Rhianna Pratchett: I Wanted To Make Lara Croft Human Again

Of all the challenges Pratchett has faced in her video game writing career, rebooting the Tomb Raider hero was one of the toughest.

-Foxtrot2788d ago

She's always been human and in my opinion was better shown in the older games.

I mean she went through hell in the PS1 games but it was more believable...that's excluding the mystic, supernatural elements but more to do with the way she went through what she did. With the new ones it's near death experience after another along with escaping with her life over and over, being really lucky, being beaten up enough it could kill her. You fell from not even a high up place in the old ones and you were dead. So yeah she was more human in those games and she was hardly developed as much.

ninsigma2787d ago

Let's not forget about the terrible voice acting. To me, she can't be believable with the she was voiced in the last two games.

-Foxtrot2787d ago

She just didn't fit her age in my opinion. She sounded like a teenage girl instead of a young woman

God I cringe at the "Oh I hate Tombs" line in the first one lol

She's just got a bad voice actress behind her aswell

Hoffmann2787d ago

They totally ruined the franchise for me with the terrible redesign.

rainslacker2787d ago (Edited 2787d ago )

I agree. Although for different reasons. I don't mind the fantastical nature of the game play which tends to be eye-rolling half the time, and I do agree there was more realism in the originals compared to the over the top action flick style of the new ones.

But what I find is that her personality in the newer games is just downright terrible.

In the originals, she was a mature, confident, and capable woman. In the new, the "humanized" lara is none of those things, yet somehow manages feats of super human inspiration....only in the next scene to express how much she doubts herself, and how she has to convince herself that she can do something, like some lame filler dialogue you see in crappy action movies where the female character, or sometimes the males, are supposed to be more human, but ultimately are just annoying.

Everything human about Lara in the new games just feels so superficial, and the reason she was written like that was so people would supposedly connect to her.

But it goes against everything that we've come to know of Lara Croft. I was willing to accept it for the "origin story" nature of the first, but when it got carried over into the second game, I just felt they were trying too hard, because they didn't have the character grow at all between the two titles.

The new lara is so shallow, that they are not even the same character. All they share is the name, and an IP, but she is far from a compelling version of Lara worth going on about as if she is somehow remarkably written and certainly nothing about the character is praise worthy.

It's just a step backwards IMO. If you want to show a mature, intelligent, capable woman that people can relate to, that is also human then do so. Don't make her an incessant cry baby, who lacks any sort of confidence unless under extreme duress, because doing so doesn't make her capable of overcoming all odds, it just makes her a victim of circumstance, who overcomes the odds because it's what you do in games. You don't need to make a character have annoying character flaws in order to humanize them, you just need to make them so they can show human emotions based on their own character.

That is how people relate to characters...through actual emotions...and just feeling sorry for them isn't humanizing, it's degrading.

I3loggs242785d ago

"But it goes against everything that we've come to know of Lara Croft"
Love it or hate it, this is a reboot of the franchise, the old Lara is dead, you need to move on from the old version and look at this game on its own merits..

Im not sure what you mean by saying her character didnt grow at all between the two titles?.. In the first game she grows by learning how to survive, 'in between the titles' she spends 12 months trying to find an explanation for the paranormal shit she went through in the first game, her fathers research is what begins her journey in Rise of the Tomb Raider. As for RotR (even the name gives it away), Lara knows how to survive already, in this game she learns how to fight, and if you listen to some of the enemy dialogue, she gains notoriety among them and *spoiler warning* by the end she's cold blooded, your even given the option of walking away, or executing the main villain of the game without mercy.
I dont see how feeling sorry for someone is degrading?.. Her monologue and self doubt is humanizing, because it fits her characters level of confidence at this point in her life, thats not degrading, as far as female empowerment, the fact that she overcomes diversity on her own is the opposite of what your suggesting, HAD she relied on men to solve her problems, that is what i'd call degrading.
Id love to know where all this emotion was in the original games, maybe ill have to go back and refresh my memory.

Im also going to quote this comment you made to someone else and address it (I do repeat myself here):
"In the second game they did this more, but there was no real transition between the first to the second to make it known why she was suddenly so thrilled as any archeologist, or how she overcame the fact she couldn't do anything but act like how she wasn't capable of doing anything in the first game without constantly telling herself she could do it. "
She was an archeologist in the first game already, the journey to find the lost kingdom of Yamakai was HER expedition based of HER research. When she found the Island though, shit hit the fan and it became a game of survival, not discovery.
As i mentioned earlier, there is a 12 month gap between the first and second game, this 12 months was spent trying to find information on the paranormal experience she encountered in the first game, this leads her to continuing her fathers work by uncovering the legend of Kitezh.
She questions herself so much in the first game because that is her first time experiencing that sort of situation, by the end of the game that aspect of her has developed and she grows in confidence. As the second game comes around, she is no longer just trying to survive, she is learning how to fight and is actively putting herself in danger to make her discoveries and staying ahead of Trinity.

