Tomb Raider Dev: Rape is Not in Our Vocabulary

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Tomb Raider Dev: Rape is Not in Our Vocabulary

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According to Crystal Dynamics, a little groping doesn't constitute sexual assault.

Crystal Dyanmics would like to make it clear that there's no rape in the upcoming Tomb Raider. None. Zero. Nilch. In fact, according to global brand director, Karl Stewart, the R-word isn't even part of the studio's vocabulary.

The studio is trying to distance itself from statements made by executive producer, Ron Rosenberg, who claimed that, as the game's trailer seems to imply, Lara would be the victim of attempted rape. He then went on to imply, perhaps accidentally, that the event would build Lara's character, whipping up a maelstrom of controversy in the process.

"He said something which is certainly a word that is not in our vocabulary and not in our communication," Stewart told Kotaku, when asked about Rosenberg's statements. "He did say it... It's his personal opinion and certainly... like I said, it's not something that we communicate."

It seems like Stewart is trying to address the numerous media and blog sources who've erroneously reported that the game features a "rape scene," which is fair enough, but he then goes on to argue that the scene depicted in the trailer doesn't depict or imply sexual assault. Instead, he labels it "close physical intimidation," and a "pathological situation" meant to invoke fear and intimidation.

Stewart remained adamant that the scene did not depict sexual assault, despite interviewer, Jason Schreier's insistence on the contrary. Eventually, a PR representative listening in on the call asked him to drop that line of questioning.

Stewart also added that Rosenberg's claim that players would want to "protect" Lara, was a reference to the reaction of focus groups the game has been tested on.

Source: Kotaku

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Grey Carter:

According to Crystal Dynamics, a little groping doesn't constitute sexual assault.

Oh dear, that just sounds so pervy.

I'd rather they just stick to their guns though, this just seems like them backing down.

'Oh shit, we've caused a controversy!'
'Claim it was just a misunderstanding.'
'Crisis averted.'

WaysideMaze:

Grey Carter:

According to Crystal Dynamics, a little groping doesn't constitute sexual assault.

Oh dear, that just sounds so pervy.

I'd rather they just stick to their guns though, this just seems like them backing down.

'Oh shit, we've caused a controversy!'
'Claim it was just a misunderstanding.'
'Crisis averted.'

Aye...

God what happened anyways? There was a huge backlash towards that one "Women Vs. Tropes" project, then all of a sudden anything that even implies rape because a huuuuuuuge no-no, articles flood in on here about it, and then tvtropes goes and hits the flush switch on anything with even the word in it.

What? Did the wife of every man who lashed out against the kickstarter project suddenly go on the offensive by locking them out of certain things, and now men are doing damage control? Is that what this is?!
If that is what it is, then dammit women, use this kind of power to cure cancer or something!

Though, last I checked, groping someone can easily be sexual assault. If I went out and involuntarily groped a woman's breast, arse, or crotch I'm sure as hell the cops would be all over me for that.

Ok I have to ask this here. Who else thought of the retsupurae video for navgtr and tomb raider?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s0lzbCK9f8

And they really think that this will cause people to unbunch their panties and let the oxygen flow to their brains again? That's some wishful thinking right there.

cursedseishi:
-snip-

The forum always seems to rotate through different cycles. One month it'll be threads about abortion, next month about womens rights, next month about religion. We just seem to be in the 'rape phase' at the moment.
Rape phase just sounds horrible, I apologise.

Well, there goes the only interesting thing about this new Tomb Raider game. For a few days I thought someone in the AAA gaming industry finally grew some balls but I guess not.

I don't even get the problem.

There is no rape in the game either way.
There IS an npc who might conceivably have the intention to commit rape, or at least feels a bit rape-y.
Said npc then gets fought off (and, in my Mind-Vision-Version at least, he also gets his nuts crashed).
So no rape happens.

So why the fuss ?

Something tells me that this statement is only going to make things much, much worse.

Prepare for the inevitable dozens of "Groping does/doesn't count as rape" threads on here for the next few days.

TheAmazingHobo:
I don't even get the problem.

There is no rape in the game either way.
There IS an npc who might conceivably have the intention to commit rape, or at least feels a bit rape-y.
Said npc then gets fought off (and, in my Mind-Vision-Version at least, he also gets his nuts crashed).
So no rape happens.

