Gamers still possessing that rarest of assets, common sense, breathed a collective sigh recently when Crystal Dynamics’ Tomb Raider reboot executive producer Ron Rosenberg said that Lara would suffer an attempted rape, which would make players want to protect her.
Perhaps seeing the storm clouds gathering across the internet, Rosenberg quickly tried to backpedal; without much success.
Now Crystal Dynamics is still working to distance themselves from the comment; global brand director Karl Stewart said, “He said something which is certainly a word that is not in our vocabulary and not in our communication.”
Stewart went on to insist that Rosenberg’s statement was personal, rather than representative of the company. “He did say it… It’s his personal opinion and certainly… like I said, it’s not something that we communicate.” Stewart eschews “attempted rape”, referring to the in-game incident instead as “physical intimidation”.
Stewart does acknowledge that had Lara been male, the scene in question wouldn’t’ve existed, but doesn’t this think this implies a sexual assault.
“By giving her motivation to become the stronger action-adventure hero and the girl that’s willing to fight to stay alive and move forward throughout the game, we use that device and that intimidation to make her stronger. To make her feel empowered and to take her beyond that breaking point where she realises the severity of the situation and she’s willing to fight to stay alive.”
As for Rosenberg’s sexist-sounding remarks about players wanting to protect Lara, Stewart said this was a comment on focus group results rather than a design philosophy.
“We are not building a game where we’re basically saying ‘Hey… our goal is to have the player protect Lara.’ That’s your choice in playing the game. How you interpret it is your choice. What Ron is saying… that’s the results from fairly significant amounts of play-testers.”
Unfortunately, all this game’s press has been focused on Rosenberg’s thoughtless remark; meanwhile the game itself looked very ,very impressive at E3.
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