Crystal Dynamics back-tracks on Tomb Raider “rape” scene

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 21:34 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Crystal Dynamics studio head Darrell Gallagher has said there isn’t an attempted rape scene in Tomb Raider, despite earlier reports to the contrary.

In a post on the official Tomb Raider website, Gallagher said the scene being depicted as an ‘attempted rape’ in the Crossroads trailer for the game, merely has a “threatening undertone,” and is devoid of any rape connotations.

“We had a great E3 with Tomb Raider and received a fantastic public and press response, with the game picking up numerous game of the show awards based on the new direction taken with the franchise. Unfortunately we were not clear in a recent E3 press interview and things have been misunderstood. Before this gets out of hand, let me explain,” he wrote.

“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 late Tomb Raider games. One of the character defining moments for Lara in the game, which has incorrectly been referred to as an ‘attempted rape’ scene is the content we showed at this year’s E3 and which over a million people have now seen in our recent trailer entitled ‘Crossroads’.

“This is where Lara is forced to kill another human for the first time. 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 of categorically not a theme that we cover in this game.”

The scene Gallagher was defending, was described by Crystal Dynamics’ executive producer Ron Rosenberg to Kotaku last week at E3 as a defining moment in Lara’s life:

“Her best friend gets kidnapped, she gets taken prisoner by scavengers on the island. They try to rape her, and she’s literally turned into a cornered animal. And that’s a huge step in her evolution: she’s either forced to fight back or die and that’s what we’re showing today.”

Gallagher apologized for the deptiction of the scene, stating CD was “sorry” it had not been “better explained,” and that the team would “certainly be more careful with what is said in future.”


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  1. Dark

    Oversensitive people with nothing better to do with their lives are determined to ruin this game.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. xino

    lol…this is retarded man!

    the gameplay rape scene is going to be intense!
    it will have button prompts or QTE much like Heavy Rain.
    So you need to keep pressing buttons to keep avoiding the guy.

    i dislike Kotaku

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Ireland Michael

    The problem is that regardless of the action, the tone of numorous scenes in this game give *all* the vibes of a man attempting to prey on a woman, so yes, the “connotations” are entirely there.

    It looks like we’re also going to have to suffer through the other cop-out female characterisation stereotype in this game – maternal instinct.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. fearmonkey

    Romance with sexual overtones yes!
    Hinting at sexual violence no thank you.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. mehdidante

    and thats why i hate the games with female main character .

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Sini

    preorder cancelled.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. gtvdave

    “it never goes any further than the scenes that we have already shown publicly”

    I assume the scene from the trailer stays and that is it. It will still be suggestive. And I am alright with that. I don’t really understand why people thought it would go further than that.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Specialist89

    Crystal Dynamics has really nothing to apologize in my opinion. This is not a story about a woman being raped by a bad guy behind a deserted car wash, this is the story of a young and defenceless woman being forced to transform into something new. She must face the reality she’s living in the game, growing stronger, killing and doing something she never did. I mean, both killing and raping are terrible things to do in real life, but why killing a man with a shotgun should be less scary or brutal than watching a girl almost being raped by a man?

    IMHO the industry is suffering from a sort of auto-censorship, were “strong” subject are avoided not because of their nature, but because of the way videogames are seen in certain social environments. Is it right to see raping, murdering, torture scenes in a movie? NO? Well there are tons of commercial movies with those kind of scenes.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Moonwalker1982

    Seriously…..what the fuck?!!!!!

    How many movies don’t have the most despiccable scenes you can imagine? But a game might have a scene where they show an attempted rape and OMFG……the world’s going to end.


    #9 3 years ago
  10. manamana

    Lets face it, the media love such stuff for headlines….

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Aimless

    @3 The statement doesn’t say anything about connotations, that’s Steph’s editorial.

    The scene is meant to imply salacious intent on the part of the guy, but there is no rape scene; a possibility is suggested but it isn’t realised.

    The way its being reported you wouldn’t think this is the case, and whilst part of the blame lies with Ron Rosenberg for his “literal” interview, I’m inclined to give that guy more of a break given the situation — countless unscripted E3 interviews, etc — than the people who reported on it. The latter had time to reflect on what was said and ample opportunity to reach out for clarification before running the story, but they didn’t.

    Frankly I found the whooping during the graphic violence of some E3 presentations far more unsettling than the contents of the Tomb Raider trailer. Which isn’t to say I want those games to pull their punches — portrayals of violence don’t bother me — I just found the reaction to the brutality of it slightly concerning.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Night Hunter

    @11: I felt the same, especially when the crowd went nuts at the end of the The Last of Us presentation when Joel shot that guy in the face with a shotgun (which he didn’t have to do, it was up to the player).