So why the fuss ?

Speaking only for myself: guess how sick to death I am of female characters getting sexually victimized in fiction. Go ahead, toss out an estimate. Lara Croft was one of the few who hadn't been caught up in that particular cliche, and now here we are again.

Well, at least people expect "one of gaming's toughest female icons" to be turned into "a shrieking mimsy in a submissive relationship" this time. (see: Other M)

Grey Carter:
...but he then goes on to argue that the scene depicted in the trailer doesn't depict or imply sexual assault. Instead, he labels it "close physical intimidation," and a "pathological situation" meant to invoke fear and intimidation.

...so, he was gonna rape her? Because that's what male-on-female "close physical intimidation" coupled with "pathological situation meant to invoke fear and intimidation" essentially means.

Yeeeaaahh...

While I think the reaction to that one trailer was hugely disproportionate, there's no denying that it was hinting at sexual assault of some kind.

I guess this is just them trying to snuff out the controversy that one guy generated with his rather boneheaded comments.

It's not nearly drowning on an ocean liner
It's not waking-up in cocoon
It's not the inadvertent appendectomy
It's not the scared whining voice
It's not the constantly collapsing cave
It's not the enemies randomly grabbing her
It's not her being disarmed and taken prisoner (again)
It's not even the attempted rape

ITS ALL OF THAT PUT TOGETHER!!!

Xman490:
Well, at least people expect "one of gaming's toughest female icons" to be turned into "a shrieking mimsy in a submissive relationship" this time. (see: Other M)

I'm not quite certain how you get from blowing the dude's face off with a handgun to "a shrieking mimsy in a submissive relationship".

Don't get me wrong, they'll probably fuck this up. Badly. But most of the complaints so far seem to be from people who didn't actually watch the trailer.

WaysideMaze:

Grey Carter:

According to Crystal Dynamics, a little groping doesn't constitute sexual assault.

Oh dear, that just sounds so pervy.

Aye, it's what you get when the Escapist writes an article on something.

OT: Honestly, I heard about all the rape stuff before watching the video. So when I finally got around to seeing it, I kept waiting for the rape scene. I agree with the dev, that's not rape. It might be attempted rape, but considering how early she cut him off, I really don't see what everyone's yammering on about.

Incidentally, even if it was rape, the whole damn shebang, how would that be an issue?

Diana Kingston-Gabai:

TheAmazingHobo:
I don't even get the problem.

There is no rape in the game either way.
There IS an npc who might conceivably have the intention to commit rape, or at least feels a bit rape-y.
Said npc then gets fought off (and, in my Mind-Vision-Version at least, he also gets his nuts crashed).
So no rape happens.

So why the fuss ?

Speaking only for myself: guess how sick to death I am of female characters getting sexually victimized in fiction. Go ahead, toss out an estimate. Lara Croft was one of the few who hadn't been caught up in that particular cliche, and now here we are again.

Sorry, I suppose it was unclear what I meant.
I was not commenting on whether or not including sexual assault or rape in a game is a good idea.
I was commenting on how the scene features no rape anyhow and thus a statement like "rape is not in our vocabulary" seems pointless.

Edit: I actually just got to read an article that references the rape-statement and now I DO understand why there was a fair bit of overkill and very specific language in this statement, specifically the "rape not in our vocabulary part, never, nope, under no circumstances".
Shit, some "journalists" on the net are morons.

Haha I always feel sorry for the PR people who have to work with some of these guys.

Grey Carter:

[...] a little groping doesn't constitute sexual assault.

That's what I keep telling the judge! But will he ever listen?

As an above poster says, there is almost no chance a rape scene would ever have been put in the game. Even if the story would say she was raped (something I doubt very much, her existing character doesn't really accommodate it) it would have been done off screen.

Much more likely though, it would be attempted rape at worst. This is just panicky PR that makes them look pathetic though, which is the main message this story gives.

--

On another note, I'd like to have a go at those having a go at those who wanted to protect Lara. Most people that play games invest a part of themselves into the character they play. They also tend to end up liking the character they play. Then, when confronted with the character being put into a potential rape situation, they would not unreasonably want to protect the character from that.

