The Debate Surrounding Crystal Dynamic’s Tomb Raider

Crystal Dynamic’s reboot of Tomb Raider has had its share of both the good responses and the absurdly negative ones.

It is twice now that the studio has revealed something completely new about the game in an E3 event, and the matters surrounding the reboot of the legendary franchise have only multiplied.

What CD thought would be a gameplay and story teasing trailer recently turned into one that has caused a stupendously large amount of raised brows, both of the common gamers and even of the most well-established reviewers and journalists of the gaming world.

To add to the confused flames of shock and horror, misleading (or possibly correctly leading) statements by Executive Producer Ron Rosenberg just exacerbated the entire situation.

The peak of all the hassle was observed when the Crossroads trailer of the game was released, showing a generous amount of gameplay, a good bit of violence, and giving a fair bit of tease to the story. Though most of the content in the trailer is interesting and according to what is expected, the part that really caught everyone’s attention is one in which there seems to be a rape attempt on the ever-loved Lara Croft.

It definitely shatters the ever-standing image of a Lara Croft that could take on dragons, make her way through seemingly impassable traps, and uncover some of the most secretive facts of the Tomb Raider world that previously existed. But the fundamental aspect of CD’s reboot of Tomb Raider is to show the purer side of Croft, a personality that any intelligent, posh and civil girl would possess in the modern world.

What is also the core of CD’s reboot is to show what brought the drastic change from such innocence and simplicity to the hardened veteran image of Croft that had been depicted in every other Tomb Raider prior to this one.

Perhaps the first of the many blows was struck by the unacceptability of the ‘attempted rape’ of Lara Croft in the trailer, but the flame was fueled further during a Kotaku interview with the executive producer of the game, when he stated:

“And then what happens is her best friend gets kidnapped, she gets taken prisoner by scavengers on the island. They try to rape her, and-”

The last incomplete sentence was enough to surprise both the interviewer and the many Lara Croft fans out there. Had Crystal Dynamic left it at that, the anger itself would’ve cooled down, and the more neutral gamers would’ve accepted this as a part of the negative experiences Lara has that cause her transformation into an ultimate survivor.

But the situation grew even more confused as Crystal Dynamic denied that there were any sorts of ‘sexual assault’ themes in the game, and that the furthest it went was what was shown in the trailer.

The confused denial obviously doesn’t add too well to the executive producer’s statement, and definitely not to what is seeable in the trailer.

A man forcefully grabs Lara Croft, and attempts to grope her on her ass, and yet Crystal Dynamics states there is no sexual assault theme in the game – now that is the kind of stuff that really infuriates volatile journalists and fans.

The fact is that Crystal Dynamics made a boo-boo while trying to handle the situation, and no attempted denial or additional statements would fix it. Yelling ‘chill the fuck out’ wouldn’t help either, so it’s obvious to sway from the confusion surrounding the matter, and look at things logically.

After all, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen perversion in a game. There have been many other mature games with sexual themes, both intimate and horrifying; it shouldn’t become a debatable topic if Lara Croft has a terrifying encounter with a twisted pervert.

So the question to ask is where to from now? Well, for Crystal Dynamics, the only plausible answer is they should keep working on the game. Apart from this unreasonably controversial trailer, Tomb Raider has indeed looked promising, having the full-fledged features of a classy survival action-adventure game.

A lot of people are also stating that it is a rip-off of Uncharted, taking too many elements from Naughty Dog’s commendable adventure game. Those who truly suggest this are not fully applying reverse psychology, as the fail to see that Uncharted itself is inspired heavily by the older Tomb Raiders.

Once again, shouting ‘chill the fuck out’ won’t work too well for the normal fans. The only thing that will work out is being aware of the fact that the quality of a game can’t be judged entirely by trailers, videos, and interviews, the same way as a book can’t be judged by its cover.

We’ve had examples of so many games completely stunning us with their quality despite belief of failure. Perhaps the greatest example of modern gaming is RockSteady’s two Batman games. Prior to Arkham Asylum, the well-accepted belief was that any game based on comics and superheroes was doomed to be a failure. That dogma has obviously changed.

So let’s just allow Crystal Dynamics to do their job, and wait for March 5, 2013 to come. While the studio didn’t do a great job of dealing with the situation surrounding Tomb Raider, it definitely seems to be doing a great job with the game itself. If all things go smoothly, I have little doubt that this reboot of Tomb Raider will exceed all our positive expectations.