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Moonwalker1982

    Hold on though, who exactly was making a big deal out of this? I mean they are ‘back-tracking’ with what they said, but why? I don’t follow the mainstream media, so did any commotion happen over this or something?

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Ireland Michael

    @11 I realise this. The point still stands that it has that feeling to it.

    I agree is finding people’s reactions to the violence a little unsettling, but I also have a similar feeling with the kind of scenes being portrayed for this game so far. Every scene had their uncomfortable… leering sense to it. At no point did it ever feel like Lara was in control. She comes across as a constant victim of these men’s brutality. At no point does she ever appea to be empowered.

    I guess I come from a more sensitive perspective with this, because I used to deal with a lot of people who’ve been through the stuff for real, and it makes me very uncomfortable to see it being played out the way it is. I feel it does nothing but demean her character in a very male orientated fashion, more than any low cut top ever could.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. badboy_122

    remember COD MW2 airport accident propaganda ? … it’s the same thing

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Ireland Michael

    @15 That scene made me stop playing the game. I haven’t touched the franchise since.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. absolutezero

    I once knew a girl who was washed ashore on a mystery island. She was chased by a voodoo man who wanted to have sex with her. She narrowly escaped rape multiple times at the hands of various swarthy men.

    She shot them with a home made bow and arrow.

    She got all sorts of wounds and broken ribs and what not. She never stopped going though, even when debased and dirty and broken she continued onwards. She said to me “I never felt incontrol and I never once felt empowered, because I never was.”

    She always had a far away look in her when she said that.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. Ireland Michael

    @17 What the hell dude?

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Aimless

    @14 Whilst I can kind of see where you’re coming from, if Lara was empowered from the start then we wouldn’t be seeing her develop as a character. The footage shown during Microsoft’s conference was from later in the game and shows a pretty big shift from prey to predator.

    As I’m sure it was an influence, look at the character Sarah from The Descent. She starts the film a timid, broken woman, but by the end — having been put through terrible hardships — she’s proven to be a stronger person than I’m every likely to be.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. HauntaVirus

    LMAO! I almost did too…

    #20 3 years ago
  21. TheWulf

    It’s interesting that physical violence is perceived as okay whereas sexual violence is not. From a psychological standpoint, I’m still trying to unravel that. I still remember how the scenes from The Path that slightly hinted at the possibility of rape drove people so overboard as to the point where you had otherwise sensible people screaming about it being a rape simulator.

    And yet violence without sex is fine. It’s okay to take the life of an animal or a person and not give a shit, there’s nothing wrong with that. To snuff out a life is a bigger deal to me, than most, and that’s why I’m less of a fan of games that glorify “The Kill.” And by this I mean games that go out of their way to make killing seem real, and thus to make the pyschopathic killer seem like a hero.

    I can’t help but wonder if Saints Row was less popular than, say, Grand Theft Auto IV because A) the people were less like people and more like action figures, and B) the character clearly wasn’t a hero, she/he was a total, irredeemable bastard.

    I wonder if that hit upon some truths that people don’t like facing?

    In Grand Theft Auto IV, you kill thousands of people and yet somehow the misanthropic mess that you play as is still supposed to be some kind of hero. You’re supposed to give a shit about him rather than wanting to throw him under trains (like I did). I wanted to do that with the Saints Row: The Third character, too, but in the case of Saints Row, the game encouraged it and pretty much made out that the guy was a fuck up.

    So, yeah. Violence is fine, heroes use violence to solve problems. If you can’t solve a problem, you should kill everyone involved in the problem and that’s completely okay. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    That’s the gamer consensus for videogame violence.

    Yet if it’s sexual violence, it suddenly becomes more wrong?

    That’s… just interesting to me. I think it’s wrong, too. I can’t imagine I’d like graphic portrayals of sexual violence, either. But what I’m saying is is that there are people whose bread & butter is nothing but game after game with graphical portrayals of physical violence.

    There’s something weird going on there.

    Is violence only wrong if it’s something you want to fuck?

    EDIT: Or maybe it’s more fair to use ‘get intimate with’ than fuck. Perhaps violence becomes less okay, especially of the sexual sort, if it’s a character you wanted to become intimate with. And thus, any damage to that character, especially sexual, becomes more wrong.

    Would straight gamers react the same way if it was a man being raped?

    This a bloody fascinating subject. And it really pries into the human psyche in regards to what is and is not okay in the realm of entertainment.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. Night Hunter

    @21: I hereby applaud you for putting into writing what I could not!

    #22 3 years ago
  23. KrazyKraut

    We live in a world where male dominate. So all folks here who want a rape scene are male. Maybe thats why no one cared about the thousands of raped woman in Lybia.