Whether from a storied, "I like the character, I don't want her to be raped," or a practical gamers, "this character represents me, I don't want to be raped," the vast majority of players would try to protect Lara. It is a good reaction, the correct moral reaction. They don't think, "ah, she'll handle it." The player is in control, this is a videogame not a movie or book. Whether or not the story is written that she would have required help, the reaction to want to help her is the right one.

There will of course be those who will want to see what happens in the fail state, but in most cases will be down to being interested in how the game handles it. The most comparable game event to this I can think of is the lass in Heavy Rain, when she is trying to get information from a Club owner. It is the only place in game, that I am aware of, where there is an infinite no fail state; not even forcing the scripted end to the scene. In other words, it was handled poorly.

If you worry about the fetishes of people involving anything even remotely sexual in game before making it then you couldn't ever have anything remotely sexual in game. Heck, even non sexual things become sexual given the right (aka wrong) fan base.

Grey Carter:


According to Crystal Dynamics, a little groping doesn't constitute sexual assault.

Jesus fucking Christ Grey, did they say that ANYWHERE? What the fuck is wrong with you? Fuck.

cursedseishi:

God what happened anyways? There was a huge backlash towards that one "Women Vs. Tropes" project, then all of a sudden anything that even implies rape because a huuuuuuuge no-no, articles flood in on here about it, and then tvtropes goes and hits the flush switch on anything with even the word in it.

What? Did the wife of every man who lashed out against the kickstarter project suddenly go on the offensive by locking them out of certain things, and now men are doing damage control? Is that what this is?!
If that is what it is, then dammit women, use this kind of power to cure cancer or something!

Though, last I checked, groping someone can easily be sexual assault. If I went out and involuntarily groped a woman's breast, arse, or crotch I'm sure as hell the cops would be all over me for that.

This is a perfect example of the free floating nature of public conscientiousness, where a succession of incidents causes of a perfect storm of a topic repeatably being brought up due to people seeking inquiry into what the fuss is about and the widespread nature of this controversy. There in turn causes a chain of people seeking context, followed by their initiation into the debate, followed by them re-entering the debate seeking resolution to their internal discomfort, and the cycle continues. You could see how something like this could continuously pile up like a snow ball as opinions and people collide seeking some grounding.

Anyways, while Rosenburg's comments are reprehensible(seriously, what the hell was he thinking), the game's suggestion of rape isn't inherently bad. Its merely about execution, and treating the subject with the proper respect it deserves, rather than exploiting subjects for publication and appealing to our baser natures. We needed clarification, not back-pedaling crystal dynamics.

kurupt87:

If you worry about the fetishes of people involving anything even remotely sexual in game before making it then you couldn't ever have anything remotely sexual in game. Heck, even non sexual things become sexual given the right (aka wrong) fan base.

There is a certain difference between creating a scenario where you want to defend your character from undesirably outcomes(like death, in most games), and exploiting a female character, and a controversial issue such as rape to appeal to our need to "protect someone". It turns an otherwise good moral judgement(preventing rape=good) into a marketing tactic that takes advantage/patronizes both the male gamers playing it, and trivializes a difficult issue and reality that women/men have to deal with. Rape itself should not be used to appeal to our inner "white knight". Its a topic that deserves the respect of material it is represented in, and the audience that will be experiencing it.

Wow. Really? ...I mean...seriously?

Do people even listen to themselves speak? A little groping doesn't constitute sexual assault? Ugh.

On a aside, I don't want to feel like I need to protect Lara Croft. If this is how the game makes me feel, then it has failed. Because it is Lara Fucking Croft. Lara Fucking Croft should be breaking the man's arm in three places for trying that shit.

I'm tired of strong female characters in games having to have some sort of requisite horrible emotional trauma in order to be a strong female character. I'm not saying that their life has to be sunshine and teddy bears, but can we start getting away from rape/attempted rape/sexual assault/close physical intimidation = super-heroine thing?

Condiments:

cursedseishi:

God what happened anyways? There was a huge backlash towards that one "Women Vs. Tropes" project, then all of a sudden anything that even implies rape because a huuuuuuuge no-no, articles flood in on here about it, and then tvtropes goes and hits the flush switch on anything with even the word in it.

What? Did the wife of every man who lashed out against the kickstarter project suddenly go on the offensive by locking them out of certain things, and now men are doing damage control? Is that what this is?!
If that is what it is, then dammit women, use this kind of power to cure cancer or something!

