Obviously, the information that Lara Croft might face some sexually dicey situations in the Tomb Raider reboot didn't go over well .
Many were annoyed that developer Crystal Dynamics had seemingly erased the heroine's patented confidence and womanly sexuality. Furthermore, many were offended and disgusted at the possibility that her "toughness" would arise from fighting off the sexual advances of enemies. However, as I was when I read the Mass Effect 3 ending reactions, I was once again surprised at the level of hostility emanating from certain gamers.
I was also certain the studio would be surprised as well. That much was verified in my mind when they released an official statement , explaining that executive producer Ron Rosenberg's comments were misconstrued. They said what we saw at E3 was about as far as anything was going to go and if that's true (and we have no reason to doubt it), Lara's tenuous situations won't be in the least offensive or in bad taste. I think what's happening here is two-fold and awfully interesting, especially from the gaming culture standpoint.
First and foremost is the perceived change in personality of a video game icon. Obviously, as the reboot is a prequel, we're watching Lara come into her own, so-to-speak, so she hasn't yet developed that trademark cockiness. Now, it has been proven time and time again that when you significantly alter a game icon, you're going to feel the heat of the guaranteed backlash. Ninja Theory has been feeling it for a while now; the DMC reboot and its "heroin-addict protagonist" isn't going over well with hardcore fans of the franchise. And remember when Sucker Punch changed Cole ( inFamous ) a little too much…?
Secondly – and this actually arises from the first point – there's the protectiveness gamers often feel for their favorite heroes and heroines. Whether you liked the games or not, many of us grew up with Lara. And to hear that she'll be facing some of the worst situations a woman can face is admittedly difficult. For me, it's almost like watching a sister in danger and I've never even finished a Tomb Raider game. She's just such a huge part of the gaming culture now, and it's understandable that so many were pissed off at seeing the footage and reading that "cornered animal" info.
But I mean…did people really think Crystal Dynamics would go further than what we saw in the E3 trailer? As we all know by now, developers often show off the most intense parts of a game in any big-reveal trailer; they've been doing it with movies for years. It's called advertising and promotion. I never once expected Lara to be screaming under some brute as he rips off her clothes, and I'm shocked that any serious gamer would anticipate anything close to such a scene. Furthermore, if we're going to fully embrace the authenticity and reality of this new effort, we have to do so with no reservations. We have to accept the atmosphere.
There's no doubt that Lara would face certain issues given her circumstances. It'd be inevitable, actually. So must we cut out even any allusion to such difficulties just because we all have a certain attachment to an icon? I say, let the storytellers do their thing. If they step over the line – and I seriously doubt they will – then we can nail 'em. Until then, I'm not sure certain reactions are warranted in the slightest.
Related Game(s): Tomb Raider