I felt like these 2 games were Part 1 and Part 2 of Lara's origin story. If a next one is coming (I hope it is), I think we will now have a completely confident, experienced and battle hardened Lara now closer resembling the original. If her internal monologue suggests she still lacks confidence in herself, then ill agree with you that her writing sucks, but as of right now im completely happy with her character development and the pacing of the games.

rainslacker2785d ago

I've moved on fine. I'm just comparing the two, since it seems appropriate to the topic at hand.

"not sure what you mean by saying her character didnt grow"

I mean that she didn't grow. Moving forward with the story is not character growth, nor is anything they did to "humanize" her character growth.

Learning how to survive, going from anxious in difficult situations to readily killing someone after a bit of crying that she just killed a person for the first time, is not natural character growth. It's growth that serves the purpose for the story, and nothing else. Her sudden confident archaeologist self in the 2nd game, with a bunch of doubt thrown in, is not natural.

Trying to find explanations of her father isn't character growth, it's a plot point to give the character's actions a purpose.

Not that I really felt the original Lara had all that much character growth, although there was a bit over the course of the games for 20 odd years, but her character was much better defined, and her actions and emotions to situations made sense....whereas with the new, they just seem to serve the purpose of forcing empathy without putting in the effort of making her more well rounded and someone you could relate to overall(positively or negatively). All emotion for the new lara exists because it's expected to feel things for certain situations, but never did I actually care what happened to her.

For a good example, take Arya Stark from Game of Thrones(book mostly). Character changes and grows, you witness it from the first page to the end, all serving the narrative, and her purposes are clear, although her faults are that she doesn't know how to achieve them, so we are able to connect to her, because she's young, and we've all had that time in our life where we thought we could rule the world. In contrast you have Sansa Stark, who you only connect to(at least for the first few books) because she's the daughter and sister of much more well liked characters, but the actual emotion you have for her is pity and empathy for the terrible situation she's in. Her character is quite shallow for the longest time....and she's just a continuous victim of circumstance. To the characters credit though, the actual growth is how her idealism is eroded away piece by piece, until she becomes cold, and in some ways, much like Cersei, although without the outlet to actually practice such vile things.

rainslacker2785d ago

"I dont see how feeling sorry for someone is degrading?"

It's degrading in the sense that the Lara Croft character has always been a strong character. If people are claiming the strength of her character now is because she's more human, and they make her more human(or make it so people connect with her on a deeper human level), then it's degrading to the overall character that the only thing she's worthy of is pity.

Again, lets look at Sansa Stark.

Her character is completely degraded both in the narrative with the treatment she gets, and her own attitudes about such things while she clings to her idealism, even long after it was shattered, and with people's own judgement, thus, how a character can be degraded simply by making you pity them all the time(which IMO was the point of how she was written)

"Her monologue and self doubt is humanizing"

No, it's not. It's forced dialogue. Maybe a necessary evil, but other things that fit better with character confidence for this Lara would be fear, doubt, hesitation, regret, remorse, etc. Just saying how bad she feels, then going off on a murdering spree, then being all whiny again, only to do it again, is not humanizing. Her telling her self, "I can do this", is not humanizing. It's a way to artificially inflate just what she's doing to make it seem more stressful, in an attempt to humanize her.

"HAD she relied on men"

Nothing about what I'm talking about has anything to do with relying on others.

"She was an archeologist in the first game already" [et al]

Yeah, and the first moments of the first game she acted like an angsty teen, and not an archaeologist. Her curiosity and excitement in the first game was non-existent, and perfectly summed up with "I hate tombs" in some whiny timid childlike voice.

Hoffmann2787d ago

She never needed to be "that" human.

That's why I will never buy or even play any of the Tomb Raider reboots crap.

poppinslops2787d ago

New Lara is leaps and bounds ahead of the old Lara(s) - better in every single way (including sales)... Original Lara was basically just an Indiana Jones ripoff with enormous polygonal 'breasts' - the result of a character-designer 'accidentally' tripling their intended proportions.

Her personality and dialogue were about as one-dimensional as anything else from the 90s - people were more interested in the elusive (non-existent) 'nude code' than her character's motivations... even the 'Legends' era Lara was just a 'Jolie' update, with storylines that quickly descended into a convoluted mess - Hell, I remember one where she was using Thor's hammer to fight a winged dragon-lady on the deck of a modern freighter!

