‘Tomb Raider’ producer puts foot in mouth in most epic fashion
Pro-tip to all game makers out there: yes, subject matter for video games have become highly sophisticated and mature in recent years, but don’t be a dumb-ass and throw the “r” word around.
Ron Rosenberg, executive producer for the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot, recently discussed in detail what he has in mind for the new Lara Croft with Kotaku. It kicks off with the following…
“When people play Lara, they don’t really project themselves into the character,” Rosenberg told me at E3 last week when I asked if it was difficult to develop for a female protagonist.
“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.’”
First of all, the view that many share of Tomb Raider‘s heroine has long been a complex one. Do a quick Google search for Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo? to see what I mean.
But even those who deride Croft, mostly for her freakishly large breasts, will also admit that she was one of the very high profile female protagonist in video games, and a bad ass at that. Someone whom even Gloria Steinem might have thought was kind of cool. Maybe.
So his approach flies in the face of such a legacy. But that’s fine by me; Rosenberg and company are trying to do something different. Yet the piece ends with the guy saying the most mind-blowingly stupid thing imaginable…
“The ability to see her as a human is even more enticing to me than the more sexualized version of yesteryear,” he said. “She literally goes from zero to hero… we’re sort of building her up and just when she gets confident, we break her down again.”
In the new Tomb Raider, Lara Croft will suffer. Her best friend will be kidnapped. She’ll get taken prisoner by island scavengers. And then, Rosenberg says, those scavengers will try to rape her.
“She is literally turned into a cornered animal,” Rosenberg said. “It’s a huge step in her evolution: she’s forced to either fight back or die.”
Wow. Just wow.
Needless to say, the backlash has been fierce. And naturally, the studio behind the game now denies that there is any form of sexual assault in the game. In response, Kotaku posted the transcription of the original conversation, and the producer guy did indeed use the “r” word.
Jesus Christ. Also: man do I feel like a total dumb ass. Since I’ve been defending the game (and to an extent, those involved, specifically Rosenberg) to those who have accused it of being torture porn, as noted in my rundown of why E3 this year sucked (with my number of reason being how everyone has become too uptight).
Granted, that and this have nothing to do with each other, ultimately, but I’m still officially done with Tomb Raider from this point forward.