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Telling the Story of Lara Croft

Re-imagining an established video game icon from the ground up must have been taxing for Crystal Dynamics. Every Tomb Raider devotee had something to say regarding the franchise overhaul; some were and still are hesitant to welcome a new direction for Lara Croft, a character normally summarized as, well, "hot and capable," with a pithy remark always locked and loaded.

On the other side of the great divide are the outspoken people who see her as an outdated male fantasy personified, and her "classic" reputation can only be attributed to nothing more than her unchanging and long-standing prescence in the industry. Social media seemed to exasperate this separation when Twitter blew up on Executive Producer Ron Rosenberg.

"We wanted players to get the sense of trying to protect Croft," said Rosenberg in an interview with Kotaku. Having her cornered like an "animal" and threatened with rape is a controversial way to go about "humanizing" Croft, and many viewed the damsel in distress trope as a poor trade-off for the enduring modern fantasy woman born in 1996. Mary Hamilton of The Guardian questioned this direction:

"Male characters are generally permitted to be strong without needing a back story in which they are broken – why should female characters be different? Why do we need to protect Lara through an awful ordeal for her strength to make sense?"

Disappointment set in further when Rosenberg tried to convince himself "when people play Lara, they don't really project themselves into the character." As a wild untruth I can disprove by personal experience, I have a hard time believing other women haven't grown to idolize the intelligent, self-sufficient Lara regardless of her stigma.

Rhianna Pratchett is the first female lead writer for the Tomb Raider franchise, and another woman who can dismiss Rosenberg on his claim. "There is some of me in her. She's very focused; she's very in her head," Pratchett says. As a past student of Egyptology and archery, Pratchett and Lara have a lot in common.

Whichever side of the fence you're on, episode two of "The Final hours of Tomb Raider" discusses the anxiety tied to the first big reboot reveal, and it's not to be missed.

Reported by Mandy Safai



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