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.

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DigitalRaptor2317d ago (Edited 2317d 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.

rezzah2317d 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.

mewhy322317d 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_Giff2317d ago (Edited 2317d ago )

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..." (

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.

milohighclub2316d 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 Fingers2317d 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.

rezzah2317d 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.

TopDudeMan2317d 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.

MiamiACR212317d 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.

darthkai2317d ago

Yeah, because Marcus Fenix and Kratos are such shining examples of how men are in real life...

Ben_Giff2317d 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.

milohighclub2316d ago

Dude, it's a fucking game. It's meant to be unrealistic.

TopDudeMan2317d 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.

MiamiACR212317d ago (Edited 2317d 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?

TopDudeMan2317d ago

Ah, it's just the talk of the time, right now. Everyone wants to give their 2 cents on it.

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