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Farther than stars:
I'd consider rewording

No.

Every creepy crawly idea that people normally shun gets explored in entertainment every day. This scene in the trailer reveals intent- nothing more. Yet, the very idea makes people grab their torches? Get over it.

Yeah I pretty much agree with this though I worry that CD are going to overplay it, especially after that trailer and kind of wish they had done this with a new IP.

Still her reactions seem like...well normal human reactions, especially given that's she is straight out of university, not a hardened adventurer. This is an origin story so I expect that over the course of the game and if they make a sequel she will get tougher and more like the Lara we know.

As for the rape threat, I admit the amount of rape I keep coming across in media is starting to bother me a bit. I don't think it's a no go area but it seems like every time something tries to be dark and gritty they have to have some rape thrown in. Tho taken on its own I don't have a problem with that scene and to be fair it is what I would expect to happen in that situation and it wasn't drawn out.

Rosenberg's comments were stupid but fuck it, this game looks interesting anyway I'm not going to not get because of the idioticcomments of one person and I think I get what he meant anyway. The game is third person, Lara is a full character who reacts to what's going on and from the looks of things is going to be commenting on what's happening quite a bit. So not really the sort of character you project on to while playing. Your more watching her story than being in it.

Like many people, I think Susan Arendt blows 90% of the commentary on this game right out of the water. What she says is not a reactionary evaluation, or an inflamed knee-jerk reaction. I like that a lot.

Reading what she said helped me iron out my thinking on the Tomb Raider reboot. While we aren't saying the same things, you won't be able to understand my points until you understand hers. Further, in the discussions populated everywhere else people seem hyperfocused/stuck on the implication of rape/sexual violence. While it's an important point to address, the rape issue stands out so much that everyone else has talked it to death, so I think you have to see what else is there or you're just scratching the surface.
Three things about Tomb Raider so far stand out for me:

1. Lara is being hardened. Like in a kiln. Many fiction authors use a formula to get you to care about their characters and it goes like this: Make a character, then do terrible awful things to them so that your audience will know their virtues and strengths because of how they handle them. Once they see their mettle, the audience will love your character and follow them with a song in their heart, quiver at every pain they endure, and cry for their losses. We have never had anything bad happen to Lara Croft, she's been in control, overachieving, and multi-talented since inception.

2. Gaming is a difficult way to communicate internal narratives, unlike books you can't read her thoughts on the page. The way Crystal Dynamics seem to have chosen to communicate Lara's thoughts/feelings is through her responses. You can tell she's scared, or in pain, because she cries out.

3. It is not clear that her "narrative" is meritorious. I am always skeptical of attempts to show vulnerability in women's stories because we live in a world that tells very limited women's stories and in general people don't think outside of a few stereotypes when it comes to women. So in order to appeal to a mass audience either you have to address those stereotypes and turn them on their head (without the right finesse you either do the story injustice or alienate your audience), or emulate those stereotypes as puppetry for the masses. I sincerely hope it will be the latter that is produced, but this isn't my first rodeo.

Overall, with these thoughts in mind, I'm not really looking forward to this game. I don't think it's necessary to torture a character this much for us to see how hardcore they are, I think showing someone's strength is done better in careful moments rather than blitzing them profusely. Instead, I see the suspension of disbelief challenged here. Based on what I've seen, Lara Croft is not going to be hardened like the developer intends, realistically she'll be crippled by PTSD from all this overstimulation and would require years of hardcore therapy. I mean, therapy IRL can make a person terrifically hardcore, but I can't see that being converted into a game. I'd believe this story a lot more if it weren't being presented in such an over-the-top extreme way.

Note: This got a little longer than I expected, so I took all this text and replicated it on my own blog because for some reason there are people who read me who don't click links. Thanks again to Susan for continuing to write great op-eds even though right now it's kinda dangerous to write game opinions while being female.

Dat blog post here: http://cake-pie.com/tomb-raider-reboot-e3-trailer-raises-eyebrows/756/

Susan Arendt:
In the Tomb Raider trailer, Lara isn't defending herself because she's not afraid, but in spite of her fear. Not only is that the definition of bravery, it's also a life skill that everyone would be wise to learn.

"Learn to use fear as an engine, rather than a brake", as someone once put it. That's still right up there among the best pieces of advice I've ever been given.

