We’ve all heard about it. Crystal Dynamics’ Ron Rosenberg said that in the newest game that the attempted rape of Lara Croft will make Tomb Raider players want to “protect” her.
Yeah, just take a second with that one.
Previously, Brian Horton (Crystal Dynamics’s art director) has given some really prime quotes on new Lara to Game Informer:
– “What dropped away pretty quickly was the hardness that she had. She is strong and we love Lara Croft for that strength, but she was almost so strong that we were always one step away from her.”
– “What it came down to is that we wanted to have certain proportionality when we put her next to the men. We wanted a clear size difference. She isn’t going to be as tall as the men around her – about a head shorter. This reinforces the feeling that she’s against all odds.”
– “we wanted a little bit of that baby fat”
– “At one point, since survival is such an important element, we thought about having her bones break and she would be crippled in some way. And while we realized that it would be fantastic from a fiction standpoint, it would hurt us in gameplay. We want her to get damaged, and that is a huge part of how we present the character.”
– “there is a beauty and vulnerability coming through. I think that is sexy in its own way.”
So in other words we had a popular, strong female lead with huge tits in a popular game, and in order to make her continue to be popular, you feel you have to shrink her tits, weaken her, beat her, threaten her with rape, and make her shorter than you. Oh, and give her “that baby fat”.
Yeah. Because there ain’t NOTHING sexier than a bleeding, immobile girl-child in pain and fear.
FUCK THE ACTUAL FUCK OFF.
The problem isn’t that Brian Horton seems to be one deeply creepy motherfucker so much as the fact that one in four real life women get real life raped by real life men. So what you’re doing is taking women’s experiences of real life brutality and using them as A SELLING POINT TO ATTRACT MEN TO PLAY A GAME.
I don’t even have words for how disgusted I am with the industry for vomiting forth this particular monstrosity, and for then placating and back-pedalling in order to protect their new toy. I’d rather they’d just come out and said “Huh, yeah. Rape is sexy.” I’m equally disgusted with anyone who supports this behaviour by buying this.
Given the stats on how many women get raped, there is a significant proportion of men who think rape is fine, and that means there will be a significant proportion of game players / rape apologists / shitty human beings, who will find the idea of Lara Croft, tied up and being eyed up as a candidate for rape, deeply titillating. I mean, there are dudes who will want to “protect” Lara when they see her hurt and trapped. And there are BIG problems with that, but they pale almost into insignificance next to the predictable subset of gamers who will stop the game at that point for a wank.
When this kicked off on Twitter (and many papers picked up the story), Crystal Dynamics issued a “clarification statement,” assuring us all that there is no implied threat of rape in the game.
Why don’t you decide for yourself. At 2.22 in the “Crossroads” trailer below (watch the whole thing to get a flavour of how she’s basically bitch-slapped around the set first), Lara is tied up, and the man who has just found her, drops his hand to her hip and caresses her. I don’t know about you, but in her position I would be thinking “Oh brilliant. He’s thinking about raping me.” And given Ron Rosenberg’s comments, it was in the minds of Crystal Dynamics when the game was developed, too. It’s not overt. You don’t get to watch Lara being raped. But you DO get to watch her realise the dude’s considering it. It’s there. Crystal Dynamics is attempting to profit from the awfulness of rape.
Let’s not be completely cowardly and pretend otherwise.
So, in short, Lara Croft now looks like a beaten, specifically sexually vulnerable young girl – and that is what it takes to appeal to gamers?
Now, to put the cherry on the top of that cake, I refer you to Michael Plant’s article in the Independent on Crystal Dynamics’ “clarification statement”, in which he opines:
“I wouldn’t be so quick to raise the alarm bells though, [Ron Rosenberg] no doubt spoke to 50 journalists that day, and anyone can say a dumb thing after a day like that over such a hectic schedule.”
So basically, Rosenberg got tired enough that he actually spoke the truth. And we shouldn’t be uptight about it. It’s only men profiting from the sexy sexy appeal of rape and woman-beating.
 For the intellectually challenged, the big problems with the whole “protect wimminz” thing is that WOMEN DON’T WANT TO BE PROTECTED. We just want men to stop threatening us so we can go about having a normal life. And men’s idea of “protection” somehow always ends up with us being shoved in burkhas and locked inside the house “for our own safety”. Fuck that noise. Fuck your “protection”.