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A storm of controversy has leaped up around Square-Enix's forthcoming Tomb Raider reboot after executive producer, Ron Rosenberg, used the word 'rape' in an interview about the game. A poor choice of words, perhaps, but totally misconstrued by the over-eager press of the world, which chose to run sensationalist headlines (I know, surprising, isn't it?) claiming the game was 'using sexual violence as entertainment by including a rape scene'. For instance, The Metro, a UK newspaper:
Above: Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, eh? Also, that is an ancient pic
The Metro isn't alone. The Guardian muses: "The inclusion of the attempted rape scene raises some difficult questions. If the scene is playable, what exactly happens should the player fail? If it is not, why show it at all?" And The Sun leads with the headline: "Lara Croft’s ‘rape’ ordeal in video game hell" before continuing with "Lara Croft will face an attempted RAPE in the next Tomb Raider video game." Well, the word needed some CAPS, didn't it?
The first problem? New Tomb Raider does not include a rape scene of any kind. Second problem? The FULL EXTENT (I can do that too) of any suggested 'sexual violence' has already been publicly shown in the E3 Crossroads trailer. Have another look:
Perhaps we should go back to Rosenberg's exact words, as reported by Kotaku:
"...she gets taken prisoner by scavengers on the island. They try to rape her, and-"
What he's actually describing is that one scavenger in the trailer (around the 2:20 mark), who approaches the bound Lara, then suggestively moves his hand down her side towards her hip...
Above: Creepy hands
...at which point Lara quite rightly raises her knee and rearranges his gonads into an interesting 'pancake' formation:
Above: Crack! That's gotta hurt
Bravo, Lara. A brief struggle ensues, during which the gropey scavenger appears to try to kiss Lara's neck. Lara finally gets the upper hand and it's all over. That's yer lot. That's the 'rape' scene.
In an attempt to throw a cup of water on the blazing inferno, a statement was issued by Crystal Dynamics' studio head, Darrell Gallagher, and published on the game's official site. It said:
"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. 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 is categorically not a theme that we cover in this game.
There it is. Crystal Dynamics says sexual violence is not a theme covered in this game. So it's just the neck-stabbing, arrow firing and deliberate immolation. Which is all fine. Glad we've got that sorted out.
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