DementedSheep:
Yeah I pretty much agree with this though I worry that CD are going to overplay it, especially after that trailer and kind of wish they had done this with a new IP.
Still her reactions seem like...well normal human reactions, especially given that's she is straight out of university not a hardened adventurer. This is and Origin story, I expect that over the course of the game and if they make a sequel she will get tougher and more like the Lara we know.
As for the rape threat, well I admit the amount of rape I keep coming across in media is starting to bother me a bit. I don't think it's a no go area but it seems like every time something tries to be dark and gritty they have to have some rape thrown in. Tho taken on its own I don't have a problem with that scene and to be fair it is what I would expect to happen in that situation.
Rosenberg's comments were stupid but fuck it this game look interesting anyway, I'm not going to not get because of the idiot comments of one person and I think I get what he meant anyway. The game is third person, Lara's a full character who reacts to what's going on and from the looks of things is going to be commenting on what's happening quite a bit. So not really the sort of character you project on to while playing.

thats the idea of the game to make lara more human and blievable. so far they really seem to nail it.
rosenberg surely screwed it up for what he said but still doesnt change a thing in the game what the intention was for lara to do at this situation.

At least this serves a purpose unlike Heavy Rain's part of the game where men broke in and you don't know if they are going to rape and/or kill Madison Paige, which turned out to be a dream leaving the player in a state of "WTF o_O".

I was having a pretty crappy day. Then I read this.

Thank you Susan and Lara.

itsthesheppy:
I have to wonder what the 'failure' condition is for her fighting off the rapist. Maybe they're just going to make it a cutscene. Because... ick, otherwise.

They've already addressed this - the attempt is entirely automated, you take control again at the part where she knees him and it turns into life-or-death.

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.

Uh... she doesn't get raped.

...As in, never. Not in the entire game. Crystal Dynamics have made this very clear. She DOES NOT get raped.

WHY DO PEOPLE NOT CATCH THIS?

"Oh, but they try!" Yeah, he touches her thigh and promptly gets his genitals crushed. Compare this to, say, the Japanese Metro, where dirty gropings are a daily occurrence for many women, but they aren't traumatized by it. Is it terrible? Yes. Will it cause breakdowns years later? No. There's a huge, huge difference between a failed attempt at assault and an actual assault. Please don't blur that line.

Susan Arendt:

Callate:

But when I see this kind of thing being pushed by Lara Croft, a character who for many years was everything video game companies longed for for themselves, I worry that two years from now we might see every hero's "success" "rewarded" by more scenes of their inevitable suffering.

I don't need more excuses to abandon the medium all together.

I don't quite understand what you mean by this - could you explain that a bit more?

Sorry I didn't get back to this sooner- I think the new Escapist format still has some bugs, (i.e. not letting me know when I've been quoted back.) And I'm not quite sure what part of my statement you don't understand, so pardons if I over/mis-explain.

So... Tomb Raider was the media darling for an extended period of time. Lara was appearing in non-industry magazines, advertising unrelated products, even modelling real-world fashions, not to mention the two movies.

Of late, the franchise has been under-performing. Things improved, by most accounts, when the property was moved away from Core and put in the hands of Crystal Dynamics. But it's never returned to the kind of headline-making, cross-cultural-saturation it once enjoyed.

So now we have the reboot. And it's definitely garnering some attention, even if whether said attention is positive or negative (or even if that will matter in the "all press is good press" sense) remains to be seen. But it does seem to have that attention, including the attention of the ever-cannibalistic game production line, always hungry for accessible trends that can be utilized in their next game.

If the new Tomb Raider succeeds, my concern is that the feature that is most likely to be recycled into other properties is that which I referred to as "Darker and Edgier 2.0". Wherein failure is greeted with prolonged scenes of painful death, and success is greeted with extended scenes of suffering.

One can argue whether the way the new TR is using these themes is meaningful and sympathy-inducing or merely exploitative and courting controversy for controversy's sake, and I suspect there are cases to be made for both points and the argument is likely to persist until, and possibly even past, the game's release.

What I have little doubt of, however, is that the game's success would see imitators that were ham-handed and cringeworthy. Possibly for an extended life cycle, since unlike cover mechanics or bullet-time, inflicting suffering on the protagonist doesn't require new technology. Treating the hero[ine] to a narrative of inevitable sadism could become next year's brown-and-grey.

