The Craft Behind Croft

The Craft Behind Croft

We discuss videogame writing, female characters, and tea with the woman crafting the new Lara Croft, Rhianna Pratchett.

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interesting interview. im sure people in the TR forum would like to read it as well.

Nice interview! Keep up the good work, oh queen Susan!

I can completely understand why people were initially upset, but it really is important for players to see, and judge, that scene in context. Only then is it more obvious that the scene isn't about the guy's fumblings, but Lara's reaction (which wasn't fully shown in the trailer.) If we felt that sexual assault was important for Lara's journey, then it would have been used much more strongly. But we didn't, so it isn't. What you see in that scene is very honest and appropriate for those characters in that moment. It's not prolonged. It's not done for titillation. It's uncomfortable, yes. Because it should be!

Character is not built in a few fleeting moments, but by a series of challenges, actions and reactions. Lara has already faced quite a bit of adversity before that scene and will go on to face many more. There is no magic switch to bad-assery.

Jesus, why wasn't this person the one making statements a few months ago instead Ron goddamned Rosenburg? It would have been a lot better for my blood pressure.

Seventh Actuality:

Jesus, why wasn't this person the one making statements a few months ago instead Ron goddamned Rosenburg? It would have been a lot better for my blood pressure.

lol. good question. her answer to it sounds far better then the answers they gave back then. she could have calmed down the whole problem with her statement.
but well, things calmed down pretty well and no one it bitching about it. so lets forget about it and just wait for the game to come out next year.

=D Such an awesome interview, Rhianna P. is clearly an amazing person

I didn't realise it was Rhianna writing for Lara. Now I'm even more stoked than I was before! Faith was a great female character, primarily because it didn't matter that she was female, she was a person. High hopes the same can be done for Lara.

I love her last answer... I have the tendency to overthink scenarios too... and that I really enjoyed! :P

Metalrocks:

Seventh Actuality:

Jesus, why wasn't this person the one making statements a few months ago instead Ron goddamned Rosenburg? It would have been a lot better for my blood pressure.

lol. good question. her answer to it sounds far better then the answers they gave back then. she could have calmed down the whole problem with her statement.
but well, things calmed down pretty well and no one it bitching about it. so lets forget about it and just wait for the game to come out next year.

Plus the simple fact that she is a woman would have made all those arguements that lara is some patriarchial fantasy damn near moot.

Also her understanding of "that scene" is spot on. I gotta say this to all of you that I argued with in defense of this game a few months back.

image

And it feels damn fine let me tell you.

too bad Rhianna has a bad track record with games; Heavenly Sword dropped the ball and Faith in Mirror's Edge was a hunk of cardboard

Susan Arendt:
The Tomb Raider trailer created a great deal of controversy because people felt that it implied that Lara would have to go through a sexual trauma in order to become the heroine we know today - that unless she was assaulted, she'd never find the inner strength she needed to overcome obstacles. How did you feel as that storm grew? Did it ever make you consider changing the way Lara is presented in the game?

Just because YOU wanted that to be the reason everyone was upset with that scene doesn't mean it actually was Susan. It was the fact that she repeatedly brutalized and helpless through-out that damn trailer and they just happend to cap it off with her getting sexually assaulted.

What pissed me off FAR more about that scene in particular was the spineless way they backtracked on it, We all know what he was planning to do to her. Saying "rape isn't in our vocabulary" just takes away any significance or weight it would have had. If you're going to put your character in that position and use it as fucking SELLING point for your game, than at least have the threat be real!

I'm genuinely excited for this Tomb Raider reboot. The last one I had enjoyed was the second game on the original PlayStation, everything else felt like a chore to play and got progressively derivative.

The focus on narrative is what is interesting me the most, as well as the sort of coming-of-age origin story of Lara Croft.

DVS BSTrD:

Susan Arendt:
The Tomb Raider trailer created a great deal of controversy because people felt that it implied that Lara would have to go through a sexual trauma in order to become the heroine we know today - that unless she was assaulted, she'd never find the inner strength she needed to overcome obstacles. How did you feel as that storm grew? Did it ever make you consider changing the way Lara is presented in the game?

Just because YOU wanted that to be the reason everyone was upset with that scene doesn't mean it actually was Susan. It was the fact that she repeatedly brutalized and helpless through-out that damn trailer and they just happend to cap it off with her getting sexually assaulted.

What pissed me off FAR more about that scene in particular was the spineless way they backtracked on it, We all know what he was planning to do to her. Saying "rape isn't in our vocabulary" just takes away any significance or weight it would have had. If you're going to put your character in that position and use it as fucking SELLING point for your game, than at least have the threat be real!

Kindly don't make assumptions about what I do and do not think. I should, however, have said "because some people felt," because not everyone's issue with that particular trailer was the same.

Susan Arendt:

DVS BSTrD:

Susan Arendt:
The Tomb Raider trailer created a great deal of controversy because people felt that it implied that Lara would have to go through a sexual trauma in order to become the heroine we know today - that unless she was assaulted, she'd never find the inner strength she needed to overcome obstacles. How did you feel as that storm grew? Did it ever make you consider changing the way Lara is presented in the game?

Just because YOU wanted that to be the reason everyone was upset with that scene doesn't mean it actually was Susan. It was the fact that she repeatedly brutalized and helpless through-out that damn trailer and they just happend to cap it off with her getting sexually assaulted.

What pissed me off FAR more about that scene in particular was the spineless way they backtracked on it, We all know what he was planning to do to her. Saying "rape isn't in our vocabulary" just takes away any significance or weight it would have had. If you're going to put your character in that position and use it as fucking SELLING point for your game, than at least have the threat be real!

Kindly don't make assumptions about what I do and do not think. I should, however, have said "because some people felt," because not everyone's issue with that particular trailer was the same.

Thank you. I was particularly offended because the concept of the assault being necessary for her to find inner strength was one of the few aspects of the trailer I didn't have a problem with. In fact, it's proven quite true with real women.
image

DVS BSTrD:

Susan Arendt:

DVS BSTrD:
Just because YOU wanted that to be the reason everyone was upset with that scene doesn't mean it actually was Susan. It was the fact that she repeatedly brutalized and helpless through-out that damn trailer and they just happend to cap it off with her getting sexually assaulted.

What pissed me off FAR more about that scene in particular was the spineless way they backtracked on it, We all know what he was planning to do to her. Saying "rape isn't in our vocabulary" just takes away any significance or weight it would have had. If you're going to put your character in that position and use it as fucking SELLING point for your game, than at least have the threat be real!

Kindly don't make assumptions about what I do and do not think. I should, however, have said "because some people felt," because not everyone's issue with that particular trailer was the same.

Thank you. I was particularly offended because the concept of the assault being necessary for her to find inner strength was one of the few aspects of the trailer I didn't have a problem with. In fact, it's proven quite true with real women.
image

is that anne oakley?

rbstewart7263:

DVS BSTrD:

Susan Arendt:

Kindly don't make assumptions about what I do and do not think. I should, however, have said "because some people felt," because not everyone's issue with that particular trailer was the same.

Thank you. I was particularly offended because the concept of the assault being necessary for her to find inner strength was one of the few aspects of the trailer I didn't have a problem with. In fact, it's proven quite true with real women.
image

is that anne oakley?

Yeah she didn't exactly have the easiest childhood.

DVS BSTrD:

rbstewart7263:

DVS BSTrD:
Thank you. I was particularly offended because the concept of the assault being necessary for her to find inner strength was one of the few aspects of the trailer I didn't have a problem with. In fact, it's proven quite true with real women.
image

is that anne oakley?

Yeah she didn't exactly have the easiest childhood.

very cool

I think its interesting actually that people so hate this said "trope" if its in fact a trope ive yet to find a movie that exemplifies this idea and I think its a strawman. particulary because you have two controversials here. Woman and rape. were it. woman and drug problem makes you strong or even better. man and drug problem. we wouldnt be having this discussion now would we.

