Games For Boys, Games For Girls

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Games For Boys, Games For Girls

Eidos is hoping a Lara Croft makeover will reignite interest in the Tomb Raider franchise. Andy Chalk has a few better ideas.

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I'd have to agree with Andy on pretty much all counts. Lara didn't become famous as a "realistic" female figure (pun intended)--but as a modern incarnation of a male fantasy (especially a male gamer fantasy).

This past Tomb Raider was pretty good, and I think 1.5 million units sold is pretty decent for a game that's been around so long without changing the basic game mechanics.

What it really comes down to is the bottomline. Companies are hurting in this economic climate and they're trying to squeeze more out of every property--let's hope they don't just end up squeezing it (and others) to death.

The whole tomb raider videogame series went down in qhuality since the Xbox came out. Too much time working on Laura's *physics* and less time on gameplay make for a crappy game

I disagree with the premise here. Not only is Tomb Raider a recognisable name, it still offers an experience that is fairly rare in computer games - to whit, area exploration.

It's almost a niche genre with few entries (Prince of Persia series perhaps?), but one which is sufficiently modern to appeal - especially given the appeal parcour has.

I would guess that throwing out the endangered species combat, adding more naturalistic movement (a la Assasin's Creed), keep the current large levels and throw in a male character (Brad Pit-a-like perhaps?) and you're set for the next female friendly release.

Since, after all, without the combat you have a game that really has a very solid premise.

Roll on 2011.

How about starting a new ip? If done well theres no reason you can have a sucessful non tomb raider game.

I have to agree with Mr. Lindstrom that aiming for female appeal is off the mark; my wife was more excited for Underworld than I. From a gameplay standpoint, I would argue that any future Tomb Raider games might consider going the Prince of Persia route by reducing (if not outright omitting) combat to focus on the platforming and puzzle-solving. Also, a camera which requires less manhandling is a must.

However, I think the biggest issue at present is simply, as Andy put it, franchise fatigue. Does the world need a Tomb Raider game every year? Heck, does the world need a game from any franchise every year? <EYE STYLE="evil" TARGET="Activision">

Since when is selling "only" 1.5 million copies of a game considered a failure? Little Big Planet has sold less than that, and you don't hear anyone calling that game a flop...

If Eidos hadn't released this game during a crowded holiday season, I'm sure that sales would've been stronger....

I'm probley one of the few people left he's actually a little sad that Laras not doing as well as Eidos origanally thoughts. Having played a Legend and a large chunk of Underworld and, I'd never thought I'd say this, but the curent Tomb Raider is better than the current.

But, there are some major problems with the franchise that havn't changed in all its years of gaming. Manly the combat. It needs to be rethoat, a stealth or cover system would do the game a world of good.

The problem isn't Lara's cup size, it's the fact that too many of her games in a row were complete shite. Angel of Darkness, I am looking square at you. Even if they hadn't been, there's a bit of "been there, done that" to them. There are, after all, only so many tombs to raid before they all start to feel a bit samey.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with the character, but she would benefit from a reboot, like Andy said. Some RPG elements, perhaps, or maybe make a co-operative game with Lara and a protege.

If they "retool" Lara Croft to appeal to female players more, they're missing the boat... Mattel hasn't had to "retool" Barbie, have they? And Barbie's proportions are no less grotesque than Lara's.

Nice try, Eidos, but the easy fix won't fix anything for you. Work on the level design and storyboards more, and fixate on the pretty-pretty less, and maybe then you'll see the renaissance you want.

-- Steve

Anton P. Nym:
If they "retool" Lara Croft to appeal to female players more, they're missing the boat... Mattel hasn't had to "retool" Barbie, have they? And Barbie's proportions are no less grotesque than Lara's.

Nice try, Eidos, but the easy fix won't fix anything for you. Work on the level design and storyboards more, and fixate on the pretty-pretty less, and maybe then you'll see the renaissance you want.

-- Steve

Actually Barbie's proportions were recently altered to be a bit more on the realistic side, if memory serves....

But I agree that Eidos needs to focus on creating good game-play above giving Laura a makeover.... the problem isn't the character, it's the quality of the games themselves....

Ive only played the anniversary game but I just hated it i liked the movies but i just can't bring myself to play it anymore. i agree with the other posts they should just remake lvls change gamepaly and mabye itl be a decent game

I agree with everything that's been said so far. Eidos, if you're listening, you appear to be the only ones in the industry that believe this is a good idea.

1) Franchises don't last forever.
2) When a franchise loses popularity, name recognition hurts more than it helps. You're better off starting a whole new frachise than trying to turn the tides.
3) A new game should be a different game, not the same thing with different levels.
4) Women play the same games as men. Try to make a game for girls and all you're going to do is lose the boys.

In North America, when trouble comes calling, companies fire employees and give up on all but the safest bets. Elsewhere in the world, people realize, "We must be doing something wrong," and make radical changes to their gameplan. In the short-term they both rise and fall together, but in the long run the companies who invested in something different reap the rewards in the future.

Yog Sothoth:
Actually Barbie's proportions were recently altered to be a bit more on the realistic side, if memory serves....