It may be that TR will create a compelling new gaming experience. But I can't help but wish that it were a new IP, or an offering from an independent studio; something less likely to spawn imitators. However effective the new Lara may be, I don't want to play through a series of crawl-and-bleed simulators.

I think that the problems that people have with the attempted rape scene are threefold.

1)http://www.doesnotplaywellwithothers.com/comics/pwc-0050

This is the first reason. I admit that it was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the trailer. "Well, Lara's second reboot in this console generation and, oh look, they're going to work rape into it. How completely original." At what point did rape go from "horrific crime" to "overused motivation in every female character's story"? Rape in fiction has become the lazy writer's way to give a female character motivation.

Do you have a woman who has issues with her father? Well, you could go into complex motivations such as that he was someone who was always emotionally distant and was never there for her when she was growing up which would allow you to explore why he was that way. However, that's a lot of writing. Instead, you could just say "he raped her" and you have instant motivation.

Personally, I'm going to hold out for Metroid: Another M where we find out that Samus' REAL trauma comes from Ridley raping her when she was a child.

2) It is actually demeaning to women to continually resort to rape. Here is a woman who almost drowned, gets trapped on an island where she is hung upside down, has to set herself on fire to escape said hanging, lands on a bone (?) which goes right through her side, wild dogs try to eat her face, and other traumatic things happen to her. But she is a woman in a video game and, as we know, women can't feel any sort of real emotional trauma unless it involves rape. It is demeaning to women to say that they are so one-dimensional that the only way to make their motivations mean anything is to press the rape button.

3) It trivializes rape. When you continually make every origin story involve rape, it goes from being portrayed as this horrific crime that can scar a woman for years to having the same emotional impact as having Bowser kidnap the princess. What this eventually results in is rape being treated no differently than getting a headache and Kickstarter projects attracting misogynist hordes because it becomes so commonplace that people get desensitized to what it is.

In the end, the Lara Croft name has baggage. We all know that she's going to get off the island and become an amoral psychopath who murders everything that stands between her and the shinies. Given what we've seen of this game, she's going to have cutscenes where we think that she's actually a human....followed by gameplay periods of ultra-violence and a complete disregard for any wounds/emotional trauma that she suffered in a previous cutscene.

(Prediction sidenote: Lara's friend who gets dragged off? She's dead by the end of the game. We need a "best friend dying" scene to be checked off on the emotional trauma list.)

I think Crystal Dynamics knows it too which is why they're backpedaling on the scene. I think they're looking at the reaction and asking themselves "Guys, does this story really have the level of writing to avoid a Dickwolves backlash? Because, if it doesn't, we might want to drop that scene. It's not like we don't already have enough "break the cutie" scenes in the game."

Just to clarify, the scene didn't really bug me more than a rolling of the eyes and a "Oh, this again" reaction. However, I can see where a lot of people are coming from when they're protesting the scene in the trailer. I imagine that, especially for a rape survivor, seeing a game with Lara Croft: world's most murderous grave robber , use something traumatic as a throwaway piece to establish motivation is something that seems a little exploitive.

Woodsey:

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.

Here: http://jezebel.com/5918222/the-rapey-lara-croft-reboot-is-a-fucked+up-freudian-field-day

That's probably a good representation of the anti-New Lara design choices crowd. Argue with this, not me.

Again, my intent wasn't to advocate either way; I just saw misguided commenters claiming that the anti-NL people are trying to stop women from being hurt in games, which isn't really the case at all. Nobody gives a shit if a woman gets hit in a videogame, so long as it isn't in a sexualized/weirdly paternalized/whateverized way -- that's really the argument here.

tzimize:

A picture does not hurt anyone. Entertainment is voluntary.

While rape might feel worse at the time than a bullet to the head are you saying that you'd rather die than be raped?

I find it utterly retarded that people can get so up in arms over the DEPICTION of the rape of PIXELS. With all the other crazy shit we do in games, this is so light its nothing. I've sawed people in half in games. SAWED THEM IN HALF. Thats not quick, clean or sanitized.

You find it retarded that people get upset over depictions of rape. I take it you or someone you care about hasn't been raped? Or murdered? Are you that oblivious that you can't imagine a game offending someone who had? I don't think rape or murder in entertainment should be banned by any means, but I think we shouldn't act so cavalier about such a serious issue that effects real people. I don't require you to be offended, all you have to do is accept that this might bother people besides yourself.

veloper:

Square has trolled the internet magnificently and now all those indignant gamers are dirty accomplices for making that trailer a rape scene.

