The developers of the next installment of the 16-year-old video-game franchise Tomb Raider decided to reboot its strong and sexy heroine, Lara Croft, to make her seem more vulnerable. The big change: A new sequence depicting the character as the victim of an attempted rape (see a video below). Though Tomb Raider executive producer Ron Rosenberg says seeing Croft "turned into a cornered animal" will make players "want to protect her" more, the news incensed fans and bloggers, who slammed the move as cheap, lazy, and misogynistic. Is the new wrinkle to the tough-as-nails heroine's backstory revolting or revealing?
Worst. Reboot. Ever: It is mind-boggling that these numbskulls would misogynistically warp the story of "one of the most beloved ass-kicking female protagonists in gaming," says Kellie Foxx-Gonzalez at The Mary Sue. They're turning Tomb Raider into just another piece of vile "torture porn" for "a male-dominated gaming culture."
"So we replaced sexy Lara Croft with victim Lara Croft"
Relax. Croft shows the rapist who's boss: "I get why people are upset, I really do," says Susan Arendt at The Escapist. But watching Lara Croft fight her way out of this one is inspiring... and relatable. Real-world women "probably won't end up on an island being harassed by tribesmen and bandits," but sooner or later we will be in a terrifying situation with nobody coming to the rescue. So instead of worrying about "what's knocking Lara down," let's "applaud the way she keeps getting back up."
"Get back up"
Ugh. This is just so predictable: It's hardly shocking that the folks behind Tomb Raider would want to give their "symbol of female power and strength" an intriguing backstory, says Abi Silvester at Dolly Mix. That's huge in gaming these days. And this is hardly the first time someone introduced sexual violence into a game — Grand Theft Auto, anyone? It's just that attempted rape is so heavy-handed and predictable. Couldn't these guys have come up with a more creative way to "make Lara into a credible woman"?
"Lara Croft: Rape survivor?"
Watch the game's trailer for yourself: