Crystal Dynamics denies Tomb Raider attempted rape scene

[UPDATE] Crystal Dynamics explains in interview that this scene represents a "huge step in [Lara Croft's] evolution" and is an attempt to strengthen the game's narrative; developer now saying, "Sexual assault of any kind is not a theme that we cover in this game."

Upcoming adventure game Tomb Raider will feature a scene where protagonist Lara Croft is the victim of attempted rape. Speaking to Kotaku, Crystal Dynamics executive producer Ron Rosenberg said that during this scene Croft is "literally turned into a cornered animal" and forced to "fight back or die."

Crystal Dynamics now says Tomb Raider does not feature an attempted rape scene.

Explaining further, Rosenberg said that this scene represents a "huge step in [Croft's] evolution" and that the encounter was devised as a means to help bolster the strength of Tomb Raider's origin narrative.

"We're not trying to be over the top; shock people for shock's sake," he said. "We're trying to tell a great origin story."

[UPDATE] After the publication of this story, Crystal Dynamics studio head Darrell Gallagher released a statement on the matter. He explained that Ron Rosenberg's comments to Kotaku during an interview were "misunderstood."

"In making this Tomb Raider origins story, our aim was to take Lara Croft on an exploration of what makes her the character she embodies in later Tomb Raider games," reads a line from the statement. "One of the character-defining moments for Lara in the game, which has been incorrect referred to as an 'attempted rape scene' is the content we showed at this year's E3. In this particular section, while there is a threatening undertone in the sequence and surrounding drama, it never goes any further than the scenes that we have already shown publicly."

"Sexual assault of any kind is not a theme that we cover in this game. We're sorry that this has not been better explained. We'll certainly be more careful with what is said in [the] future."

Rosenberg also elaborated on Croft's new look. As fans will have already noticed, Croft's curvy features and skimpy outfits from past games have been replaced by a more functional appearance. This, Rosenberg explained, was intentional.

"The ability to see her as a human is even more enticing to me than the more sexualized version of yesteryear," he said.

Lastly, Rosenberg explained that while Croft remains the hero of Tomb Raider, he has found that players don't often project themselves into the character, but rather act as her guardian.

"They're more like 'I want to protect her.' There's this sort of dynamic of 'I'm going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her," he said. "She's definitely the hero but you're kind of like her helper. When you see her have to face these challenges, you start to root for her in a way that you might not root for a male character."

Tomb Raider was originally slated to arrive on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC this fall, but was recently delayed to March 5, 2013. The game will tell the tale of how Croft came to be the crafty, nimble adventurer at the center of the long-running series. For more on the project, check out GameSpot's 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo stage show demo.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

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Discussion

0 comments
funktacious2
funktacious2

Big deal. I won't expect a rape scene in a Tomb Raider game anyways, but if they did, congrats to them for trying to tell a story their way (Heavy Rain had two attempted rape scenes neither felt like cheap thrills). The gaming community and especially console gamers are starved of stories that dive into those more mature territories that movies have been doing for over half a century (and books for far longer than that). I hope sooner than later the general public will stop seeing gaming as a medium for children and allow more mature stories to be told. Unfortunately, I don't think the general public is the only ones to blame. Why would game developers shell out money for ambitious, mature story driven AAA titles when it's been proven they can just release a sequel to their flagship titles every year or two? It's no coincidence that some of the most recent games known for having mature or thought provoking stories or themes mostly come in the form of indie games on PC. Low production costs, less restrictions (both technical and moral). There was a time when I really welcomed the upcoming next generation consoles because developers have been saying for years now that the tech is limiting their potential, but the cost of making AAA titles isn't going to get any cheaper. Will developers still try to put out new IPs, and if so for how long? Can increased tech really help developers find new ways to tell a story or will the need to turn a profit cause devs to go the safer route and use the tech to focus on gameplay? ... What were we talking about again?

SoreThumbsBill
SoreThumbsBill

Pako and that crazy doctor tried to rape Paige in Heavy Rain but I don't remember anyone caring!

Vic6933
Vic6933

Just had to say, I get why this is a discussion but nothing happens.  The guy doesn't even get close.  To call sexual assault a theme in Tomb Raider is too much.  That'd be like saying animal abuse is a theme in the Dark Knight because batman punched a dog (scene near end where he saves victims dressed as goons).  It happened but no one got bent out of shape. 

Yuusha09
Yuusha09

I don't see the director of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", denying their owns story, and that wasn't "attempted".  Why the hell should video game creators feel they should have to apoligise for their work.

rhymesmatter
rhymesmatter

That was merely a rape attempt!The dude didn't even manage to touch her before she kicked him to oblivion and shoot him in the face!Seriously why all the hype for such a scene?The whole game explores the origin of how Lara came to be the gun-totting-archaelogist that she turned to be later.Of course they have to show how much she was pushed to the limit in order to actually kill a person!That was her first kill (Human kill) and the stepping stone to her transformation (along with other factors) you can't just grab two pistols at your early 20 and start shooting people indiscriminately!!There has to be a backround a forcing factor to lead you there!That scene that was shown in the trailer fits PERFECTLY to the whole premise they are trying to create and if they omit it they are stupid to the bone!Nobody complained to begin with!