In the other lara rape thread (#10324031250), some poster said that the trailer is a very lazy way to create drama and he's right, but my god what drama. What free publicity.
+1 million for Square.

So you believe all publicity is good publicity? That this scene and its lousy justification won't cause some potential customers to avoid the title? I know people who are refusing to buy this game on principle, just from seeing the discussions around it.

maninahat:

veloper:

Square has trolled the internet magnificently and now all those indignant gamers are dirty accomplices for making that trailer a rape scene.

In the other lara rape thread (#10324031250), some poster said that the trailer is a very lazy way to create drama and he's right, but my god what drama. What free publicity.
+1 million for Square.

So you believe all publicity is good publicity? That this scene and its lousy justification won't cause some potential customers to avoid the title? I know people who are refusing to buy this game on principle, just from seeing the discussions around it.

In less highbrow locales I hear gamers talk about wanting to fail that QTE deliberately just to see what happens.

We may not be the intended audience. I won't play the game anyway, because QTEs are boring. The girls won't play it either, because they are upset, but what about all those teens and basement dwellers?
Tomb Raider sold on tits and ass. I reckon the company knows what audience they are targetting.

lacktheknack:
Uh... she doesn't get raped.

...As in, never. Not in the entire game. Crystal Dynamics have made this very clear. She DOES NOT get raped.

WHY DO PEOPLE NOT CATCH THIS?

Because they don't want to. it would ruin their rant. "Oh, I saw something that can be construed as rape, time to get on my Angry Horse!"

The trailer doesn't show anything close to rape, the Devs have said there is no rape. The angry "Upstanding Moral Citizens" want it to be rape. They want it to because not only does it force people to pay attention to them, but also because it gives them ammo to use against a company that they want shut down because their moral compass doesn't point to True North like theirs supposedly does.

Alpha Maeko:

Farther than stars:
I'd consider rewording

No.

Every creepy crawly idea that people normally shun gets explored in entertainment every day. This scene in the trailer reveals intent- nothing more. Yet, the very idea makes people grab their torches? Get over it.

That's not what I said. I, too, agree that any subject matter should be discussable, but "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" can be misconstrued as "rape is fine as long as it's in video games". The idea of rape should always be shunned, but that doesn't mean it can't be discussed.

maninahat:

tzimize:

A picture does not hurt anyone. Entertainment is voluntary.

While rape might feel worse at the time than a bullet to the head are you saying that you'd rather die than be raped?

I find it utterly retarded that people can get so up in arms over the DEPICTION of the rape of PIXELS. With all the other crazy shit we do in games, this is so light its nothing. I've sawed people in half in games. SAWED THEM IN HALF. Thats not quick, clean or sanitized.

You find it retarded that people get upset over depictions of rape. I take it you or someone you care about hasn't been raped? Or murdered? Are you that oblivious that you can't imagine a game offending someone who had? I don't think rape or murder in entertainment should be banned by any means, but I think we shouldn't act so cavalier about such a serious issue that effects real people. I don't require you to be offended, all you have to do is accept that this might bother people besides yourself.

Oh, I can totally imagine and accept that. Even though I find it pretty annoying that people get offended by anything that isnt real. The problem is that offended people can so often be like religious fanatics. They yell and shout about being offended and demand the destruction of their item of woe.

A couple of years ago my girlfriends brother died in a terrible and quite brutal car crash. It was the worst thing that has happened in my life. But not for a tiny second did I consider to yell and bitch about car games, the speed people drive in games, or that you can mow down people in GTA or Carmageddon.

If people want to be offended by stuff, fine. But that doesnt mean that the game/movie/whatever that offends should be censored and forgotten! It just means that they should either deal with being offended or not touch that particular product!

Instead they usually yell and shout and complain to a company like "How can you depict such a horrible acts?" "Do you support rape?!" Et cetera. This leads to bad PR and the company pulls the content or falls over themselves excusing everything and anything. And mine and others entertainment pool is poorer as a result.

What about people that has been stalked? Or victims of attempted murder? Should we destroy Cape Fear? Thats a terrific movie btw. Even if the content is "offending".

