Crystal Dynamics: ‘Tomb Raider’ Does Not Contain An Attempted-Rape Scene

Published 2 years ago by

Tomb Raider Controversial Scene

The trail of fanboy anticipation left behind by E3 2012 was palpable, with many games garnering huge support from players eager to see what developers have in the works – for not only current gen consoles, but those yet to be announced. The Tomb Raider prequel was certainly among the top presentations at the XBox conference (not to mention our favorite titles at E3), breathing new life into what was arguably a declining brand. Unfortunately, however, with all of the good press surrounding Crystal Dynamics‘ upcoming hit, there was bound to be some negative attention.

A few days ago, Kotaku posted an article including a statement from game producer Ron Rosenberg that details the struggle of the iconic protagonist and femme fatale, Lara Croft. One thing led to another, and a slip of the tongue on Rosenberg’s part put “attempted rape” on the list of challenges Lara is to face in the prequel. His wording — specifically the part about Lara needing to be protected, as opposed to kicking ass — sent players into a flurry of angry rants about the game’s content, which is still almost a year from release

Studio head Darrell Gallagher has since come out to make clear Crystal Dynamics’ intentions with the beloved character’s backstory – which thankfully does not include such a graphic sequence. It is arguably too close to a reality that people use video games to escape from, however briefly. Despite Gallagher dispelling some of the confusion surrounding Lara’s character, Rosenberg’s words still linger with many female gamers. Plenty are concerned with how, “you start to root for her in a way that you might not root for a male character,” and what that entails.

Tomb Raider Screenshot 2

It has certainly been an emotionally-charged week between E3 and now, but it shows how much love fans have for the games and characters they care about.

For more on Tomb Raider, check out our E3 demo preview as well as the latest trailer for the game.

Ranters, are you relieved that Lara’s character will not be subject to even more sexualization than it has been, or do you think society is ready and mature enough to take on such controversial material in video games?

Tomb Raider is set to release March 5th, 2013 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the PC.

Follow me on Twitter @superkyol.

Source: CVG

TAGS: Crystal Dynamics, PC, PS3, Tomb Raider, Xbox 360

  • Nic

    I’ve been a fan of Tomb Raider games for years… And if fighting off a psychopath trying to rape her is part of the reason she is so strong in her future…

    Why not have it in? I understand it’s a girl being raped… But it’s also a freaking video game. People just need to get over themselves.

    • ATG

      I agree, it makes sense and is completely plausible.

    • Androol

      I just think it’s interesting that male characters don’t need anything to make them strong; Nathan Drake, Marcus Fenix, Master Chief, they probably just DECIDED to become adventurers and world-saving soldiers. But a strong female character, she had to have been raped or something. How else could a woman ever be brave and strong?

      This game’s etiological nature really works against it in this case, and may in fact be the ultimate root of the problem. If we were talking about a brand new standalone game in which a woman gets raped, recovers, and is stronger for it, then that’d be one thing. But instead we’re dealing with a woman whom we already know to be tough and fearless, and explaining why that is (the fact that there needs to be a “why” may be sexist in itself, but not egregiously so). And if the developers’ first thoughts to explain it are torture and rape, that just feels kind of subversive, somehow.

      More than that, though, I just don’t want to watch a woman get raped, or narrowly avoid it. Even if it’s just a movie or just a videogame. I’d rather not see that.

      However, I should say that this all seems like it might’ve been a misinterpretation by the author of that original Kotaku piece, that got blown out of proportion. I noticed that there’s no actual quote from Rosenberg that includes the word “rape,” so I don’t know how seriously to take any of this. Could just be a game of telephone, with hyperbole upon hyperbole to drive up the hit counters, and there was never any real attempted rape. There is some definite gropey action in that “Crossroads” trailer though — that may have been what started this, for all I know.

