At E3 the discourse surrounding the new Tomb Raider was overwhelmingly negative. Issues with sexism in games were hitting boiling point and poorly timed statements from developers weren’t exactly helping matters. Now, in this great interview with IGN, Tomb Raider’s female writer, Rhianna Pratchett, has finally spoken out about the situation.
“It was frustrating that I’d seen it all and I couldn’t talk about it. It’s about context,” said Pratchett. “I do really understand why people were upset, and I think if I were a journalist I’d be like ‘hey, what’s going on here?’, so I completely understand where people are coming from. It was borne up on a tide of anger that had already been generated by things like E3 booth babes, Anita Sarkeesian, the Hitman trailer – all of those had built up. It was really unfortunate that scene got described the way it did, it certainly wasn’t intended that way. But I hadn’t been announced at that time, and Crystal realised it would have been silly to just push me out there.
“I think people assumed that the character was suddenly being built in this scene, whereas character is not built in a fleeting moment, it’s a continuous process during the game, through tests and challenges and action and reaction. It wasn’t in those fleeting moments.”
For Pratchett, Tomb Raider isn’t a story about being female, it’s a story about being human.
“It’s not a story about being female,” she said, “but about being human and being put in an extreme situation and feeling vulnerable and scared, not because you’re female, but because you’re human. I believe she reacts in the same way as a young man would, put in that situation.”
For the full, fascinating interview, head here.
Rewriting Lara Croft [IGN]