I fail to understand why we should treat rape any different that murder or any other offensive actions that are depicted daily in our entertainment. And I also fail to see why any of these things should not be available for the entertainment of those who want to watch/play it. Entertainment after all is a voluntary exercise. If you find a movie/game offending. It is within your rights to turn it off.

Sure, it's cool that when the protagonist gets hurt, we feel bad, but isn't that the idea that we're trying to give up here? The whole concept that it's somehow worse to hurt a woman than to hurt a man works hand-in-hand with the idea that women can't defend themselves. I believe that lara is all about looking past the pain, pushing it aside to get to the real matters at hand. She's been told all her life that she's weaker than everyone else, that she wouldn't survive in a man's world, and maybe that's what keeps her going no matter how many times she's imphaled (how's that for rape themes, eh?).
I guess what I'm saying isn't too much different from the article itself, which I guess is good: it seems like this game is getting the point across.

Farther than stars:

Alpha Maeko:

Farther than stars:
I'd consider rewording

No.

Every creepy crawly idea that people normally shun gets explored in entertainment every day. This scene in the trailer reveals intent- nothing more. Yet, the very idea makes people grab their torches? Get over it.

That's not what I said. I, too, agree that any subject matter should be discussable, but "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" can be misconstrued as "rape is fine as long as it's in video games". The idea of rape should always be shunned, but that doesn't mean it can't be discussed.

On that I can't argue. You're right. I didn't mean for it to come across that way.

tzimize:

maninahat:

tzimize:

snip

snip

Oh, I can totally imagine and accept that. Even though I find it pretty annoying that people get offended by anything that isnt real. The problem is that offended people can so often be like religious fanatics. They yell and shout about being offended and demand the destruction of their item of woe.

A couple of years ago my girlfriends brother died in a terrible and quite brutal car crash. It was the worst thing that has happened in my life. But not for a tiny second did I consider to yell and bitch about car games, the speed people drive in games, or that you can mow down people in GTA or Carmageddon.

If people want to be offended by stuff, fine. But that doesnt mean that the game/movie/whatever that offends should be censored and forgotten! It just means that they should either deal with being offended or not touch that particular product!

Instead they usually yell and shout and complain to a company like "How can you depict such a horrible acts?" "Do you support rape?!" Et cetera. This leads to bad PR and the company pulls the content or falls over themselves excusing everything and anything. And mine and others entertainment pool is poorer as a result.

Let's get this clear - people don't want to be offended by anything, they simply are or they aren't. They aren't (normally) yelling or acting like fanatics, they are simply voicing their concerns about an issue that effects them. They don't necessarily want anything banned, they simply want to draw attention to the problem it presents.

If you find a movie/game offending. It is within your rights to turn it off.

And it is also within our rights to complain about it. Turning off an offensive thing isn't always enough - the damage to broader society will still be done whether you watch it or not. By complaining about it, you might convince others to stand with you on the issue, and in turn, encourage a change for the better. Of course, you don't have to agree with any such complaint.

veloper:

maninahat:

veloper:

Square has trolled the internet magnificently and now all those indignant gamers are dirty accomplices for making that trailer a rape scene.

In the other lara rape thread (#10324031250), some poster said that the trailer is a very lazy way to create drama and he's right, but my god what drama. What free publicity.
+1 million for Square.

So you believe all publicity is good publicity? That this scene and its lousy justification won't cause some potential customers to avoid the title? I know people who are refusing to buy this game on principle, just from seeing the discussions around it.

In less highbrow locales I hear gamers talk about wanting to fail that QTE deliberately just to see what happens.

We may not be the intended audience. I won't play the game anyway, because QTEs are boring. The girls won't play it either, because they are upset, but what about all those teens and basement dwellers?
Tomb Raider sold on tits and ass. I reckon the company knows what audience they are targetting.

Maybe so, but then this shift towards telling more "mature", serious narratives suggests at least some attempt to get away from appealing to the lowest common denominator. Unfortunately, "mature" to a lot of people seems to mean "darker and gritty", which in turn means "cussing, slow motion gore, and rape scenes" (ironically becoming gratuitous and immature again). I get the impression that this title is falling into the same trap.

I do agree with how the trailer definitely shows some good things about the game. While I can see the rape implications, I really don't mind, because it's kinda showing how this protagonist, unlike many other protagonists of recent years, is actually 'vulnerable' and you can see that they're not exactly the one man army that drills through most video games.