AJC3317
AJC3317

there shouldn't really be any controversy. if they're going for an "m" rating, which it appears they are, then all the undertones of a female stranded on a male inhabitted island, inluding possible sexual desires, should be at least explored as an option to put into the game. again, if a game is rated "m" then it's not for kids in the first place

-HaloHitman-
-HaloHitman-

Why does it seem this game gets darker and darker?

DemonLord_RNT
DemonLord_RNT

This really IS quite depressing.What a stupid and vain conversation to have around this game,that in my opinion is gonna be something else.It's revolting how the press treats(even the game press)game in such a sensasionalist way!

rarson
rarson

"They're more like 'I want to protect her.' There's this sort of dynamic of 'I'm going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her," he said. "She's definitely the hero but you're kind of like her helper. When you see her have to face these challenges, you start to root for her in a way that you might not root for a male character."

 

Uh, that's not exactly a positive message there. It sounds like he's saying "I want to protect her because she's a woman."

MasterOfSprites
MasterOfSprites

At least that is positive, but I am really sad that this series is another victim of the dark and gritty reboot virus.

Abelius
Abelius

Hey GameSpot, thanks for censoring me for saying an inconvenient truth.

 

I already feel like Al Gore... :-P

wyan_
wyan_

All her rapes are belong to us.

pqwoei
pqwoei

They should just put they're game in the Mature Category

Mr-Possible
Mr-Possible

I like the new direction, what more could they do with the original formula? fingers crossed this is a great edition to a great story

chocolate1325
chocolate1325

My only concern is the shooting because recent installments have had a poorr shooting system hopefully with it being a reinvention the series thats a thing the designers have improved on.

Vickman178
Vickman178

I liked it better when she could do backflips and shoot two pistols at the same time while in the air....

Rovelius
Rovelius

ICO made me feel protective.

Abelius
Abelius

Misunderstood... yeah right...

 

A lost island full of wild (and mostly male) survivors. A pretty and healthy young lady shows up and everyone wants to kill her... nothing more... :-P

 

Seems to me that the writers (or their bosses) didn't read "Game of Thrones"... Or they simply don't want this kind of publicity...

 

I bet it's the latter.

 

Ps.: Not saying I condone raping, but I find that lack of approach to the SEXUAL subject pretty lame and immature.

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

I feel more sorry for her butler, she keeps locking him in the freezer.

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

" he has found that players don't often project themselves into the character, but rather act as her guardian."

 

So basically what he's saying is that they taken away all her strength of character and turned her into a helpless little girl the player has to protect. Wow they just managed the impossible, making her less of a sex object and yet making the game more misogynist. Just go back to a sexy Lara that kicks ass because even the feminists will probably agree that an oversexulized  but strong female lead is better than a weak female lead that needs the player's protection.

muppen
muppen

I don't see anything worth getting up in arms over in that scene. The bad guy touches Lara on the hip, she fights back and kills him. Some people are just overreacting. It's supposed to be a "character defining moment", so if the guy had just stood there waving his gun (without approaching her at all) and Lara had beaten him down and killed him it wouldn't have had that impact in the narrative that Crystal Dynamics are going for.

FireVixen
FireVixen

It looks like a sexual assault to me, but I don't think that so bad. That's something women have to deal with everyday. Lara is in a bad situation, this scene really expresses that and helps to develop her character. Just admit it CD. As long as it's to make the narrative better, I'm all for it. 

aussiemuscle
aussiemuscle

yep, put as much violence and blood in any game as you like, but don't even think of putting a hint of anything sexual in any game, ever. when is this industry going to grow up and grow a pair?

hadlee73
hadlee73

My main concern with this game and Lara's new found vulnerability that appears to be so appealing to everyone, is that once Lara has experienced all these "turning points" that will shape her personality, in future games she'll just end up being the same tough-chick hag that we were getting before. And they'll be forced to bring in another weak male comedy relief character to make up for it. :P

SolidTy
SolidTy

Tomb Raider was never Crystal Dynamics creation, they are merely making a game, but it wasn't their design, it's not really their true impetus and driving force. They have done alright though with the franchise so far, and CD even recruited some high profile Sony employees like a God of War Director.

 

This game should also provide some fun to those gamers that never played Naughty Dog's Uncharted, but they want a worthy AAA exploration/combat/platforming game on their machine.

