Tomb Raider controversy stemmed from “limited information” available, says Pratchett

Saturday, 5th January 2013 16:29 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Tomb Raider’s lead writer, Rhianna Pratchett, has said the brouhaha over the supposed “attempted rape” scene involving Lara Croft by one of the rapscallions inhabiting the island she’s shipwrecked on was the result of “limited information” available at the time.

Speaking with CVG, Pratchett stated that since she hadn’t been announced as the game’s writer at the time of the controversy, she was unable attempt to clarify the scene in question or help “counteract bullshit headlines.”

“I wasn’t able to come out and say ‘actually, this is what we’re doing in this scene,’” she said. “I can totally understand why [it sparked controversy], there was limited information out there and some things were said that were just not accurate. I think everyone who’s talked about it since has talked about context.

“There’s no flick switch to bad assery, that scene happens, she has to deal with it, but her character is not changed because of it. This isn’t I Spit on your Grave or the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Not to sound dismissive, but when you see it as a whole, she’s gone through lots of challenges before that and there are many more challenges after that.”

Pratchett also stated that not every player will want to “protect Lara,” as executive producer Ron Rosenberg surmised back in June.

“I’m not going to say that every player has the same relationship with their character,” she said. “I actually think that scene has more power for players that feel that they are that character, because it is uncomfortable. It should be uncomfortable.

“It just shows that there’s not necessarily enough knowledge about video games for people to stand up and say ‘That’s not what it’s like.’ People just think ‘video games are for kids and it’s rape and ARRRR!’

“There’s just not enough knowledge to counteract bullshit headlines.”

Tomb Raider is out on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in March.



  1. HauntaVirus

    Please let this one rest…

    #1 2 years ago
  2. _LarZen_

    The game industry need to grow up, if this was a Movie the producers would not get any problems.

    The Developers should get tougher and say it like it is, it’s a adult game with adult settings. Dont like it then dont buy the fucking game.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. roadkill

    @2 +1

    #3 2 years ago
  4. mreko3230

    The game journalist found more “controversy” in it than gamers. Most of the comments after the “announcement” of the attempted rape scene were more like yours. I know I didn’t even raise an eyebrow. I thought, “There going for a more mature, grounded Lara story, so that seems to fit.”

    These are the same journalist that don’t care that you can gruesomely slice the throats of countless women in “Dishonored”.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Erthazus

    I watched every Tomb Raider (2013) gameplay/cinematic video and never saw there rape. I missed something or journalists are just retarded?

    #5 2 years ago
  6. FinalStar

    This is so laughable: So Square Enix preferred to get lots of negative headlines last June because they were unwilling to unveil their “star author” before scheduled?

    Is there anyone out there who cares more about Tomb Raider because Rhianna Pratchett is writing the story? Why should, we actually? Because her previous effort with Mirror’s Edge was so noteworthy in the story department (yeah, sure)? Or much more likely because of her father.

    The ever-growing practise of unvielig little bits and pieces over months with many being worth a footnote at best is getting out of hand and I kind of like that Square Enix got bitten in the ass because of this.

    I’ve played the game from the start to quite a bit after that scene in a presentation, and she’s got one thing right: There is no “switch” in that particular moment (which did get blown way out of proportion), yet afterwards, Lara wildly swings between being like Bambi and like Jane Rambo frequently – I’d call that sloppy character development by the writer.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DSB

    I don’t think Square Enix really had a chance with those headlines. I thought the interview as a whole made a lot of sense, but sadly the media decided to run with something that made it sound like the developers were just waiting to tear Lara Croft apart in a videogame, for their own perverse pleasure.

    It’s really pathetic that the media couldn’t control their own individual hardons enough to stop and maybe consider a different take from that interview.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. stevenhiggster

    @2 +another 1

    #8 2 years ago
  9. TheWulf

    On some level, the reactions here are more than a little pathetic. I can’t help but wonder what the reaction would have been if the portrayal was of a guy being raped. To be honest, I’d love to see how gamers would react if it was a MILD (I stress MILD) depiction of Gordon Freeman being raped.

    This is all about perspective, and what I’ve noticed is that there are more women in games journalism than there are women posting comments. And it seems that women were bothered by this more than guys. I wonder why.

    And yes, I know who Rhianna is. But she’s a human, like anyone else. If her pay-grade was high enough, and the suits demanded it, then she’d slip zoophilia into her scripts.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. SplatteredHouse

    @2: I agree with your view on this. The willingness to take steps appears to be all that’s restraining creative direction in interactive media. What are people creating games seeking to do? If they’re looking to tell a story – why can’t they? Why isn’t the sole resort of anyone who doesn’t want to play a game – not to play it! If you buy a book, and you don’t like it or disagree with the content you can do whatever with it, burn it if the thought appeals. You don’t get to verbally suppress it out of all existence. You’re not conceded that level of power. A game can suffer that fate.

    If Six Days in Fallujah were a book, it would probably been released by now. It may have been an utterly godawful affront to any tenet of literature, it could have been unrelentingly terrible, errors inconsistencies, plot-holes and more, but had its text been completed, chances are, that the public would have been able to judge the quality and value of that work. As it’s a game, it seems it doesn’t enjoy the creative discretion of other mediums. A game may not be published, in the case that people are uncomfortable with, or dislike the subject matter (I use this title only as an illustrative example of a game not released, in no small part, due to prevailing prejudice)

    What does it say of the faith in a wider scope, afforded to ratings boards, where subjects/imagery employed can sometimes still end in restriction to adults? Informing and entertaining, just as long as it’s within these predetermined borders.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Just-Joe

    Working on limited information? That’s video game journalism for you. Spit on your shoes and tell you it’s monsoon season.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    @11 There is journalism good and bad in any industry. ‘Games journalism’ cannot and should not be lumped together as one thing any more than you’d lump the BBC in with Fox Newz.

    And yes, I always spell that with a Z. It just seems more appropriate.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. YoungZer0

    The reaction by some videogame journalists was nothing but embarrassing. Similar to the fan reactions of the new DmC. Ignorant and dumb. Really, they had one quote and it was enough for most of them to push for their bullshit agenda.

    You can show a head being shattered by a bullet through x-ray, but even hinting at rape is a big no-no. Isaac gets his head chopped off and a necromorph uses his body a host, but someone touches Lara’s legs? That’s distasteful, you should be in jail for that!

    Lara nearly gets eaten by a cannibal? Cool. Someone could be touching her breasts? What the fuck is wrong with you?

    If you can’t deal with the subject: Fine, that’s your problem, but don’t discourage people who want people to talk about it.

    Mild depiction of Gordon Freeman getting raped? Fine, why not? If it serves a purpose, do it. The scene will probably spark a huge discussion about the immense double standards when it comes to male victims of rape. If not, no harm done, it’s a fictional character after all. Could be a great way of dismantling male tropes in videogames.

    I dunno if any of you have seen the movie Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (The superior David Fincher Version), but there was nothing fun, or sexy, or anything else about the rape scene. It was disgusting, absolutely disgusting. And it was long and you saw the damage it has done to the body and her character.

    It was a terrifying and painful experience for Lizbeth, but she didn’t give in, she planned her revenge, hit that fucker right back and moved on. That showed pure strength. She never let this experience determine the rest of her life. It’s just a movie, but it’s encouraging for people who were raped, contrary to what some shiteating feminists on tumblr will tell you; Yes, you can recover from it. Yes, you can become yourself again.

    If videogames deliver the same message, what’s the problem?

    #13 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.