    What is wrong with you? Yes violence is okay, we accepted it. But against woman is not. How mad has the world gone, that ppl cancel their order because there is no rape scene in the game? Even the alien ship part in Duke Nukem Forever made me puke…

    #23 3 years ago
  24. endgame

    Oh FOR FUCK SAKE Crystal why are you responding to all these trolls!? Plus that is attempted rape. It’s a natural thing. I would probably do that if I were that guy. Any guy would probably do that if they were that guy.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. Puggy

    Hm, I would not say every man would do that. Actually I do hope not many would act like the one in the Video but anyway.

    What I assume to be happening is, that people are suddenly scared when they see scenes where their Character (who they see as themself) suddenly is the victim and powerless. For them it is like they are the victim and powerless.

    There is no problem with shooting and killing someone, some nameless or name NPC. Though a game where your character (you) only get shot all the time with no chance of escaping, I doubt people would accept such a game.

    So I’d say it all boils down to identification with that character and thus experiencing what they do.

    Oh, and of course, as it was said, such things are also often used for cheap PR and by magazines to have some popular headline.

    #25 3 years ago


    Are you joking, or what?

    #26 3 years ago
  27. endgame

    @26 It depends on who you are, what kind of person you are, what you do and it also depends on her. It’s complicated. You need to understand one thing. A mean thug meeting a beautiful young woman in the middle of nowhere is not going to be interested in conversation. He doesn’t want to know her. He just wants to f**k her. Actually, he doesn’t even have to be a mean thug. Any man would want the same thing because that’s what we are, that’s what we like. We do things different.

    The thing is.. I’m annoyed! I’m annoyed by people trolling a developer who wants to give us the opportunity to experience something as real as possible from the comfort of our homes. I’m annoyed by this developer for responding to trolls. I’m also annoyed because they are lying to us even though it’s clear that that IS attempted rape. And I’m fine with it. I’m annoyed by the faggots who would prefer to see man rape and by the womanizers commanded by their women to do something about this situation. If you people don’t like the game then FUCK OFF! Go back to your man friend or under your women shoes and stfu! This is clearly a game for men or for strong women. Of course your’re going to hate it because you don’t belong to any of these groups. Because you don’t understand how we think. So again! FUCK OFF! Go play Bejeweled or Zuma or w/e faggotry you people liek to play and let grown ups play games fro grown ups

    #27 3 years ago
  28. Da Man

    endgame, I think time has come to pay psychiatrist a visit.

    I would ban you tbh..

    #28 3 years ago
  29. OrbitMonkey

    I think Endgame is exactly the reason some folk are rightly concerned about any sexual violence in a videogame…

    Exactly the type of guy who goes camping with no sleeping bag, so he can share yours :-/

    #29 3 years ago
  30. endgame

    @28 and 29 So which are you? F*****s or womanizers?

    #30 3 years ago
  31. Ali Hayas

    For the sake of whats good, remove any nudity/sexual content from video games. I play video game to have fun not to be attracted and dealt with like a stupid teenager. And before some you start throwing me with hypocrisy regarding being ready to kill but not rape, killing can be the righ choice, rape never is even if it was from the player point of view which in this case being attacked. There are much better ways to achieve realism, but who said that they are going for realism ? The trailers ain’t realistic to me afterall. Also, this is a huge change in Lara’s personality which was supposed to be a tough girl that can endure all, the trailer shows a girl that doesnt stop screaming and crying. This is not the Lara Croft I liked in the past. I am not really into this reboot….. It is just wrong IMO.

    I am tired of women wearing like whores in video games, most of the girls outside are more respectable than this. It is really stupid. Look at the fighting games, it is shameful. Jiggling and very exposing clothes, you would really wonder about the mentality of the designers.

    #31 3 years ago
  32. Puggy

    I do think this is a somewhat incorrect approach. No game ever is for strong this or strong that. In fact, games do not really make you strong at all, depending on what makes you strong in your eyes of course.

    However, games are usually tailored to please as many as possible potential buyers, so that said potential buyer, turns into an actual buyer. Any company not doing this and putting money into a game that might be played by some 100k people (who are arguably strong/elite/skilled/otherwise above the average human being) would probably make a loss.

    #32 3 years ago
  33. StolenGlory

    “Plus that is attempted rape. It’s a natural thing. I would probably do that if I were that guy. Any guy would probably do that if they were that guy.”

    I just don’t know where to begin with that. Just how do you address somebody on this thread who condones rape and believes it to be perfectly natural?

    Answers on a postcard please.

    #33 3 years ago
  34. OrbitMonkey

    Endgame walks into a bar:

    A lager for me and Rohypnol for the ladies.