But I agree that Eidos needs to focus on creating good game-play above giving Laura a makeover.... the problem isn't the character, it's the quality of the games themselves....

At least according to Mattel, they were not shooting for 'realistic' with the Barbie remodel. Rather, her dimensions were altered at the whims of fashion.

As I said above, I think game-a-year syndrome is Tomb Raider's biggest problem, but I like Susan's idea of working in a well-done cooperative component. I have a hard time thinking of where role-playing elements would work with the franchise, but Metroid-style gear upgrades for revisiting old areas could be sweet.

It would be nice to know what prompted Eidos to pitch this "female-friendly" angle. Have they done any market research that suggests it's a viable direction? Is there a survey of female gamers indicating most of them responding, "you know, I would like that Lara Croft character a whole lot more if she had a breast reduction"?

Of the gamers who like third-person platformers, what proportion are female? And how many of them have radically different tastes from male fans of the same genre?

I'm all for reducing the amount of pointless misogyny and objectification from games out there, whether it means a greater proportion of female gamers or not,(by which I mean the gratuitous kind--I'm cool with visceral sex and sexiness in games where the premise or context support it) though it's generally good business sense to try and appeal to a larger market. And I'm all for better storytelling in games, as long as gameplay's not sacrificed in the process. But without evidence of what the target demographic actually wants, it seems like a waste of time and money. It would be the same if Eidos were saying they wanted to appeal to more black or Hispanic gamers, or gamers from the Midwest, or 25-35 year old gamers.

I'm sure they'll blame piracy next.

The implication as I understood it is that Eidos & Crystal suffered losses & a pretty massive share depreciation because 1 game sold really well instead of really really well? I think they need to think less about revamping their tired franchise & reconsider their entire business strategy & product portfolio if thats the case. Could give us a new (& decent) Commandos game for a start

Grampy_bone:
I'm sure they'll blame piracy next.

I give them credit for the fact that they didn't already.

Cousin_IT:
The implication as I understood it is that Eidos & Crystal suffered losses & a pretty massive share depreciation because 1 game sold really well instead of really really well?

Remember EA's mindset: Game Franchise (x+1) must sell as well or better than Game Franchise (x) because gamers have extraordinarily short memories and no standards, and will buy the same drek over and over again simply because of the title no matter how terrible the last (four, five, six) releases were.

Reference EA Sports for examples.

I'm a girl and I briefly played a tomb raider game in like 2000 or someit, and have no desire to try again. Forgive me if I'm wrong but wasn't Lara's boobs part of the appeal? Anyway I don't want to play this eye rolling strong female type I want effeminate guys with cool hair.
I'll stick to my JRPGs kthanx EA.

Little big planet, now there's a game for girls. Cute and fun, My friend and I play this at mine, it's quite funny she still claims she can kick my ass lol. I myself usually like manly games like pokemon and animal crossing...

Ummmm... exactly what are they doing at Eidos and CD if 1.5 million sales at $60 bucks a pop for an established IP, engine, and style isn't generating profits?

Anyway I went back and read some of the reviews from the original game in '96, which acknowledged the novelty of playing a curvy female action character, but also described fun gameplay, interesting puzzles, and a lot of advancements in the first person action genre. Reviews now tend to cite "more of the same." It looks like Prince of Persia with guns instead of swords.

Anyway, that bit of news has generated enough buzz and the game looks interesting enough that I might buy it.

You know what's really insulting? The implication that female gamers would somehow accept a strong, independent, intelligent character - but only if she's not beautiful, too. "Gee, I'd really like to play that game, but I'm too threatened by the main character's idealized physique!"

Complete crap.

Any time I feel patronised by a game developer, (i.e. we'll add a romance subplot and some home decorating elements to appeal to girlz) it only makes me more determined NOT to spend money on their products.

Susan Arendt:
You know what's really insulting? The implication that female gamers would somehow accept a strong, independent, intelligent character - but only if she's not beautiful, too. "Gee, I'd really like to play that game, but I'm too threatened by the main character's idealized physique!"

Complete crap.

It is, but it seems like not all of Eidos think like this thankfully.

I think the actual character of Lara has more varied appeal then it's given credit. Sure half of her model is joked about, her face which looks like she's visited a plastic surgeon a few too many times and the floaties are still as inflated as ever. But it has become an acceptable icon to the series which no longer distracts people from the actual gameplay.

I have only played actually played TR Legend (I think it was that one) and that was because my roommate bought it and didn't play it enough to satisfy my perked curiosity on the franchise.
It had it's appeal and the gameplay was a different enough from what I was used to that I played it in it's entirity. But I have no desire to repeat and reply and until there's a TR that's praised for it's gameplay or innovation even if they are more of my roommates copies for free.

I agree with Solipsis.
Tomb Raider did worse than expected because it was a sub-par game with shoddy controls and a bad story not because it's not "girl friendly". That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

Tomb Raider hasn't been good since PS1. I remember staring intently at Lara's heavily pixelated arse.