Because let's be honest. When you're drilling past bad guys with your giant minigun in CoD, stopping to catch your breath and wipe the jam off of your face every five seconds by ducking behind a crate, you don't feel like some guy that just happens to be quicker than the mook behind that crate just a few meters ahead of you. No, instead you feel like a true demigod, like your own personal Rambo, and that the fodder only serves to be made a deposit of a couple pounds of heated lead.

Lara here feels like an actual human, which, in something like this, will definitely help the story. Let's hope now that the actual story is a step up from the last Tomb Raider stories, which were... nothing special.

I don't see why they have to make this version darker and edgier. I don't have a problem with the idea per say, but the way it's being marketed makes me think they don't know what to do with the character. I mean, they make such a big deal about how this Lara is a different, developed character, but all I've seen is her getting hurt continuously. That does not make a deep character. I think the reason most people are offended is not because of her getting hurt, specifically, but rather that she is pointlessly hurt, just to elicit a reaction from us, instead of it being part of a character arc, as some have said. All this so called "exploitation" seems like an attention grabbing gimmick.

I might just be a little pessimistic, but when you make it such a big deal that you are going to re-imagine the character, and then talk at length about how it's gonna be so awesome when she's getting hurt, people can't help but form opinions.

I'm worried that this is just gonna be one of those "We're till relevant, see. BLOOD, PAIN, RAPE." hard-boiled reboots that people will be too ashamed to talk about in a few years.

I'm adding another post to the "Yay Susan!" side. I'm going to add more, though, which comes from my comments from another thread.

God forbid we have a protagonist that isn't Blank Slate Badass #3346 and a character that actually experiences human emotions and is not fucking invincible. Normally, this would be a good thing and celebrated for breaking the mold and creating an actual character instead of a cardboard cut-out. But, the beating she takes is the only thing focused on while completely ignoring that throughout the entire trailer she shows herself to still be quite competent, strong, skillful, and braver than any person has any right to be.

This kind of article is why I love Susan Arendt.

(In a totally platonic, keep-your-clothes-on kinda way)

I've read probably a dozen books where a main female character was implicitly raped and never have I felt the need to tell the author that it didn't belong or that it was wrong to include it. There's nothing about this that doesn't follow a certain logic within the context of the trailer. The guy was going to rape her. Period. He doesn't succeed, but it was going to happen. And even if she WAS raped, it would be absolutely horrifying but could still conceivably serve as a character moment IF HANDLED CORRECTLY. It can be done and I believe games are capable of being just as mature as other mediums to convey it.

HOWEVER, if it was instead used as an excuse to show Lara in sexually explicit poses for blatant, horrifying fanservice.... I'd probably punch my own teeth out.

Personally, I agree at least partially with what Susan Arendt said in regards to the trailer. Not going to mention what I didn't because this argument is as fruitless as any other the internet bears.

One thing that DOES bother me about it(besides how hilarious it gets as misfortune after misfortune is piled on, bitterly realistic in the cases of some people though it is), is that this doesn't seem like it has anything to do with exploring weird old places that have all kinds of crazy monsters and awesome treasures inside. Sure, the vogue is to have an at least nominally human enemy, but unless they're planning on contrasting grubby and disgusting human evil with cold and remorseless inhuman evil, I don't see any kind of connection between "I was lost on an island and had to turn myself into a badass just to keep living" and "I hunt down fantastic treasures and face down ancient monsters, pretty much for fun and profit". Of course, it might be that this is the Secret History of Lara Croft, and all along this was when she decided to become a treasure-hunter.

Of course, a large part of me still dislikes that she HAS to have a traumatic past that 'turned her into' an awesome fighter(insofar as that is the case...) and courageous battler of evil. If she had begun a life like that of her own volition, wouldn't it be even more interesting? Seeing what kind of villains she fought, places she went, figuring out the puzzles and unraveling the riddles that got her into the business.

Not saying an examination of how normal people can become extraordinary under duress isn't interesting and fun too, but my preference is to play things to get away from depressing realities.

Otters34:
Personally, I agree at least partially with what Susan Arendt said in regards to the trailer. Not going to mention what I didn't because this argument is as fruitless as any other the internet bears.

