Shock!! Horror!! Is that… Lara Croft?

The new title of the ‘Tomb Raider’ series tells the story of how our brave heroine became the Lara Croft we all know. The people behind the new Tomb Raider game Crystal Dynamics showed a trailer in this year’s E3 called ‘Cross Roads’ and here it is:

When I saw the trailer I thought it was quite cool and that there were a lot of focus on “finding a way out” to survive and enough variety in gameplay – QTE, action, puzzles. However, the most interesting thing I found was the story. I wanted to know what drove Lara from being a normal girl into a dual gun wielding ‘chick’. This was a side of Lara that nobody has seen yet, how could you not be excited? The media must’ve saw a different video because a lot of press have been fixated on one thing in the video – a scene where Lara struggles to fight of an attacker.

Etan Smallman from Metro Newspaper states:

“… the new Lara Croft game are using sexual violence as entertainment by including a rape scene”

This was printed below their headline – “Outrage at Lara Croft game rape”. Naturally I was shocked to read the headline so I read the article and near the end, they clear up that it was attempted sexual assault and not actual rape (see below)
metro-article-1. Metro is criticising Crystal Dynamics for using sexual assault as a way of selling their product. But aren’t they doing the same with a headline like that? Using rape as the main word to attract readers to the article is very distasteful.

Not only the Metro, other newspaper are also focusing on the same thing, Mary Hamilton from The Guardian newspaper says:

“…adding sexual assault to the mix might just be over-egging the pudding.”

But from the trailer I see a normal human being developing into a tough person bit by bit. She doesn’t just wake up and get sexually assaulted right off the bat. There are other things which contribute to developing her character.

She pulls out a stick from her body after being dropped from a height. You also see her apologising before killing a deer for food (how many people can actually do this?) showing that she’s doing something she doesn’t want to, but is necessary in order to survive. But all of this fails to explain how Lara Croft, a normal human being can kill other people… killing animals for food is one thing, but to kill another human being is something entirely different. No normal person would ever want to hurt another human being. So what pushes her past that line of being able to pull the trigger?

One answer is imminent danger. A situation where she needs to decide whether to take a life to protect herself otherwise she’ll be dead. This imminent danger can’t really be of death or serious injury because if it was, by the time she realises and tries to make her mind up, she’d be dead or seriously injured – rendering her incapable of continuing her adventure. Therefore it had to be a struggle, it had to happen quickly. Crystal Dynamics chose this scenario to show how she made her first kill and I think it’s a plausible step towards building Lara. I’m not sure what else could drive Lara to kill another person on a remote island…

The point is nobody is saying that sexual assault of any kind is acceptable, but some people have a much stronger resolve when they experience something traumatic and Lara just happens to get this through this experience – by the way, nothing happens to her.

You can read Darrell Gallagher from Crystal Dynamics statement on this issue here –


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