even released the game, then it'll never be done. And that's shit, because games have enough going against them that means they can't be treated with the seriousness of films or novels already.

Sometimes things have to be fucked up before they can start being done right. Like, y'know, good characters.

Jeff Dunn:

Instead, people seem to be upset over the fact that Lara has gone from confident badass chick to weakling damsel-in-distress-ish who needs male protection (because men are the target demo). On top of that, in order to further "humanize" her, they're going to throw the ever-present, implied threat of rape out there and surround her with it at every turn.

And you got that from... where, exactly? There is one scene where I guy begins to touch her before getting his nuts crushed. That is all we know about.

As for your point about using rape to humanise her more than bullets and whatever else... well, duh. Physical threat is something far more relatable than gun fights - partly because we're all desensitised to gunfights in games, even when they are made scrappy and messy, and partly because it's a very 'distant' sort of danger. Oh, and then partly because most of us won't have been shot at by 5 people at once.

'people seem to be upset over the fact that Lara has gone from confident badass chick to weakling damsel-in-distress-ish'

It's a reboot origin-story, 'those people' are being ridiculous. As for the 'male protection' side of things: let's look at the (undoubtedly selective) quoting from Kotaku:

'When people play Lara, they don't really project themselves into the character... They're more like 'I want to protect her.' There's this sort of dynamic of 'I'm going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her.'

Now, I don't know about you, but to me that first bit reads like an acknowledgement of what happens when male players are playing a third-person game with a completely inexperiecened female character. More widely, it acknowledges the fact that people in general are not immersed into a character they're playing in third-person.

Either way, you don't identify with the character in the same way, and so you're looking at your experience with the character from an outside perspective. Saying that it's going to invoke a protectionist-side in people (and even specifically men) is just acknowledging human nature when you see someone struggling in a situation which you can 'help' them out of. It's further kicked in by the fact that we are players, we have control, we can turn events around, and at the start of the game she is in serious fucking trouble.

Grey Knight:
(I'm using your comment as a jumping board)

The negativity surrounding Rosenberg's comment exists, at least as far as I'm concerned, because he claims that we, somehow, cannot project ourselves into the character, but that we (the white/male/15-25yo demographic) only want to "protect" Lara. I can't speak for anyone else, but if I invest several hours playing a game I'll end up identifying with it's protagonist most of the time, despite them being of a different gender, race, sexuality, what have you.

So not only does Rosenberg's line just feel condescending (you guys can't muster the empathy to identify yourself with a human being in pain) but it's also plain sexist (you boys can't identify yourself with a girl, so naturally you can only want to protect her). Which IMHO is absolute bullshit.

On the subject of the rape scene: it seems, to me, unlikely that none of those thugs, who were all hiding on that island, away from any female contact they might have had back home, would not have made any advances at Lara, a young and beautiful girl. Such is the nature of the beast, and rape is a real issue. It should not, under any circumstance be hidden behind taboos. If it has to be tackled, why not in a game, where the player can empathize with the protagonist?

Which ties neatly back in with what I said at the start: if the player can't identify him/herself with Lara, you can't tackle rape as a problem, because it wouldn't be an issue for you, the third person.

My 2 cents.

good to get a female opinion, every other article I've read on this is males desperately trying to show how unchauvinistic they are, it all well and good us men trying to predict what females think about something, but we'll never get it right. Just as women will not be able to fully understand the male point of view either :)

And yes the comments made along with the trailer were bloody stupid.

freaper:

The negativity surrounding Rosenberg's comment exists, at least as far as I'm concerned, because he claims that we, somehow, cannot project ourselves into the character, but that we (the white/male/15-25yo demographic) only want to "protect" Lara.

Except that he didn't actually say any of that.

First of all, he was explicitly descibing changes in THIS installment, with the new Lara, that implies that he isn't talking about female characters in general, (after all, he believes that people *DID* identify with the old Lara), but about a specific angle that they are trying with this one game. It's not that you *couldn't* identify with her, but that in this specific installment, they *want you* to empathize with her as a different person, instead of just identifying with her.

He also said in the same interview: "The ability to see her as a human is even more enticing to me than the more sexualized version of yesteryear"

Also, there wasn't a single reference to MALE players wanting to protect her, only *people* or *players*. Why couldn't a girl feel protective about a girl in pain?

freaper:

Which ties neatly back in with what I said at the start: if the player can't identify him/herself with Lara, you can't tackle rape as a problem, because it wouldn't be an issue for you, the third person.

If you would see someone getting raped IRL, it wouldn't be an issu for you if you are only a third person witnessing it?

Identify=/=empathise.

My take on this is that we should wait and see. Don't presume guilt until innocence is proven! It's supposed to be the other way around. Sure, rape-as-backstory is an overused trope, especially when it comes to female characters, but they could pull it off sensitively and realistically, I think.

I mean if someone had told me that in F.E.A.R. 2 (SPOILER) Becket gets raped by Alma (SPOILER) before I'd played the game, I would have had serious reservations, too. F/M rape is often treated as a joke, or blown off with a pithy "men can't be raped", or shown to be hot and sexy. But just because that common happens doesn't mean that's what Monolith was going to do - and luckily, they didn't. It was never a joke, it was horrifying. And Becket was clearly pretty fucking distraught. I was impressed by how well it was handled.

So give them a chance!

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here