8.02.2012

New Tomb Raider: Younger Protagonist, Smaller Breasts, and...RAPE?!


I know this is kind of old hat, but a friend of mine asked my opinion about it, and the small rant turned into a much larger one the longer I thought about it.

New Tomb Raider game. We all know that Lara Croft has been used as a sex object for years (although, I played the first game a lot, but I mostly spent my time swimming in the pool at her house and following her butler around, because I wanted to be a butler until I was like 15. Yeah, I’m weird), but now, after years of nothing but massive breasts, she looks like a real person. Gamers rejoice! We finally have a Lara Croft that will be taken seriously as an explorer and hero! She’ll be ranked with the likes of Indiana Jones and Nick Drake, a hero[ine] that needs our support and protection--wait, what?

This Kotaku article sums it up nicely. According to the executive producer of the game, Ron Rosenberg, this is a Lara Croft you’ll want to protect. She’s younger, so she’s more vulnerable, and you’ll feel less like you’re playing as Croft and more like you’re helping her along and taking care of her.

Oh, and she has a lot of character building experiences, too, as any teenage girl would. Her best friend gets kidnapped, which is pretty troubling. But, I mean, she’s Lara Croft. She can take care of that. Oh, and then Croft gets kidnapped by “scavengers.” Well, that sucks, too, but, again, she’s pretty badass. She’ll handle it. Then, the scavengers try to rape her, but—

Whoa, whoa, WHAT?! So, okay, she doesn’t get raped. She manages to avoid that. But is that really the only way the developers can come up with for her to “build character”?


"It's a huge step in her evolution: she's forced to either fight back or die,” says Rosenberg. Oh, okay. Of course. Lara Croft apparently became such an awesome hero/adventurer because she was ALMOST RAPED.

Why do we think this is okay? It’s not, for reference. The friend getting kidnapped? Fine. Hell, even killing off the friend, while it wouldn’t be something I’d be thrilled about, would be a good “step in her evolution.” That’s enough to make someone hardened and gritty and all of the stuff that makes Croft who she is. But no, we have to throw rape in, because she’s a female character and that’s apparently the only thing the developers can come up with.

Rosenberg compares this game to a Spider-Man or Batman origin story, saying it’s darker and more mature than past games. Except he has completely taken everything away from this character so his male audience can feel tough and strong, saving this poor girl from would-be rapists and “protecting” her all the way through. Does she even shoot T-Rexes anymore? I mean, yeah, the giant breasts thing has always been an issue to me, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t a badass.

I’m really disappointed by this. When I first saw that they were making a reboot and saw this new, realistic, HUMAN Lara Croft in front of me, I was happy. When I realized that their excuse for her smaller breasts was age, I was a little annoyed, but okay. Fine. You have continuity to worry about (snort). But now, seeing this, there is no way that EA is getting my money for this. You’ve taken a strong female character (again, the breasts thing, but look beyond that) and turned her into a weak little flower who needs protecting from you, the big strong male player who will make all of her little problems go away.

I can just see these misogynistic developers sitting there, patting themselves on the back because she’s no longer a sex symbol now that her breasts aren’t insanely large. But while they took away one issue, they added myriad others, ones that are considerably more troubling. They may have taken a tiny step forward, but they took several giant leaps back in the process. Good job, guys. There's one video game I won't be buying.

2 comments:

  1. you may not buy it, but i guarantee you will play it.
    nurturing fictional protagonistic characters best interests in an attempt to survive imaginative adversity is what defines us, as gamers.

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  2. Females are good at/for 3 things:
    1. Making sandwiches
    2. Blowjobs
    3. Healing in MMOS

    I didn't see anything mentioning regarding these skills in your PMS victim post... Get back to your basics; the first through third female amendments.

    On a serious note though,

    Some females have large breast, which men happen to enjoy for the most part. Having breast appeal in a game potentially draws males to the game who would otherwise not be interested in the game (crystal dynamics and the tomb raider franchise are in it for money). Big boobs> male appeal> more sales> successful business.

    I also felt like you were hinting that rape is worse than death and murder of females, which I couldn't confirm or deny, however my gut instincts are telling me living is better than dying in most instances.

    "You’ve taken a strong female character (again, the breasts thing, but look beyond that) and turned her into a weak little flower who needs protecting from you, the big strong male player who will make all of her little problems go away."

    Stop being a victim. She is what, 17 in the game? At 17 could you do what she does? They have created a strong independent young lady and you are complaining about boob size (doesn't matter) and that the "strong male player can make the weak little flower safer". Does that last sentence not apply to females also? A weak little flower (your words) playing the game as Lara (A weak little young flower) not give you the same satisfaction that a male would get? You are on this journey as Lara, running into these terrible situations and your goal is to survive and protect yourself; how does gender come into play here?

    Stop being a victim and find more important things to focus on in the world... Pixel per square boob inch shouldn't matter. The gender of the person playing that is keeping Lara from being raped shouldn't matter. Are we supposed to just pretend rape doesn't happen in the real world so we cant use it in the game world? Lots of people die in the game, but that point is just missed completely.

    Best of luck,

    Sincerely
    Temporarily Anonymous Asshole

    ReplyDelete