Though, last I checked, groping someone can easily be sexual assault. If I went out and involuntarily groped a woman's breast, arse, or crotch I'm sure as hell the cops would be all over me for that.

This is a perfect example of the free floating nature of public conscientiousness, where a succession of incidents causes of a perfect storm of a topic repeatably being brought up due to people seeking inquiry into what the fuss is about and the widespread nature of this controversy. There in turn causes a chain of people seeking context, followed by their initiation into the debate, followed by them re-entering the debate seeking resolution to their internal discomfort, and the cycle continues. You could see how something like this could continuously pile up like a snow ball as opinions and people collide seeking some grounding.

Anyways, while Rosenburg's comments are reprehensible(seriously, what the hell was he thinking), the game's suggestion of rape isn't inherently bad. Its merely about execution, and treating the subject with the proper respect it deserves, rather than exploiting subjects for publication and appealing to our baser natures. We needed clarification, not back-pedaling crystal dynamics.

kurupt87:

If you worry about the fetishes of people involving anything even remotely sexual in game before making it then you couldn't ever have anything remotely sexual in game. Heck, even non sexual things become sexual given the right (aka wrong) fan base.

There is a certain difference between creating a scenario where you want to defend your character from undesirably outcomes(like death, in most games), and exploiting a female character, and a controversial issue such as rape to appeal to our need to "protect someone". It turns an otherwise good moral judgement(preventing rape=good) into a marketing tactic that takes advantage/patronizes both the male gamers playing it, and trivializes a difficult issue and reality that women have to deal with. Rape itself should not be used to appeal to our inner "white knight". Its a topic that deserves the respect of material it is represented in, and the audience that will be experiencing it.

Good post. Rape is a serious topic; ignoring it is not going to make it go away. Whether people like it or not, women get raped, especially in violent situations like war, etc.

Also, your first paragraph blew my mind. I feel unclean .__.

Iron Lightning:
Well, there goes the only interesting thing about this new Tomb Raider game. For a few days I thought someone in the AAA gaming industry finally grew some balls but I guess not.

Someone did grow some balls, but then PR came and confiscated them.

I wish people would stop shitting their pants over stuff like this.

First it was the Hitman: Absolution trailer that had a few nuns show a little skin and people flipped their fucking shit over nothing (the trailer was good, made me more interested in the game) an now a bit of groping...*sigh*

Chill the beans people.

DVS BSTrD:
It's not nearly drowning on an ocean liner
It's not waking-up in cocoon
It's not the inadvertent appendectomy
It's not the scared whining voice
It's not the constantly collapsing cave
It's not the enemies randomly grabbing her
It's not her being disarmed and taken prisoner (again)
It's not even the attempted rape

ITS ALL OF THAT PUT TOGETHER!!!

But people only give a flying fuck when it happens to Lara either because she's a girl or because it's different from other tomb raiders. Drake gets physically injured all the time in uncharted 2, and he's in a turkish prison for months. Nobody cares.

Father Time:

DVS BSTrD:
It's not nearly drowning on an ocean liner
It's not waking-up in cocoon
It's not the inadvertent appendectomy
It's not the scared whining voice
It's not the constantly collapsing cave
It's not the enemies randomly grabbing her
It's not her being disarmed and taken prisoner (again)
It's not even the attempted rape

ITS ALL OF THAT PUT TOGETHER!!!

But people only give a flying fuck when it happens to Lara either because she's a girl or because it's different from other tomb raiders. Drake gets physically injured all the time in uncharted 2, and he's in a turkish prison for months. Nobody cares.

But he's never this helpless or relentlessly abused.

"Rape" might not be in your vocabulary, but "mixed messages" and "unfortunate implications" are.

TheAmazingHobo:
I don't even get the problem.

There is no rape in the game either way.
There IS an npc who might conceivably have the intention to commit rape, or at least feels a bit rape-y.
Said npc then gets fought off (and, in my Mind-Vision-Version at least, he also gets his nuts crashed).
So no rape happens.

So why the fuss ?

She fights the guy off and shoots him in the gut, then watches him die.