 

So the TR franchise is in capable hands clearly, but it would be nice to see CD do something they want to do that isn't part of an IP they never created....which I hear they are working on once this game is released. Hint : Something to do with Legacies and Souls. :P

Predwarrior
Predwarrior

As a longtime TR fan, all I have to say is: anybody else sick of the grimdark? Does every game have to have a gritty reboot? Why does this look more like the next Saw than Indiana Jones? I'm all for Lara getting more realistic proportions, but do they have to throw out the love of adventure for survival horror?

Abelius
Abelius

 @AJC3317

I don't think they're going for an M rating at all. In fact, that "Oh no! You misunderstood us!" statement tell us that they're worried about not getting a Teen rating and sell less.

 

The controversy here is because they're denying the obvious: that Lara would be repeatedly assaulted in a sexual way by those stranded survivors which didn't saw a female in ages. It's THEIR fault!

 

And now they want to "explain" to us the we "misunderstood" the environment they created... :-P

 

The irony is that, for me, this game would be better WITHOUT those survivors in the first place... This story was supposed to be about Lara against the wilds, all alone and on her own... not her against a NOT abandoned and lost island full of World War II gangstas... :-P

rarson
rarson

 @Abelius

 

"I already feel like Al Gore..."

 

Rich and hypocritical?

Abelius
Abelius

And yet again I was censored for using the TABOO word... xD

 

This is SO pathetic, guys... really. You really need a more open mind or your head will end exploding. xD

blackwingzero
blackwingzero

 @PixelAddict

 Evolved? More like someone screwed up big time and now they've got to put out the fire.

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

 @PixelAddict Well when you see an article with a title like the one posted yesterday, they scramble for damage control. Unnecessary damage control if you ask me.

Abelius
Abelius

 @Vickman178 Yup, but this story is supposed to be about how she started doing backflips... and how she failed miserably. xD

I don't know anyone who don't commit errors while learning.

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

 @Abelius Its articles like the one posted yesterday, that scares developers into running from the same story content that other story based media doesn't hesitate to cover. No dev wants to be called misogynistic, you know how that word is thrown around these days. I mean sensationalism like that on GS, imagine what Fox News would do with it. They would somehow construe that implication into some kind of sexual assault simulator lol.

muppen
muppen

 @moonlightwolf01 It is an origin story so of course Lara's not going to have her strengths right away, but they will evolve through the game.

Abelius
Abelius

 @muppen Hell yeah! They totally contradict themselves.

FireVixen
FireVixen

 @hadlee73 I don't really think so. It's possible for them to make Lara  BA, but also make her human. For example, when she is shot, there could be a recoil, and so on. 

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @Predwarrior Once CD took the franchise, and considering their dark experience in other games, this is the only direction that made sense for them. I feel you though, as I've heard that brought up many times once CD took over. Unfortunately, that's what happens when new developers take the reigns on a franchise. ON the plus side, because of CD, TR isn't dead though.

 

BTW : I want to be clear, CD took over a while back, but many gamers don't follow developers and have no idea why things happen to their franchises the way they do.

LaraAngelOfDark
LaraAngelOfDark

 @UnwantedSpam 

 

She can have a cow if she wants. The full scene, which can probably still be found online, makes sense in the context of the game IMO. The things that lead up to the fight between Lara and this man are also part of the reason for their "fight". She doesn't kill him just for touching her hip and whispering in her ear(which is what he is doing, not kissing her neck).

killerintherye
killerintherye

 @AbeliusYou mean make a game that doesn't cover all of the current game conventions (read: making everything look and play like Uncharted) - that would be unheard of!  /sarcasm

 

I would like a game like the one you're outlining here.  From what it sounds like this game is just Lara Croft: Far Cry 3.

 

Abelius
Abelius

 @rarson 

 

Mmm, that's great. And now another reader attacks me...

 

Freedom of speech, pal. I'll respect yours even if GameSpot doesn't do the same with mine.

Abelius
Abelius

 @Sepewrath Ha ha, yeah! Well, I'm Spanish but even here we know about Fox sensationalism. We also have a TV channel called "Antena 3" who does exactly the same with pieces of games like that "hot coffee" hidden minigame at GTA San Andreas. They make their day with those bits of comical leaks. :-)

Predwarrior
Predwarrior

 @SolidTy I actually really liked Legend and Anniversary (even though Anniversary was only a remake). Not the old play style, but thought they had good atmosphere. Haven't played Underworld yet. I know CD is used to making darker games, but I still feel there's a difference between the new TR and the LoK series. LoK had angst, this is fricken' torture porn. I'm not against dark games, but don't see TR as a good fit here. I really wish they'd left Lara alone this time and made a next-gen Lok game, It's been way too long since we've seen an entry in that series.

rarson
rarson

 @Abelius

 

I didn't attack you, I attacked Al Gore. Way to jump to conclusions.