      • Slyko227

        Marcus joined the cog to spite his father and to be with his friend Carlos, after Carlos died he stayed in to watch over Dom. Chief was kidnapped when he was 6 to become an experimental super-soldier to stop insurrection forces from killing people and destroying colones, i have no idea about Nathan Drake, but not every male character decides they want to be a hero

        • Ken J


          But I think his point still stands that it’s only when it comes to a woman that people seem to think that she “needs” some kind of horrible sexual thing like rape to push her to be strong or whatever. What if a male hero was shown to have been sexually molested when he was younger or that there was an attempted rape on him while he was in prison or something. Would male gamers think that makes that character’s story richer or just ridicule him??

          • Guardian

            No she doesn’t “need” to be raped or have been attempted to be raped as a backstory, but it’s a bit implausible that with all the baddies and how attractive Lara is that not one viillian who thought he had the opprotunity would try to.

            I mean come on political correctness is so damn whiney.

          • Androol

            Just to be clear, Guardian, I’m not saying this is a horrible, despicable idea; I’m not arguing that the game should be banned; I’m not saying that anyone who would want to play this game is evil. I’m just saying I find the idea a little distasteful and kind of messed-up — either messed-up in itself (i.e. the game is the problem), or messed-up in that it’s based on messed-up realities of human life (i.e. stemming from the double-standards that exist because men and women are two different things). Probably the latter.

            I’m not trying to *enforce* my opinion or use it as justification for depriving anyone else of their right to free speech or their right to watch a virtual woman get raped; I’m just saying what I feel.

  • ATG

    So now what? I’m supposed to jack off to her shooting a bow and arrow? Psh! Rental.

    • platinum_parker

      That was actually kind of funny…

      • Androol


  • Tay

    Prople get way too sensitive, they should have left it in there if it made sense story wise. It’s a M rated title which is “suppose” to be played by a mature audience but people complain about anything so I’m not surprised.

  • bensieb

    It is not needed and actually makes her strength later on seem chaepened that it only came about after a point event of strong tramatic nature. It would be lazy writing to say she is a strong femlae character becuase a someone tried to rape her.

    • ATG

      She became a warrior to avoid rapists in the jungle! Good thing the survival and near death experiences had no effect on her!

      Lol seriously, man? It’s not cheap or lazy, it’s reality.

  • MattBearPig

    One guard turns to the other and says, “She’s cute, I’d have a go at that, ha ha ha”, BAM rape reference. Maybe the guy mispoke, confusing ‘attempt’ with ‘reference’.

  • yodarlz

    Well no shit a rape isn’t part of a male backstory! Its a (generally) female problem. Her overcoming the attempt and blowing the dudes face off is a pretty kick-ass way to deal with it.

  • G

    How come a mature game can’t put whatever they want in? The girl with the dragon tattoo got anal raped and avenged herself. No one was bitching about that.

    • Kyle Matthews

      In the book (and film adaptations), Lisbeth settles that score herself before meeting Mikael with no intention of bettering herself but simply getting even – that’s why it works in that context. Her desire to take down the antagonist of that book / film stems from her interaction with Mikael, who comes to her for HER aid in his research. She is already an asset and a strong person, and he is aware of it.

  • XxStoicMonkeyxX

    People should seriously get over themselves with the sexism and shit in video games. All these people seem to have a double standard about how life works.

  • Ken J

    Honestly, this is a topic where I think it really doesn’t matter what a bunch of guys on an internet gaming website comments section thinks. You’re all thinking from your own point of view, not from the POV of someone who may have been a victim of such a thing herself… I’m waiting to hear what some of our female readers think about this issue…

    I personally know a few female friends who have a HUGE aversion to any kind of reference or suggestion about rape in any form. So I know several people already who will be greatly offended by this. The issue here is, it’s not necessary. People keep repeating “it’s a freakin’ video game!” as if that supports the side of keeping it in. But in fact, that supports the side of taking it out. If this was a true story, a biography of someone who had that happen, etc. then there’s an obvious reason to have that in the story, because it’s necessary. This, on the other hand, is a video game, and for her to become an “tomb raider” as the title suggests, does it really require for someone to try to rape her? No, not really, it actually doesn’t add to the plot or the gameplay at all. Makes you wonder why they decided to put it into the game in the first place. People trying to kill her is reason enough for her to learn to take care of herself and to learn about survival… There really is no reason for a video game to need something so vile and repulsive in my opinion…