Shit happening to you is often the cause of either growth or decline depending on you as the person and how you deal with things. sometimes rape is one of those things that will make or break you and hollywood shouldnt have to limit its stories because some people are offended whether there doing it "right" or not.

rbstewart7263:
snip

hmm, let me start my point with this, while i kinda of agree with you , rape is complicated, you see. because there is a "wrong way" to do rape and it would be far more counter productive than productive, you know that kinda of rape that really isn't rape but just sexual fetishizing of the victim kinda thing, that just displays the creepiness of who ever is in charge of the project. you don't want that, it in a sense is the same as other "tropes" like [all random black people in a film have to be ghetto to some degree] "trope" that isnt exactly how you want things to be portrayed and in the end its probably doing a negative.

next again while i do not want creatives create minds to be styfled to much ( but they are always stopped), rape is weird. its what i would define a human issue, because i can argue for days how i can justify killing a person, but rape its a horrible unnecessary thing that happens for no justifiable reason, i think the reason people shy away from that stuff in their entertainment is because they don't understand it, and they never will. sure they can get the scientific explanation on why someones does it, and what it does to the victim. but its still a gap between them and those involved in a rape, so its just a horrifying experience they cant on many levels connect to. race stuff in our entertainment is still tipped toes around despite you may think, especially in this video game business.

so i think it is a matter of it being done right, and who is going to actually engage in the entertainment.

Great interview!

When I started reading I was worried by the credits referenced, since all were thrubbed by various reviewers. That said, I loved Overlord and haven't played the others (I'm a PC nerd). Reading the interview, I could see the thoughtfulness and independence of spirit that made me love Overlord.

I also noted that it doesn't read like a PR script, but like a developer trying to explain their vision while under tight deadlines and a persistent cloud of controversy.

Again, well done!

The Tall Nerd:

rbstewart7263:
snip

hmm, let me start my point with this, while i kinda of agree with you , rape is complicated, you see. because there is a "wrong way" to do rape and it would be far more counter productive than productive, you know that kinda of rape that really isn't rape but just sexual fetishizing of the victim kinda thing, that just displays the creepiness of who ever is in charge of the project. you don't want that, it in a sense is the same as other "tropes" like [all random black people in a film have to be ghetto to some degree] "trope" that isnt exactly how you want things to be portrayed and in the end its probably doing a negative.

next again while i do not want creatives create minds to be styfled to much ( but they are always stopped), rape is weird. its what i would define a human issue, because i can argue for days how i can justify killing a person, but rape its a horrible unnecessary thing that happens for no justifiable reason, i think the reason people shy away from that stuff in their entertainment is because they don't understand it, and they never will. sure they can get the scientific explanation on why someones does it, and what it does to the victim. but its still a gap between them and those involved in a rape, so its just a horrifying experience they cant on many levels connect to. race stuff in our entertainment is still tipped toes around despite you may think, especially in this video game business.

so i think it is a matter of it being done right, and who is going to actually engage in the entertainment.

In a perfect world it will always be done right but since "right" is an objective thing and this is not a perfect world well have times where people are split on a particular part or scene of a movie/game. better to just let it out there and let us all judge for ourselves a movies failures/ merits in my opinion.

But if I had my way everything would be appropriate within context to what is going on. That said im a lover of offensive humor so what offends me doesnt offend others. In general though if a rape scene makes me feel icky and uncomfortable than it was probably done "right".

Good interview. It's nice to hear from the writer what the intent was instead of a bunch of other people with minimal PR training and armchair internet generals.

Great interview, Susan! I'm really looking forward to this new version if Lara. Having been a fan since the beginning of the Tomb Raider series, I think they couldn't have taken her in a better direction than this. Hopefully the series will come back into its own and be recognised as such.

rbstewart7263:

In a perfect world it will always be done right but since "right" is an objective thing and this is not a perfect world well have times where people are split on a particular part or scene of a movie/game. better to just let it out there and let us all judge for ourselves a movies failures/ merits in my opinion.

But if I had my way everything would be appropriate within context to what is going on. That said im a lover of offensive humor so what offends me doesnt offend others. In general though if a rape scene makes me feel icky and uncomfortable than it was probably done "right".

to be quite honest its only a few ways, its thrown in and not relevant to the story, its sexualized and fetishized, or its incorporated well.

and as far as offensive humor goes, i dont really find rape funny its a horrible experience, so horrible that death to some degree is more relatable than rape, because it happens too everyone. so i suppose that's why rape jokes don't go over well, i don't think its really you dont find it offensive rather than you find offensive stuff funny, which is fine, to some degree. you always have extremists, a commediean Daniel tosh explained it well " i am going to cross moral lines today , if i do its alright, sometimes i cross my own that's how i know i still have one" or something like that, he can tell the joke its offensive and some find it funny but he is not going to get mad at you if you don't find it funny, because it was offensive. sorry waaay off topic

back to the point i believe that you can always portray something badly that's how you get bad films in general, and i rather have a rape in a film make me feel bad because rape is bad, rather than the director showing his weird sexual fetishes on camera,

Quijiboh:
I didn't realise it was Rhianna writing for Lara. Now I'm even more stoked than I was before! Faith was a great female character, primarily because it didn't matter that she was female, she was a person. High hopes the same can be done for Lara.