Pratchett's done a phenomenal job with the Reboot and RotTR - her Lara is resilient, intelligent and ADORABLE... here's hoping Ian Milham can bring some of Dead Space's terror to the next Tomb Raider, without compromising on the work the first two games have done with regards to developing Lara's personality.

rainslacker2787d ago (Edited 2787d ago )

I have to disagree with you here.

While I will agree that the stories of the new games are heads and shoulders above the old games, which were mostly just cursory stories to drive the game itself, I found the original lara had more personality, was more resilient, more intelligent, certainly more confident, and more resourceful. That last part in particular is where the old games did better than the new. It was up to the player to be resourceful through the avatar, whereas the new games just use whatever handy plot device object may be available to muddle your way through the game.

The old Lara did what she did because it was who she was. When faced with confrontation, she didn't cry or whine about it, she stood firm as a strong woman with her own principals. The new lara, the only principal I can find she has is that she feels committed to helping her friends. Her drives aren't her own, but rather a narrative device used to push game play scenarios which are set up to be set pieces instead of clever level design.

New lara is adorable I guess, in her own way, but being adorable doesn't make someone human, it just makes them more likable.

The only thing people had against the old lara...if they cared at all....was her breast size, but even through the legends era, no one had a problem with her personality, and everyone considered her to be one of the foremost examples of a well written strong female character in gaming. The new one only gets this because of the over sensitivity of current SJW trends, which makes women who overcome adversity into strong women, despite the fact the only reason she gets over them is because it's necessary to advance the game, not because it's one of her character traits to be inclined to such things.

poppinslops2787d ago

You guys and your 'essays' - I'll respond the 'choice cuts', but I'm mid-way through the new episode of Westworld, so don't expect a running debate...

"When faced with confrontation, she didn't cry or whine about it, she stood firm as a strong woman with her own principals." - and you found that believable?

"The new lara, the only principal I can find she has is that she feels committed to helping her friends. Her drives aren't her own" - She's as thrilled by discovery as any archeologist, plus she's searching for answers regarding the nature of immortality, not to mention her Father's death.

"No one had a problem with her personality" - hard to criticize what isn't there.

"Everyone considered her to be one of the foremost examples of a well written strong female character in gaming" - No they didn't, and even if they did it's not as though she had any competition.

Watch Westworld - it's great!

rainslacker2787d ago (Edited 2787d ago )

"and you found that believable?"

I found it made her a better character than what we have in the new games. It's about as believeable as it would be in any other medium I suppose.

"She's as thrilled by discovery as any archeologist, plus she's searching for answers regarding the nature of immortality, not to mention her Father's death."

In the second game they did this more, but there was no real transition between the first to the second to make it known why she was suddenly so thrilled as any archeologist, or how she overcame the fact she couldn't do anything but act like how she wasn't capable of doing anything in the first game without constantly telling herself she could do it.

Her fathers death was so superficial, and seemed more like a way to add in some sort of dark back story....which in relation to this article, doesn't humanize her, just makes it another story arc which was mostly wasted.

"hard to criticize what isn't there."

Agree to disagree I guess. I found she had plenty of personality in the originals. Could be hit or miss between titles though.

"No they didn't, and even if they did it's not as though she had any competition."

Yes they did. When this whole women in gaming thing started before Sarkeesian decided to stick her head in, she was the go to example of a strong female character. Her breasts were the only thing she got criticized for back in the day. Even when people complained about her breast size back in the day, most still were able to express why she was a good character all around. First game, maybe it was sparse, but after the 2nd, it was definitely built upon. I wouldn't say it really advanced much over the years, but it was strong from the start....or at least strong enough by the 2nd game.

"Watch Westworld - it's great!"

I plan to. Liked the previews. But for TV series like that I like to have a few ready to go before diving in. I hate waiting for the next installment. Probably why I don't care for episodic games much, and just wait for them to release the whole thing.:)

SlightlyRetarted2787d ago

Rhianna Pratchett is so over-rated.

quent2787d ago

"Human again" ? , I'll take old cool and confident lara over daddy issues, psychiatric bill through the roof lara any day of the week thank you very much,

The more "human" you try to make her the more she comes off as just beinga Nutter, always looking for trouble and danger no matter how its messing her up mentally, the ludo narrative dissonance has gone through the roof with this "more human" version of Lara croft in the last 2 games, everything about her is just plain boring, a total buzz kill with no personality.