    • Guardian

      Yes lets not put something in a game everytime someone gets offended… Oh Wait…

      • Ken J

        Oh yes, because I’m one who proposes that, yep, I’m Mr. PC police… LOL. 😀

        Hey, here’s an idea, why not have a constructive discussion instead of just trying so hard to be witty when you’re not. Just a suggestion…

    • Androol

      Agreed, Ken. As if people trying to merely kill her just wouldn’t be enough to turn her into the fearless Tomb Raider. And as if it wouldn’t be sufficiently realistic if nobody tried to rape her. The rape is (or was? or would’ve been?) tossed in by the devs just as an “Eh, why not” sort of thing. To treat a subject as tender as rape with the same sensitivity you’d treat… I dunno, lens flare? — is just kind of awful.

      Of course, this is (or was, or would’ve been) the developer’s choice. If they wanna put out a game wherein their protagonist gets brutally raped just because it “makes sense,” then they’re certainly free to do that, in my opinion. But they’d probably face bans or AO ratings in at least a few countries, their metacritic rating would likely suffer from reviewers taking umbrage at that content, and they’d probably lose/offend more than a few potential customers (although they’d likely gain more, judging from the interest level and supportive reception that this news seems to be getting from the majority of forum-going gamers). And anyone who’s offended by it (which is certainly anyone’s right) is free to hate the people who buys and likes the game. It’s up to Crystal Dynamics whether they want to deal with all that, just to include a rape scene that’s utterly inessential to the plot’s purpose.

      • Ken J


        Actually, the reason why I’m a bit against it is because I think the reason might be worse than “eh why not?” I think they might have thought they could exploit the “edgyness” of the idea to get more attention until they realized it might be a bad idea for their female base…

  • Mahoney

    You people are foolish. It’s a video game. It’s happened in books and movies as well. Who cares about gender? The character doesn’t even exist. It’s made up. Planet Earth is so sensitive and whiney nowadays it’s pathetic. Humans all suck.

    • Androol

      Indeed they do.

  • ITsniper

    Ok, they went with the rape angle (obviously your typical cave men game developers), who cares. All I care about is that it better be a good game. It’s probably just a bullcrap diversion to distract people from possibly bad gameplay? Ubisoft does it with it’s piracy angle.

  • J

    Rape in books and movies: people look at it as oh poor girl
    It is their game. If there is rape…so be it.

    • Ken J


      Actually no, the difference is the times it is used in movies and books usually it is essential to the development of the character. When it’s seems like it’s just put in there to get attention or just thrown in for no apparent reason I don’t think it’s a great idea either. I just don’t see how it’s at all relevent to her raiding tombs… But hey, if you’re so eager to watch it there are plenty of websites that celebrate that for your… pleasure…

      • Kamikaze

        So the rape scene in Shawshank Redemption was integral to Andy’s development? I disagree. It was adde for realism. There are some pretty messed up people in the world. Men who will rape other men for dominance and because they can’t get women. Now, imagine a group of men, in the middle of the wilderness, after a natural disaster strands them on an island. They find an incredibly attractive young woman…and you’re telling me they’d just kill her or capture her? Nah, don’t buy it. It doesn’t fit. Hurricane Katrina, 40 some odd rape cases were reported, some even gang rapes. While it is a vile and putrescent act, it is a part of some people’s character. Besides, it only says attempted rape, there wouldn’t be anything graphic. Though it could possibly be traumatic to quite a few gamers, if they were to include it, they should take a page from Call of Duty’s play book. Enable or disable it at the beginning of the game.

        • Ken J


          So let me ask you this. Why don’t they put into every game where every once in a while you need to stop and drink water, eat, pee, or poop? Or after 10 hours of gameplay you have to find adequate shelter, build a shelter, and sleep and wish nobody kills you while you’re asleep? And don’t say because it isn’t fun or it isn’t needed…

    • Androol

      I think it’s also significant that they are different mediums. The goal of being fun is central to videogames. If you make a game that isn’t fun, you’ve made a bad game. People see movies and read books for any number of reasons — to be moved by a director’s artistic vision, to lose oneself in the words of a skilled writer, etc. — but the primary reason for playing a videogame is invariably to have fun. So being that the aspect of fun is inherently essential to videogames as a medium, the idea of introducing a serious thing like rape to that medium has a certain dissonance that it wouldn’t have in other mediums, where fun isn’t as important as things like meaning, eloquence, expression, etc.

