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Submitted by Ben_Giff 775d ago | opinion piece

How the next 'Tomb Raider' disempowers women | BGMediaReview

Try to think of a list of strong female leads in video games. There are a scant few, but nowhere near as many as there are strong male leads. The only two that come immediately to mind for me are Samus Aran and Lara Croft. There's also female Commander Shepard, though she tends to be overshadowed in media by male Shepard. There are a handful more, though the point stands; Mario, Sonic, Link, Duke Nukem, Master Chief, Nathan Drake and nearly every other strong, recognizable lead in gaming is a man. With the new "Tomb Raider" game, developer Crystal Dynamics and publisher Square Enix may be trying to embolden Croft and bring her back to the forefront of gaming. From the way the trailers look and the hype the game received before and after this year's E3, they will probably succeed. However, the new Lara Croft actually looks like she'll damage the credibility of women in gaming even further. (E3, PC, PS3, Tomb Raider, Xbox 360)

DigitalRaptor  +   775d ago
Nariko (Heavenly Sword), Amaterasu (Okami), Jade (Beyond Good & Evil), Chell (Portal), Madison Page (Heavy Rain), Jodie Holmes (Beyond), Carla Valenti (Fahrenheit), Faith (Mirror's Edge), Zoë/April (Dreamfall: The Longest Journey), Jen (Primal), Lightning (FF XIII), Bayonetta, Aveline (Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation).

This article is right about the lack of strong female characters by comparison to male, but "damaging the credibility"? I doubt it. How many women do you know in the real world that would be able to survive what Lara will have to go through in this new game? How many men for that matter? Bear Grylls (on a good day) would be one. It's obvious.

How many men or women (IRL) would be able to go through what Lara did in the old games and survive? Similar answer.

Most actions that characters do in games is not realistic, let alone the female characters or the female equivalent in reality. Not even close to the majority of "real" men would be powerful enough to do what Marcus Fenix and Kratos does til the end.

I understand the concern but the minority attitude is old and tired. There is nothing to worry about, other than there needs to be more representative female protagonists in games, period, whether or not they are "strong". Men are built to be physically stronger, it's in nature and human DNA. Women can be stronger if they choose. So now developers can make that choice.
#1 (Edited 775d ago ) | Agree(20) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
rezzah  +   775d ago
Interesting way of pointing it out.

I was going to say the only real connection is in the mind of the individual. Representations is like the media; false truths.
mewhy32  +   775d ago
I have to say that I'm puzzled how this disempowers women? I've played every tomb raider game that has released to market and disempowered Laura Croft is not. This new game is a look back into the life of a very influential, adventurous, powerful, and strong willed woman. We finally get to see how she became the Laura Croft that we all have come to admire and play. The trials and tribulations that she'll face in this game are part of what molded her into that lethal and adventure seeking "Tomb Raider" that we've all come to know and love. Disempowering? Absolutely not.
Ben_Giff  +   775d ago
Not a backstory to the old Lara, but a new character
One thing people are not realizing is this is not necessarily Lara's origin story. As I allude to in the article, the developers are completing deconstructing this character and starting over.

I had the privelege of interview Crystal Dynamics' Meagan Marie last summer. Here's what she told me then:

"...She's not necessarily going to grow into the same character that you knew. It's not necessarily a precursor to her having these very specific adventures that she had in the past [games]. We're looking at it as a totally new lore and canon..." ( http://pixelperfectmag.com/...

Yes, I believe the writers over at Crystal Dynamics gave up on the old Lara. I wasn't particularly fond of her anyway, but now they feel the need to make a strong woman "believable" by giving her this dramatic backstory.
#1.3 (Edited 775d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
milohighclub  +   775d ago
U said it your self in this comment it's a back story....story being the key word. It's a story that's all.
it sounds like you have a problem with them making her vulnerable. you need to remember this game is focused around her when she was younger, she doesn't have the experience she has in the original titles. Of coarse she's gonna be vulnerable.
Through out the whole of uncharted 3, drake takes a beating. By the end of the game you really start to feel sorry for him. Naughty dog put emphasis on his vulnerability because it's such a human trait.
How's this different, except it's a female lead.
Fishy Fingers  +   775d ago
The last few sentences are some of the worst BS I've read on this site. This dude can get a LOT, from a few scenes.
rezzah  +   775d ago
Isn't there some saying that goes "A picture is worth a thousand words"?