One thing that DOES bother me about it(besides how hilarious it gets as misfortune after misfortune is piled on, bitterly realistic in the cases of some people though it is), is that this doesn't seem like it has anything to do with exploring weird old places that have all kinds of crazy monsters and awesome treasures inside. Sure, the vogue is to have an at least nominally human enemy, but unless they're planning on contrasting grubby and disgusting human evil with cold and remorseless inhuman evil, I don't see any kind of connection between "I was lost on an island and had to turn myself into a badass just to keep living" and "I hunt down fantastic treasures and face down ancient monsters, pretty much for fun and profit". Of course, it might be that this is the Secret History of Lara Croft, and all along this was when she decided to become a treasure-hunter.

Of course, a large part of me still dislikes that she HAS to have a traumatic past that 'turned her into' an awesome fighter(insofar as that is the case...) and courageous battler of evil. If she had begun a life like that of her own volition, wouldn't it be even more interesting? Seeing what kind of villains she fought, places she went, figuring out the puzzles and unraveling the riddles that got her into the business.

Not saying an examination of how normal people can become extraordinary under duress isn't interesting and fun too, but my preference is to play things to get away from depressing realities.

That's a really interesting point, and not one I've heard much. What I do know, from the little I know about the game, is that Lara didn't end up on that island by accident, and (if I remember correctly) something at least somewhat supernatural is going on. Now, if in the course of fighting wolves and bandits Lara also happens to encounter some kind of island hoodoo weirdness, that could certainly explain how the interest was sparked in her, and how she ended up pursuing such matters around the world.

Much of that is speculation, of course, but I think you've addressed something quite interesting.

maninahat:

tzimize:

A picture does not hurt anyone. Entertainment is voluntary.

While rape might feel worse at the time than a bullet to the head are you saying that you'd rather die than be raped?

I find it utterly retarded that people can get so up in arms over the DEPICTION of the rape of PIXELS. With all the other crazy shit we do in games, this is so light its nothing. I've sawed people in half in games. SAWED THEM IN HALF. Thats not quick, clean or sanitized.

You find it retarded that people get upset over depictions of rape. I take it you or someone you care about hasn't been raped? Or murdered? Are you that oblivious that you can't imagine a game offending someone who had? I don't think rape or murder in entertainment should be banned by any means, but I think we shouldn't act so cavalier about such a serious issue that effects real people. I don't require you to be offended, all you have to do is accept that this might bother people besides yourself.

I'm more of the persuasion that I don't care if something offends somebody.

There was a time when that was the end of it. "I'm offended." "Oh well, sucks to be you." "Yeah...it does..."

These days we act like that means there should be some reaction, some apology, etc. It's nonsense, everything offends somebody somewhere.

But that's neither pro nor con to your point, more a related observation. I was nearly murdered as a kid, and I mean that quite literally, but I don't find myself throwing a fit everytime someone makes a film with murder splattered about like its nothing.

But there are others that I suspect are very sensitive to it, and really that's as far as that train goes. They are offended and that's that, changing anything because of offense is a poor action and really reinforces bad habits.

thepyrethatburns:
Rape in fiction has become the lazy writer's way to give a female character motivation.

I'm pretty sure the whole trapped on an island, tied upside down, friend strung up and killed, team killed and or captured was motivation enough. It isn't rape here, but the attempt of rape and in context, was "Rape is bad, look at this obvious bad guy trying to abuse his power on Laura. It's already shown that this guy is a bad guy and he'll do what bad men do to pretty women bound when nobody is looking." With so MUCH rape that happens in the world, might it be a common story arc because it also happens a lot?

thepyrethatburns:

But she is a woman in a video game and, as we know, women can't feel any sort of real emotional trauma unless it involves rape. It is demeaning to women to say that they are so one-dimensional that the only way to make their motivations mean anything is to press the rape button.

Again, there is plenty of agency on the case of Laura before this occurs.

thepyrethatburns:
What this eventually results in is rape being treated no differently than getting a headache and Kickstarter projects attracting misogynist hordes because it becomes so commonplace that people get desensitized to what it is.

Really? I'm pretty sure that Rape = Bad isn't a message we should complain about in terms of it being too much. Now, if rape was the ONLY reason why she was doing what she was doing, yes lazy writing. Although the attempt of rape was what, 5 seconds of the trailer with plenty of other things happening that could give her motivation to escape the island and get revenge for her team.