So... I agree with you. If the exact same thing happened with a male protagonist (and I mean literally swap character models, same animations) - let's say Nathan Drake - nobody would give a damn. Nobody would assume it was a gay enemy trying to rape him, it would just be a little mortal scuffle and life goes on.

EDIT: Just watched it again. So the only "rapey" thing I see is they slow mo the guy's hand going down towards her waist line. Of course, most people seem to like holding weapons there so he might be checking her for weapons. But he gets kneed in the nuts, and then grabs her from behind. He goes in, maybe to kiss her neck... although it's hard to say because she lunges at him and bites his neck. Then they're on the ground and she puts a bullet in him.

So, yeah, it looks a little rapey and that's probably their intention, but she's not a victim here. She's a fighter, a survivor, and now a killer too.

DVS BSTrD:

Father Time:

DVS BSTrD:
It's not nearly drowning on an ocean liner
It's not waking-up in cocoon
It's not the inadvertent appendectomy
It's not the scared whining voice
It's not the constantly collapsing cave
It's not the enemies randomly grabbing her
It's not her being disarmed and taken prisoner (again)
It's not even the attempted rape

ITS ALL OF THAT PUT TOGETHER!!!

But people only give a flying fuck when it happens to Lara either because she's a girl or because it's different from other tomb raiders. Drake gets physically injured all the time in uncharted 2, and he's in a turkish prison for months. Nobody cares.

But he's never this helpless or relentlessly abused.

I wouldnt call lara helpless, she's afraid and drake's not because he's done this before. You can't expect anyone to know what they're doing right out of the gate. Anyway it's not relentless but there's a lot of it. First level uc2 bam drake wakes up with his stomach and hands covered in his own blood. He then barely escapes the train only to get tossed around some more and then the robbery which ends up badly for him again.

I've barely played uc3 and already drakes been in a bar fight and been shot.

Come to think of it we havent seen too much from Tomb Raider maybe there is similar amounts.

Hmm... Rape happens and art being a reflection of life should be able to inspect it. Jim made some very good points about rape vs murder however he failed to see another aspect of the argument - Victims of Violence - much like a victim of rape is reminded constantly of her/his experience and the numbness inside them a victim of violence feels much the same way when s/he looks at his/her tattered body in the mirror or feels the limitation imposed by her/his disfigurement or injury. Yet video games revel in violence and its almost never brought up in a serious context for debate.

Every single word they say at this point will just dig them deeper. I hope they understand this.

Hey. Crystal? No matter how right you are, you will not win against these people. They are determined, by this point, to HATE you. You are damned if you do and damned if you don't, and you'll garner more respect if you do. So go out in a ball of flames, I say.

Condiments:

kurupt87:

If you worry about the fetishes of people involving anything even remotely sexual in game before making it then you couldn't ever have anything remotely sexual in game. Heck, even non sexual things become sexual given the right (aka wrong) fan base.

There is a certain difference between creating a scenario where you want to defend your character from undesirably outcomes(like death, in most games), and exploiting a female character, and a controversial issue such as rape to appeal to our need to "protect someone". It turns an otherwise good moral judgement(preventing rape=good) into a marketing tactic that takes advantage/patronizes both the male gamers playing it, and trivializes a difficult issue and reality that women/men have to deal with. Rape itself should not be used to appeal to our inner "white knight". Its a topic that deserves the respect of material it is represented in, and the audience that will be experiencing it.

Bollocks.

If the character is liked and harm is indicated then the white knight will appear, there is no choice. It doesn't matter if it's film, book, tv or game; if the character is liked the consumer will wish grievous harm not to occur.

There is no difference between wanting to protect your character from death or protecting them from rape. In fact, real world I'd choose to protect someone from death over rape.

The only reason this is a big deal is because of the stupid youtube docu explosion and because rape is sexual. Just because death doesn't mean anything to the gamer anymore doesn't mean that it doesn't actually mean anything; it taking the unaccustomed mention of rape to remind players that their actions have story consequences (or even cutscene inactions just giving weight) is a good thing.

CD, you are not smart enough to not make this look bad. That entire scene was just icky and sleazy. It is COMPLETELY obvious that you've implied the men assaulting Lara also want to violate her. Sexual violence is not something you are talented enough to discuss, so you were probably better off not implying it in the first place.

And guess what, groping CAN be classified as sexual assault or molestation.

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