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Neil Druckmann clarifies true intent of new Naughty Dog game comments

Following a recent interview with Sony, Naughty Dog head Neil Druckmann claims the original intent was “unfortunately lost” in the process.

just_looken11h ago

He can take dog shit put it in a oven with seasoning then call it waistland cookies the sony fans will pay $40 a cookie give them a medal of cooking.

No mater what trash this sobs puts out/talks about it will sell.

The true fact in the 8 years sense uncharted 4 his first time in the main seat to a point all this "amazing" team did was get 2 dudes to fuck in a van then destroy a franchise they never created.

But being a port studio they are decent at they should keep in there lane at being just that a glorified port studio.

fr0sty10h ago

Salty Bots... gotta love it.

just_looken9h ago


Over what? naught dog under his command is a glorified port team tlou2 was mostly tlou 1 asset's with the same game play loop but forced a trans down your throat.

I would gladly help pay for this blight and his team to get removed from gaming in general.

fr0sty7h ago

Seeing a LGBT person exist in a work of fiction isn't "forcing them down your throat". Nobody is forcing you to play it. Nobody is forcing you to agree with it. If you think that just seeing a LGBT person exist is "force", it sounds like they make you very uncomfortable, and maybe you need to be doing some serious reflecting on exactly why... looks to me like you're suppressing something with all that fear.

just_looken6h ago


When i think of the last of us i think of a group of survivors crossing the apocalypse wasteland with a growing bond between 2 people that end up with Joel making ellie his new daughter.

Then you fire up the 2nd one bang joel is dead oh that comic series? bang dead

Oh you want to continue all that we grew in the first one? na f that toss it in the trash

Now here is a trans woman so strong superboy would blush go out there kill all what made tlou1 then halfway get a forced sex scene that you can not skip between 2 dudes.

The gameplay? just like the first game the combat/backpack system crafting sytem? 0 changes/improvements.

I could go on but lets face it they copy pasted that tlou 1 assets bin a shit ton of times.

There is nothing on the box or the ads or anything before the game that said you would going to spend most of the game controlling a new trans character that has no ties to anything of the first game the only existence was to kill what the first game made.

Oh but hey there is a mp mode coming out before 2022 wait what is that? oh we made it its own game then cancelled it now go but the game again as we port it a few times.


mkis0075h ago(Edited 4h ago)

What has Straley or Henig released since they left ND? Not a thing! stop scapegoating! Which of them is credited with co-writing a majorly successful show?

just_looken3h ago


You bring up Bruce Straley really? someone that gave us 4 generations of amazing games and was there in the creation of 4 legendary franchises but was tossed in the trash for the pos niel druckmann not 7? years ago

So yeah in those 7? years you right all he has done is get 2 awards one is a game award for a puzzle game he made oh boy right like for fuck sake's all niel has done is one game that was a overhyped fan boy orgasm underneath all that ps jizz was just a typical 5/10 game.

Then you drag Amy Hennig that poor woman was also kicked out then became this century's Brendan Fraser with her sexual misconduct information coming out.

We all know how horrible people are treated behind the scenes she might have been sexual attacked groped or something.

So yeah all she did after was battlefield hardline forspoken now that new marvel 1945 game but hey Brendan Fraser was a great actor till he also said he was sexually attacked just now he is allowed back in no doubt she also had to take a leave of absence out and or was forced out on ice.

Man there are way to many out there that look at niel at the new gaming jesus when all he had done is some work on uncharted 4 then tlou2

Oh also the tvhshow? for real all they did was use stuff from the 2013 game its like saying GOT was a 10/10 but never watching past season 3

-Foxtrot1h ago


That's highly unfair to them both

Amy Hennig got messed around working on projects that got cancelled by the publishers (EA) and then ended up on a awful game (Forspoken) where you had 4 other writers working on it which is just a recipe for disaster. She is now working on Marvel 1943: Rise of Hydra. Not her fault she was pushed out of NaughtyDog, something both Nolan North and Richard McGonagle have both said in interviews.

Bruce Straley left after burn out, the rest of the story we don't know and will never know just like what happened with Amy Hennig. He decided to take a break and wasn't sure if he wanted to come back to gaming however he had an idea he wanted to make so he founded Wildflower Interactive, a smaller studio where they are currently working on a new game.

+ Show (4) more repliesLast reply 1h ago
Rangerman120819h ago

Glad he clarified it but i'm still somewhat skeptical. Plus, his comments about how Ai will revolutionize storytelling were still pretty iffy.

anast18h ago

No need to bow down, Stan your ground. The AI comments were gross though.

S2Killinit18h ago

Pretty excited as I read these. I just cant wait to see what ND is up to.