Crystal Dynamics on Lara: “It’s not our Primary Concern to Distinguish That She is a Woman”

Despite the fact that executive producer Ron Rosenberg recently shared that he and the team at Crystal Dynamics want you to feel protective of Lara in their upcoming Tomb Raider reboot, it looks like they’re not emphasizing her gender.

Speaking to Edge, Brian Horton, art director at Crystal Dynamics explained that just because Lara is a woman doesn’t mean that male players won’t be able to identify and connect with the character. More importantly, preventing players from objectifying the heroine has been a main focus at the studio.

We’re making a game about someone who is inexperienced and who has to learn how to become a hero. Now, the fact that she is a woman is not lost on us, and that’s an important part of the dynamic of it being Tomb Raider, but it’s not our primary concern to distinguish that she is a woman. We are playing up the fact that she is human and believable.

So far the reaction has been very positive from the people who have seen the game, they’re starting to care for her and I don’t think they’re as eager to objectify her, in fact I think they want to protect her.

Horton goes on to explain that the protective feelings that players will have for Lara will likely change as her character grows throughout the course of the game. Instead of always feeling like the protector, the art director believes that players will eventually feel as though they are the character.

I feel like some of those players might actually evolve their perspective. They might look at it in the beginning and say ‘I’m protecting her,’ but as they grow with her, become closer to her, they’d start to think ‘I am her’ giving them the fantasy and fulfilment of being Lara Croft.

It’s clear that by the conclusion of the game, Lara won’t be the same innocent, emotional girl she appears to be at the beginning. Much of the footage we’ve seen thus far would lead us to believe that Crystal is creating the ultimate “damsel in distress” but according to Horton, it looks like that will change over the course of the game.