DVS BSTrD:
Of course there's also the fact that we've gotten used to the original version of Lara, having her be so helpless feels like a betrayal of the character herself.

The thing that bothers me is the way it keeps getting thrown in our faces. She almost drowns on the ship hammering on the safety hatch, wakes up wrapped in a cocoon, escapes only to be impaled in the fall, has to make her way back through the cave crying to herself "how am I going to get out of here?", not to mention her captures repeatedly jumping out and grabbing her even while the cave collapses around her. WE GET IT! SHE'S NEW AT THIS! STOP KNOCKING HER DOWN FOR ONE SECOND!

the devs took the saying 'I'd hit that!' too serious....

----------------------------

i think the developers tried to do just that. show laras stubbornness and how she can overcome the greatest odds against her through willpower.

some people are upset that they advertise it with 'hey lara might get almost raped, you might see boobies. buy our game/more dlc!'

some people are upset because it is not the 'i just pulled the knife out of my leg and used it to cauterise my wound' badass lara from the other parts.

some are upset because they try to manipulate us and appeal to out inner gentlemen/white knight (depends on wich way you view it) too much.
and /or try to torture our beloved lara just for shock value.

and some are upset because they are trying to be all serious when laras adventures never really were so dark and 'realistic'

they always have a good mix of serious and hilarious with lots of suspension of disbelief.

like max payne for example
image

I'll admit I still don't know how to feel about this.
Personally I feel it was not needed as an addition to Lara (and I agree with people saying it might have been better done in new IP).

As for that guys comments about `protecting Lara`, I think that was just dumb.
It certainly implies that guys cant identify with a female protagonist, which isn't true at all. Most games I'm forced to play as the opposite gender, and it doesn't really effect immersion (except when I forget and then get called `Sir` in-game or something).

Good point.

I have always had trouble with my character or the protagonist getting raped or close to it. No experience with it personally on any level even with female friends and family but it has always bothered me. To the point where I quit reading a book series because of it. I quit buying any books by that female author. I no longer trust her.

I would have less trouble with the Tomb Raider knowing about it up front. That and a certain S. Ardent told me to get back up.

In response to the how to save yourself books we need a video game where you play as a girl. The goal is to see how many men you can get killed that are trying to protect, help or impress you. I'd play that. Oh! I left my favorite purse over by the oak tree. The thunderstorm scares me so would the big strong man go fetch it for me? Zap ... 250XP!

I definitely appreciate Susan Arendt's perspective that the trailer highlights Lara Croft's perseverance and push to survive. And those are indeed admirable traits.

I wish, though, that Ms. Arendt might have addressed the following:

The complaints I've read about the Tomb Raider trailer revolve around the idea that Lara Croft has to have been a victim/near-victim in order to become badass. And that there is an implication in some contemporary pop culture, the Tomb Raider trailer included, that women who are badass MUST have been raped/near raped/assaulted in some way or else they'd never become the kind of heroes they are. I think that's where the accusations of sexism come in, the idea that a woman can't become a hero unless she's suffered in a very specific way first. Or even that a woman character isn't interesting unless she's suffered in a very specific way.

And THAT is a problematic idea. IF Tomb Raider is playing into that trope, it does muddy the waters to say the very, very least.

I wish I could remember the source--but it's the Internet, I tend to read things and move on--but I remember reading on another game site the suggestion that the reason why people enjoyed Lara was because basically she just decided to be an adventurer and went out and did it. And there's no reason, especially within the video game fantasy world, why she can't just be a fun-loving adventurer. In a way, in this day and age, that absolute freedom from dark-and-edginess is in a way, more novel and refreshing. Sure, it makes it easier to leave character background shallow, and that is in itself problematic. But I think some of the complaints about Lara have boiled down to, "She was just FUN. Why couldn't you leave well enough alone?" For a character designed to entertain, I think it's a fair argument, even if there's also a lot of room for disagreement. (I think I did

Bringing around to the beginning of the discussion, again, I think it is an extremely good point that to see a woman get up again and fight past the odds IS inspiring. And it IS, I absolutely agree. I just also think the questions "why Lara Croft specifically?" and "why do we do this, especially with the implied sexual assault, to female heroes in particular?" are good concerns to examine.

As for the game itself, I'll guess we'll see how they handle it as a whole when it comes out.

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