The character writing was the main reason I still consider ME one of my favourite games, despite the somewhat awful level design.

Ninjat_126:

The character writing was the main reason I still consider ME one of my favourite games, despite the somewhat awful level design.

If there's one game I'd recommend people play on PC, it would be Mirror's Edge. For most first person games the lack of fine precision in console controllers doesn't matter, but the level design and mechanics flow a lot better for Mirror's Edge with a keyboard and mouse.

The Tall Nerd:

rbstewart7263:

In a perfect world it will always be done right but since "right" is an objective thing and this is not a perfect world well have times where people are split on a particular part or scene of a movie/game. better to just let it out there and let us all judge for ourselves a movies failures/ merits in my opinion.

But if I had my way everything would be appropriate within context to what is going on. That said im a lover of offensive humor so what offends me doesnt offend others. In general though if a rape scene makes me feel icky and uncomfortable than it was probably done "right".

to be quite honest its only a few ways, its thrown in and not relevant to the story, its sexualized and fetishized, or its incorporated well.

and as far as offensive humor goes, i dont really find rape funny its a horrible experience, so horrible that death to some degree is more relatable than rape, because it happens too everyone. so i suppose that's why rape jokes don't go over well, i don't think its really you dont find it offensive rather than you find offensive stuff funny, which is fine, to some degree. you always have extremists, a commediean Daniel tosh explained it well " i am going to cross moral lines today , if i do its alright, sometimes i cross my own that's how i know i still have one" or something like that, he can tell the joke its offensive and some find it funny but he is not going to get mad at you if you don't find it funny, because it was offensive. sorry waaay off topic

back to the point i believe that you can always portray something badly that's how you get bad films in general, and i rather have a rape in a film make me feel bad because rape is bad, rather than the director showing his weird sexual fetishes on camera,

Well thank you sir for not condemning me as some sort of rape enabler or something like that I appreciate your understanding.

For the record I always have the what I call "whats cool whats not" talk with someone.

rbstewart7263:

The Tall Nerd:

rbstewart7263:

In a perfect world it will always be done right but since "right" is an objective thing and this is not a perfect world well have times where people are split on a particular part or scene of a movie/game. better to just let it out there and let us all judge for ourselves a movies failures/ merits in my opinion.

But if I had my way everything would be appropriate within context to what is going on. That said im a lover of offensive humor so what offends me doesnt offend others. In general though if a rape scene makes me feel icky and uncomfortable than it was probably done "right".

to be quite honest its only a few ways, its thrown in and not relevant to the story, its sexualized and fetishized, or its incorporated well.

and as far as offensive humor goes, i dont really find rape funny its a horrible experience, so horrible that death to some degree is more relatable than rape, because it happens too everyone. so i suppose that's why rape jokes don't go over well, i don't think its really you dont find it offensive rather than you find offensive stuff funny, which is fine, to some degree. you always have extremists, a commediean Daniel tosh explained it well " i am going to cross moral lines today , if i do its alright, sometimes i cross my own that's how i know i still have one" or something like that, he can tell the joke its offensive and some find it funny but he is not going to get mad at you if you don't find it funny, because it was offensive. sorry waaay off topic

back to the point i believe that you can always portray something badly that's how you get bad films in general, and i rather have a rape in a film make me feel bad because rape is bad, rather than the director showing his weird sexual fetishes on camera,

Well thank you sir for not condemning me as some sort of rape enabler or something like that I appreciate your understanding.