      • Ken J


        Very well-said sir. And I think it takes a typical meat-head adolescent boy without a sense of empathy to have “fun” playing a game where a character is depicted being raped or attempted to be raped…

  • sage

    I feel like this is 6 days in falluja all over again, I felt like this was the kind of controversy we need to shoot down not apologize and crawl in our shells, fruckin grow a back bone…

    • ATG


      I agree!!!

      A lot of games put crap in there that isn’t “needed”, but it adds to the experience. It’s reality. Why is rape not ok but slitting someones throat is? Murdering ppl at airport is? Killing a child in a space craft is ok? Sex is ok but ATTEMPTED rape isn’t? Heavy Rain anyone?

  • Andrew

    Why not your probably already going to slap a M rating on it. It might as well have a logical reason why to place that M on it. If society is really not “Mature enough” to handle a attempted rape scene were in far more trouble than we might realize.

    • Shane Davis

      “you’re”, not “your”.

      What sort of maturity does it take to “handle” a rape scene? What do you mean by that? Mature people should be offended and upset at a portrayal of something like that. The other way to react is to be ultimately unaffected by it. Or to think something along the lines of, “Jeez, that sucks for her…”

      So, which do you want? Do you want to put something in a game just to upset people? Or do you want people to see it happen and just shrug their shoulders? Who is the better person then?

      Would you be shrugging your shoulders, Andrew?

      • Andrew

        1st of all I didn’t intend on directly offending you. 2nd What does it matter in the end she kicks his A** so whats wrong with it, I see your point but I think your taking it to offence and again I’m saying sorry if I offended you I was only stating my opinion which differs from yours. But to ultimately answer your question you need to put it in the game to make it realistic not to please some sick psychopath.

  • Christina

    I honestly don’t get the big stink still. It’s not like yshe does get raped. I didn’t take it as “she got raped now she’s strong” but more as she overcame multiple odds to become who she was today. I doubt they would have had a strong depiction anyways exept maybe like the scene they showed with the guy touching her.

    • Androol

      Yeah, the debate is pretty much just theoretical at this point — not about what’s actually in the game, but more about “would it be okay IF Lara got raped.” Most people here seem to be of the mind that that’d be totally groovy, and depictions of anything and everything in a videogame should be acceptable because it’s just a game. I don’t agree, but I can’t say for sure that I’m not a hypocrite for feeling that way.

      Then there’s also the probably more worthwhile question of, “Is it a GOOD IDEA to have something like that in a AAA title,” and I guess that’s really a contest between the “no such thing as bad publicity” axiom versus the realities of the ESRB and reviewers and consumers being put-off by such content, ultimately hurting the game’s sales.

  • ATG

    Shock value. Emotional connection or sympathy or whatever. This is a fictional character with an attempted (keywords: fictional, attempted) rape. I think they should stick to their guns and treat the scene with utmost respect.

    Sure I hate rape, seen it movies, news, etc and it pisses me off. But asking to remove it is like not accepting reality and pretending this doesn’t exist. It’s not like it’s a button mashing sequence to prevent penetration. If anything, this could possibly make you care more about the character and have an emotional attachment and want to “protect” her as they say. Developers play it safe all the time and need to step it up for a change. Make the scene skippable for those who are going to weap for a make-believe pixelated woman who will overcome odds and show this perv what karma looks like. If anything it should feel empowering to overcome and “punish” him.

    I’m sorry but some of you guys baffle the f*** outta me. It isn’t about immaturity or maturity, right or wrong, and attempted rape sure as hell isn’t the only factor molding Lara. In the next game/sequel a man can grope a more mature Lara and she can shove the barrel of her Desert Eagle in his crotch and tell him to f*** himself!

    This is a mature game, Rockstar does this type of thing with nearly every game. I appreciate devs who are bold. Crystal Dynamics should leave it in.