Developer in a tangle over Lara Croft rape row
Thursday, June 14, 2012 2:08 PM
The developers of the new Tomb Raider game have got themselves into something of a proverbial pickle regarding a controversial scene which they previewed at E3.
After executive producer Ron Rosenberg reportedly told the website Kotaku that the E3 'Crossroads' trailer does portray an attempted rape of Lara Croft by "island scavengers", Darrell Gallagher, the studio head of Crystal Dynamics which is making the game, has since said it doesn't - claiming that "things have been misunderstood".
Despite Rosenberg telling Kotaku that "[Lara's] best friend gets kidnapped, she gets taken prisoner by scavengers on the island. They try to rape her. She's literally turned into a cornered animal," Gallagher is insistent that the game contains absolutely no such content.
"While there is a threatening undertone in the sequence and surrounding drama, sexual assault of any kind is categorically not a theme that we cover in this game," he said in a statement.
However, Gallagher comments came too late to stop a furore developing which has rather overshadowed the more positive overall message that the developers were looking to communicate with the new game.
"The ability to see her as a human is even more enticing to me than the more sexualized version of yesteryear," Rosenberg had said of the studio's decision to remodel Lara as less curvaceous and more battle weary figure - although it must be said that she could easily still have been based on a catwalk model.
Unsurprisingly, responses to the 'rape' scene have been mixed. Katie Russell of Rape Crisis told the Sun she had concerns about the scene being designed to "titillate", while responses from Kotaku readers ranged from "lazy story writing" to "overreaction".
What this episode has once again shown is that controversy and video games go hand-in-hand and, with even members of the same company at odds, it seems unlikely a consensus on the acceptability of violent content will ever be reached.