    #34 3 years ago
  35. absolutezero

    The industry consistancy and constantly cries for video games to be more than they are just now, video games need to mature/grow up/expand.

    Like has been previously mentioned in quite a few different threads cinema and literature do not have this scary phobia of showing violence towards women. It does not even have to be linked to realism, Game of Throns is a horrible but hugely popular World. In that World rape happens, along with constant deaths.

    Hell even something on the same level of public perception as video games like comic books rutinely tackle this kind of content with far more maturity and understanding.

    You know how fans of cinema or books self-censor themselves through being able to know their own tastes? Like someone who dislikes horror movies will not go to see a horror movie at the cinema? and therefore does not really comment upon horror movies?

    There is nothing like that with games. Everyone needs to play every game and they must have opinions on all of them.

    #35 3 years ago

    endgame, you are sick and need serious psychological help.

    People like Graham Coutts (Google him) started out thinking the way that you do.

    #36 3 years ago
  37. OrbitMonkey

    ^^ Its the interactive aspect of games that will always cause concern when content like this is involved.

    #37 3 years ago


    I think the kind of views that have been expressed in these very comments should discourage any developer with a conscience from going down the path of using this kind of content.

    Particularly as gaming becomes more and more visually realistic.

    #38 3 years ago
  39. manamana

    @endgame you obviously have a serious problem. And don’t you dare speak for “us” or “every man” you sick freak!

    #39 3 years ago
  40. absolutezero

    So are we actually trying to say that there will be an interactive scene in which we the player must control Lara in fighting off a rape?

    From what I can tell its a story point more than likely taking place outside of our hands, so it has very little to do with interactivity.

    Sure if it is actually a Rape QTE then its hellish but really theres far worse thats much more accepted.

    Do any of you remember Haunting Ground? See that games main premise was running away from sexual predators that wanted the main characters womb. The player character really was weak beyond belief, no attacks, running and hiding only. If you were put under too much stress in that game you would have a panic attack and lose complete control and she ran about randomly running into walls.

    Haunting Ground is a much much more offensive than anything that Ive seen revealed here. Only its a PS2 game so no one gives a fuck.

    #40 3 years ago
  41. Da Man

    Can we have a liveblog on whether TR reboot should have more platforming?

    Anyway, I think you should’ve went further and asked: would the attempted rape scene be more intense with a Dualshock control scheme or the 360 one?? That’s whopping two birds with one stone.

    #41 3 years ago
  42. endgame

    @34 I would never use medicine on ladies. Why take their pleasure away?

    @everyone-else You misunderstand me. I am not pro-rape just as I am not pro-murder. But some people would be better off dead while some women should be raped. I know all of you think of yourselves like awesome and good people and if everyone else would be like you it would be great. But they’re not! And sometimes bad things have to happen to bad people. Though you might be a bit weak-minded and would probably not accept the truth.. I understand this. Ignorance is bliss. If you would know what some people (that don’t exist) do just so you can keep living your happy lives you would probably go mad.

    Of course this is completely different from what happens in the game. I’m just trying to make a point.

    #42 3 years ago
  43. absolutezero

    “But some people would be better off dead while some women should be raped.”

    This is amazing, please do go on.

    #43 3 years ago
  44. manamana

    endgame = game over

    #44 3 years ago
  45. Night Hunter

    @42: Dafuq? Why can’t women be murdered too? Why do they HAVE to be raped in your opinion. This discussion just got rather twisted …

    #45 3 years ago

    “But some people would be better off dead while some women should be raped.”

    This is getting ridiculous now.

    Can this guy just be banned?

    #46 3 years ago
  47. OlderGamer

    Very scary endgame. Very.

    #47 3 years ago
  48. endgame

    @Night Hunter It depends mate. It’s on a case by case thing. They can be murder too. It just depends on the nature of their crime. Also men can be raped too. As I said, it depends.

    @G1GAHURTZ Yes! For example I think Hitler should have been killed at birth. I’m sorry that you do not agree and that you approve of what he did. And I’m the one who needs help. Right.. Also, why should I get banned? I have not offended anyone here.

    #48 3 years ago

    Anyone who says it’s ok to rape people, no matter the context, doesn’t even belong in a civilised society. Much less a video game blog.

    But oK, I’ll try and humour you for a very short while.

    Explain to me exactly when you think it might be ok to rape a woman?

    Give me a specific example.

    What could a woman possibly do to deserve being violated in such a way?

    #49 3 years ago
  50. endgame

    I don’t live in a civilized society. And you know what you’re right. This is not the place to talk about something like that. So let’s drop it.

    #50 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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