Lara Croft: "Character Is Not Built In A Fleeting Moment"

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]


Comments

    To be honest. The new Lara Croft is fking hot?

      I was just thinking that same thing - I'm not sure whether I should feel weird about it or not. I've always been a little skeptical of people who find animated/comic/game characters attractive, but god damn, with tech being the way it is now; I can't help but find her hot as hell.

      Advancing technology is making me feel like the weird, basement dwelling, uber-nerd that creeps girls out.

    Yep, context is the key. Hack journalists and misguided white knights going berserk over one poorly-worded comment was embarrassing.

    If anything displayed how juvenile this "industry" and it's fans and media are, it was that episode.

    Game looks great! Can't wait for its release.

    So sick of morons having a go at developers for 'sexist' characters or games, you know what would fix the problem less games with female leads and more dudebros... oh wait that wouldnt work cos then people would complain about the lack of female reprisentation in games..

    FFS people grow the hell up, the new tomb raider was designed from the ground up to be a more realistic character, to show emotion and depth and to have a strong female character that doesnt rely on huge tits, or skimpy outfits...

    Sexism and racism only exist because people beleive they exist, stop seeing colour or race or gender as a divider and just GTFO it.

      "Sexism and racism only exist because people beleive they exist, stop seeing colour or race or gender as a divider and just GTFO it."

      Unfortunately not actually. If you bother to make yourself aware to why people talk about this stuff you'd see there really are real problems out there. Ignoring issues isn't a way to solve them unfortunately.

      As for the game itself. Personally I was a little concerned at what we MIGHT have ended up with, but I was definitely being reserved with my opinions since we've really seen hardly anything of this game. I've been playing games for a long time so I certainly know how an idea might seem okay but then be less than great in practice, but the fact is all we've heard about the controversial scene in question is some commentary by journalists and game designers. It's not enough to know how things are really going to play out in the end. I think it's perfectly natural that people might have gotten concerned, but condemning the game already seems a bit of a stretch.

      I was actually mainly concerned about the game from seeing the trailer. I was stuck hoping that the game won't just consist of Lara being put in horrible situation after horrible situation with no end in sight. I think the way that came across to me is more to do with how trailers are cut together than how the actual game will play ( after all you need to show ALL the ACTION in the trailer!!! :P ). I mean I know the game is about survival, but I wanna see that actual growth so by the end of it Lara is actually pretty badass. We'll see. I'm definitely interested to see how this actually turns out.

        "Unfortunately not actually. If you bother to make yourself aware to why people talk about this stuff you'd see there really are real problems out there. Ignoring issues isn't a way to solve them unfortunately."

        Sorry but i disagree completey with you there, sexism/racism is something that only exists in this day and age because people want it to exist... we are smart enough to see it, to understand it yet we cling to it out of fear, its used as a crutch to make some people feel superior when in fact they are just small minded and scared, in the media it's sensationalised because of this fear.

        Im not saying ignore the issues, im saying grow up and they wont exist.

        The developers in this case cant win, they could make laura an Asexual or robot and people would then complain that the character is sexist or racist against Asexuals or robots...
        Make it a man people will complain "why dont we have a strong female lead?"
        Make her black "ooo controversial decission to make the new tomb raider an african american"
        Make the game about laura running through fields of puppies and flowers and it wont sell.
        Its all perception, you grow up in a small minded family/community you will more than likely grow up with the same way of thinking.

        Im looking forward to the game, i havent bee able to say that about a tomb raider game since the first one, not because its overtly sexual, not because the developers are showing amazing gameplay... (sarcasm, i know they havent shown much) but because its new, its supposed to be gritty, its supposed to feal "real" while allowing me to still feel like im playing a game.

    It must be really hard for the writers when this kind of thing happens. Doubly so when you get accused of being misogynistic and sexist and you're a female. As dnr said, stop looking for the truth you want to see and just accept things as they are.

    This whole "controversy" is just mountains from molehills... but that's shoddy reporting in a nutshell.

    So the new 'gritty' Lara now looks like a model. Again.
    Okay.

      'Gritty' doesn't mean unattractive.

      I don't really get why people think it's BAD for women to be attractive? It's not sexist to have an attractive female lead at all, it's not objectifying her either. She is dressed realistically, has a strong resolve and is independent in her actions (not relying on anyone else, especially a man) and in no way inferior to anyone.

      If I could choose any lead female character as a good role model, it would be her.

        One of the biggest problems is that developers and publishers feel female protagonists and characters should be inherently attractive. Have you played any game where the female protagonist wasn't attractive? It's not particularly realistic, is it? Female characters would portray more of their "human" side if only they looked like ordinary, everyday women.

        Unfortunately, consumers are driven primarily by attraction and superficial appearances and if they were to see "Plain Jaine" instead of a very attractive semi-young woman it doesn't really appeal to the tastes of the average (i.e young man) gamer. It's gaming business 101.

        Last edited 13/10/12 1:35 am

    My commentary on Rhianna's IGN interview is in "True Or False Dawn?" at www.notculturallyrelevant.com

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