It can be true for those who look close enough. Pictures sorta bleed ideas, each one connecting from the first that originated from the picture.
TopDudeMan  +   775d ago
Yeah, I saw the trailer and don't see how people can read so much into that. It was a very quick-fire trailer. Nothing was on the screen for more than a few seconds.

I think these inferences are a bit far-fetched. We're talking about an unreleased video game here. Remember everyone's outrage about the "shocking" call of duty scene and the developer said something along the lines of "You need to watch the cutscene in the context of playing the game". And sure enough, when the game released, those concerns evaporated.

To me, I think it's another one of those situations. It's so easy to take something out of context and strip it down to what the scene shows and critically analyse what it means, but most people don't do that when they're playing a video game. No one's thinking about how Lara is being degraded when she's being attacked by a pack of dogs. They're thinking: "Die, you evil dog, Die!" in the same way they're thinking "oh, s**t, lets get away from that helicopter" when they're playing uncharted. People really have to stop reading too much into these things.
MiamiACR21  +   775d ago
What a waste of an article. Just another pseudo writer trying to ride the coattails of another pea-brained shock topic that will be irrelevant in 2 months.
Brutallyhonest  +   775d ago
It was never relevant.
darthkai  +   775d ago
Yeah, because Marcus Fenix and Kratos are such shining examples of how men are in real life...
Ben_Giff  +   775d ago
Men are poorly represented in video games as well. I never said they weren't. While there are many examples of very unrealistic, machismoed male characters, there are also plenty of more grounded male characters.

Nathan Drake may be more attractive than average, and sure the physics in the "Uncharted" games are ridiculous. but he's somewhat believable.

Better yet, how about Niko Bellic and Frank West? Where are the female equivalents of those characters? Niko and Frank ARE never presented as sexy in their games, whereas women in games almost always are.
milohighclub  +   775d ago
Dude, it's a fucking game. It's meant to be unrealistic.
TopDudeMan  +   775d ago
Yeah, it disempowers women because we were under the impression they were superhuman and we are harshly awoken to find that they are not.
MiamiACR21  +   775d ago
"All woman are equal or greater in power than men! So, showing vulnerability in the slightest is something I find extremely sexist towards women as a whole, and really just goes to show the masochistic nature of our society when it comes to depicting women in any form of media."

Hold on, let me write the rest and submit the worthless article on N4G. Good so far?
#5.1 (Edited 775d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
TopDudeMan  +   775d ago
Ah, it's just the talk of the time, right now. Everyone wants to give their 2 cents on it.
Dlacy13g  +   775d ago
Uggh... I can't believe I actually read that whole article. L.C. is being made (rebooted) ...into a more believable character...someone who isn't superman/woman. She gets hurt, gets cold, needs to survive against insane odds. You as a human being will connect more with that kind of character and given the vulnerability of the character you will naturally go into fights more cautiously...even almost protective like instinct.

She will get hurt, she gets injured, she cries, she moans in pain...she is human. Also her groaning or moaning from injury is something any of us would do. You (author) just have a 14yr old mentality that hears sex instead.... Grow up, and get over it.
admiralthrawn87  +   775d ago
wow. So before when she had big tits we were objectifying women, now we are disempowering them? quit crying FFS I hope devs don't listen to this stupid shit from these oversensitive bitches.
#7 (Edited 775d ago ) | Agree(8) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
ApolloTheBoss  +   775d ago
Lightning is the strongest female lead I can think of.
dragonyght  +   775d ago
For fack sake its an origin story. If you not familiar with the concept, its a back-story revealing how she came to be...the dev already explained many time, get over

Edit: gaming journalists at it finest
#9 (Edited 775d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
GammaSix  +   775d ago
Ans shit like this is why we cannot have nice things
arbitor365  +   775d ago
this article is asinine to the point where im afraid that if I facepalm, I will give myself a concussion and possibly bring myself to the IQ level of the author.
mamotte  +   775d ago
And suddenly, feminists, feminists everywhere!

The next article will say "how videogames think men are violent, should we all go mercenary after playin COD?"
csreynolds  +   775d ago
Oh good - another website jumping on the 'disempowerment' band wagon... *sighs*

These people make me ashamed to be a videogames journalist.
ShaunCameron  +   775d ago
Who approved of this feminist drivel?
Canthar  +   774d ago
Told my wife about this and her response was that it is about becoming an empowered woman. Actually taking the steps and taking charge of yourself to become who you want to be. Some people need to get off their soap boxes and get back in touch with reality.

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