Crystal Dynamics global brand director Karl Stewart has said the Tomb Raider comments made by executive producer Ron Rosenberg during E3 contain a word which is not in the firm’s “vocabulary,” or “communication.”
The word and communication Stewart were referring to are rape, and sexual assault, respectively.
Speaking with Kotaku regarding the controversy that just won’t die, Stewart said the comment made by Rosenberg was just an opinion his colleague gleaned from the situation.
“He did say it… It’s his personal opinion and certainly… like I said, it’s not something that we communicate,” said Stewart, who described the scene in question as more of a “pathological situation” containing close physical intimidation.”
The scene in question contains a grubby island bandit touching Lara Croft’s thigh in a rather ominous manner. In this situation, Stewart admitted it wouldn’t be an issue if the game’s protagonist was male – because the bandit wouldn’t have rubbed his thigh apparently – but even with the star of the game being a female, it’s still not a sexual assault.
“By giving her motivation to become the stronger action-adventure hero and the girl that’s willing to fight to stay alive and move forward throughout the game, we use that device and that intimidation to make her stronger,” Stewart explained. “To make her feel empowered and to take her beyond that breaking point where she realises the severity of the situation and she’s willing to fight to stay alive.”
When Kotaku kept pushing Stewart on the matter, the PR representative broke in and put a stop to it.
“I’m pretty sure Karl answered as well as he can the question- I understand where you’re going with this, I think it’s like, you can see the outcome if this continues, but nothing sexual occurred,” said the rep. “Violence occurred as a result of that. I just don’t think you’re going to get any further than what you’re getting out of Karl.”
The interview goes on to discuss Rosenberg’s comments about the player wanting to protect Lara, and Stewart said his comment was reasonable as the opinion was derived through focus group testing.
“We are not building a game where we’re basically saying ‘Hey… our goal is to have the player protect Lara,'” Stewart said. “That’s your choice in playing the game. How you interpret it is your choice. What Ron is saying… that’s the results from fairly significant amounts of play-testers.”
Tomb Raider is out February 2013.