If you’ve been following Crystal Dynamics’ reboot of Tomb Raider, then you’re undoubtedly aware of the major shift in the team’s approach to the portrayal of the game’s protagonist, Lara Croft.
Not only are they aiming to make her a more human and relatable character, but also striving to convey a sense of vulnerability as Lara evolves into the heroine she will eventually become. According to the game’s writer Rhianna Pratchett, they’re moving “away from Teflon coated Lara” in the hopes of creating a much more believable character.
“I’d grown up with Lara, but I’d also had a bit of a love/hate relationship with her over the years,” Pratchett explained to GamesIndustry, adding that she’d “even written things in the press being slightly grumpy about the way Lara had become. Big boobs and et cetera, et cetera.”
Pratchett has had experience in writing for video game heroines in the past, like Heavenly Sword‘s Nariko and Faith from Mirror’s Edge, and plans to use that acquired knowledge to her advantage.
With someone like Faith, it’s asking questions like ‘in the gameplay mechanic there’s lots of running away, why would someone live a life where there’s a lot of that, and what are they running away from? Do they want to stop running, what would they do if did stop running, what would it take to stop them?’
So actually looking at how those gameplay mechanics feedback into character, because I think that helps to embed the character in the world more, rather than making them seem slightly outside the game playing world. And that was something we definitely wanted to do with Lara.
Will Crystal find success in “bringing the humanity and warmth back to Lara” when Tomb Raider launches this coming March? We’ll just have to wait and see.