Lara Croft is pretty much the only name in video games that garner any respect from the mainstream media. Does that not say anything at all to Eidos? Messing with the character is the worst move they can ever make. I say stick to improving the game play--give her more acrobatic moves, throw in cooler puzzle, and focus less on CQC and shooting, and they will truly return to the root of Lady Croft that we longed for.

" My Lead Designer Harley (a real live woman[lesbian])agrees that Tomb Raider is not a gender specific game, and research shows that it appeals to female gamers very well. "

Tomb Raider should have been about a genderless Goblin that did the exact same stuff as Lara. Wow, you could actually say the game sold for gameplay that way, instead of big boobs and skimpy wetsuits?

I'm going to go ahead and agree with the other girls on here that I feel condescended to by Eidos. Making Lara less busty, move more realistically and making it sound less like she's "enjoying" herself if you run her into a wall over and over again does not make up for a camera that makes me punch the couch in anger.

I played the Underworld demo and while some of the new Prince of Persia-like acrobatics were nice, the fact that it took twenty minutes to calculate a jump because the camera hated me was enough to turn me off to buying the game. If Lara wants to be smart AND hot, I have no problem with this. What I do have a problem with is poor development.

ReverseEngineered:
I agree with everything that's been said so far. Eidos, if you're listening, you appear to be the only ones in the industry that believe this is a good idea.

1) Franchises don't last forever.
2) When a franchise loses popularity, name recognition hurts more than it helps. You're better off starting a whole new frachise than trying to turn the tides.
3) A new game should be a different game, not the same thing with different levels.
4) Women play the same games as men. Try to make a game for girls and all you're going to do is lose the boys.

In North America, when trouble comes calling, companies fire employees and give up on all but the safest bets. Elsewhere in the world, people realize, "We must be doing something wrong," and make radical changes to their gameplan. In the short-term they both rise and fall together, but in the long run the companies who invested in something different reap the rewards in the future.

Women play the same games as men as they have to, you cant find a decent game which is targeted at women. At least now in most games you have the choice to choose your characters gender but they still focus on the more masculine elements of gameplay such as big guns (Dr.Freud anyone?), big explosions and running around attacking people. These of course are not negative things - who doesnt love blowing up an entire wasteland city from time to time but in the end they do not appeal to a mass female audience.

Mariena:
Tomb Raider should have been about a genderless Goblin that did the exact same stuff as Lara. Wow, you could actually say the game sold for gameplay that way, instead of big boobs and skimpy wetsuits?

However, many gamers are playing for the grander overall experience, and not just a single part, like gameplay

jessieanne:
Women play the same games as men as they have to, you cant find a decent game which is targeted at women. At least now in most games you have the choice to choose your characters gender but they still focus on the more masculine elements of gameplay such as big guns (Dr.Freud anyone?), big explosions and running around attacking people. These of course are not negative things - who doesnt love blowing up an entire wasteland city from time to time but in the end they do not appeal to a mass female audience.

Leave that to the Sims =) and Tomb Raider to smaller degree... and Age of Empires

well, i am a girl.

that said, i must say that if the plan is to make lara ride a magical poney to fairy-tale-land and dig care bear's graves for lollipops and sunshine... it kind of sucks. not all girls like fuzzy-wuddly things, at least not on games - and for that there's little big planet - which, by the way, i do not think is a girl's-only game. EVERYBODY LOVES SACKPEOPLE <3. i like playing fallout! i think it's quite ridiculous to assume girls, for being girls, don't like more violent games and are offended by lara's cup size.

i like the whole idea behind the tomb raider series, but it's tiring - and it should be, i mean, how many cool things can an archaeologist do?! as far as i'm concerned most tomb raiders are pretty good games, but at least i dont feel the need to play a new one every other year. and even if lara was flat chested and wrote novels while saving the whales - i probably wouldnt feel the need either...

You want to know the one game that I can think of where every single female I've ever seen play it has immediately loved the title character for her philosophy on life, attitude to things and mannerisms?

Beyond Good and Evil.

Jade wasn't exactly built like a Greek goddess (nor was she wearing clothes so revealing that the people she worked with had their eyes popping out of their sockets.. although, to be fair, there's probably some sort of very perverted imagery on the 'net, given every single man in that game *was* built like a brick ****house or some random bizarre anthropomorphic giant in their own right) - but she was an honest person. She worked for the orphanage. She had a fun time of things. She didn't go around toting billions of guns - she was just someone trying to help people out, her own way (which did involve beating people up - but moreso in the Disney-friendly way.)

Yet that game was poorly timed against Sands of Time, so it kinda disappeared, where Croft's boobies continue to be somewhat of a cult phenomenon. Fact of the matter is - Tomb Raider is done, and not because of the gameplay, and not because of the fact that Lara's endowments are too small - or too large. It's because no game, unless it is Street Fighter, can go past 8 sequels with a completely unlikeable protagonist (since let's face it, Ryu is actually ultimately an extremely unlikeable character) and a very flimsy storyline to keep it going. People might still buy it.. but edging something on it? FRANCHISING it? That's just ridiculous. You'd have better luck franchising a series of games based around Bob the Builder.

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