For the record I always have the what I call "whats cool whats not" talk with someone before I cut loose.

rbstewart7263:

rbstewart7263:

The Tall Nerd:

to be quite honest its only a few ways, its thrown in and not relevant to the story, its sexualized and fetishized, or its incorporated well.

and as far as offensive humor goes, i dont really find rape funny its a horrible experience, so horrible that death to some degree is more relatable than rape, because it happens too everyone. so i suppose that's why rape jokes don't go over well, i don't think its really you dont find it offensive rather than you find offensive stuff funny, which is fine, to some degree. you always have extremists, a commediean Daniel tosh explained it well " i am going to cross moral lines today , if i do its alright, sometimes i cross my own that's how i know i still have one" or something like that, he can tell the joke its offensive and some find it funny but he is not going to get mad at you if you don't find it funny, because it was offensive. sorry waaay off topic

back to the point i believe that you can always portray something badly that's how you get bad films in general, and i rather have a rape in a film make me feel bad because rape is bad, rather than the director showing his weird sexual fetishes on camera,

Well thank you sir for not condemning me as some sort of rape enabler or something like that I appreciate your understanding.

For the record I always have the what I call "whats cool whats not" talk with someone before I cut loose.

no man its cool, i have to go though this type of explanation with good amount of people. with the n word. its a lot of " i have a black friend so that makes OK " type people, im not going to go into whats statistically wrong with that type of statement because, you know 1 black person means all black people, for some reason. but you get the idea, and you are far from a rape enabler, you just find something funny that i dot, i happen to think that gta san andreas until now were the only gta's with funny an interesting stories, im not a violence enabler, i just like gta and that aspect in particular. that's life, differences, change, cosnatants, anyways let me not get to philosophical, this is a game made by square enix, they are going do that for us at some point, and then we fight a bad guy with silver hair who is our half father from the darkness future.

and its good you have that talk, i think people should have that talk more often , the "to an extent clause" that you never see behind rules, is always there and people forget that.

The Tall Nerd:

rbstewart7263:

rbstewart7263:

Well thank you sir for not condemning me as some sort of rape enabler or something like that I appreciate your understanding.

For the record I always have the what I call "whats cool whats not" talk with someone before I cut loose.

no man its cool, i have to go though this type of explanation with good amount of people. with the n word. its a lot of " i have a black friend so that makes OK " type people, im not going to go into whats statistically wrong with that type of statement because, you know 1 black person means all black people, for some reason. but you get the idea, and you are far from a rape enabler, you just find something funny that i dot, i happen to think that gta san andreas until now were the only gta's with funny an interesting stories, im not a violence enabler, i just like gta and that aspect in particular. that's life, differences, change, cosnatants, anyways let me not get to philosophical, this is a game made by square enix, they are going do that for us at some point, and then we fight a bad guy with silver hair who is our half father from the darkness future.

and its good you have that talk, i think people should have that talk more often , the "to an extent clause" that you never see behind rules, is always there and people forget that.

Ive had the same talk with my black friends too and the response will vary from "Its never ok ever for white people to make racist jokes" to "hey I like racist jokes too mate" which is whatever its a generation/ philisophical thing.:) lol

rbstewart7263:

The Tall Nerd:

rbstewart7263:

no man its cool, i have to go though this type of explanation with good amount of people. with the n word. its a lot of " i have a black friend so that makes OK " type people, im not going to go into whats statistically wrong with that type of statement because, you know 1 black person means all black people, for some reason. but you get the idea, and you are far from a rape enabler, you just find something funny that i dot, i happen to think that gta san andreas until now were the only gta's with funny an interesting stories, im not a violence enabler, i just like gta and that aspect in particular. that's life, differences, change, cosnatants, anyways let me not get to philosophical, this is a game made by square enix, they are going do that for us at some point, and then we fight a bad guy with silver hair who is our half father from the darkness future.

and its good you have that talk, i think people should have that talk more often , the "to an extent clause" that you never see behind rules, is always there and people forget that.

Ive had the same talk with my black friends too and the response will vary from "Its never ok ever for white people to make racist jokes" to "hey I like racist jokes too mate" which is whatever its a generation/ philisophical thing.:) lol

i just take by a case by case basis, as a black/arabic man myself people assume stuff about me all the time, i try not to assume much of people, well more than normal because assumptions is how your brain works

and leave the philosophical stuff to square enix, then we get to level 99 and fight the secret boss

 

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