Tomb Raider writer discusses Lara Croft's kill count

"From a narrative perspective, we would have liked the ramp-up to be a bit slower."

Tomb Raider scribe Rhianna Pratchett has spoken about the difficulties in keeping a video game character likeable and believable while watching them "slaughter loads of people".

"Tomb Raider raised a lot of comparisons to the Uncharted series, and both games show that tension of having very life-like and ordinary human characters killing hordes of bad guys," Pratchett told Kill Screen. "This is a constant tension, and I don't imagine that any one game developer has the magic bullet to just solve it.

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Take that, realism!

"It is very difficult. I think it is all about the suspension of disbelief that you have when going into a game. It's very difficult to keep that good affable character. But what we tried to do with Lara was at least have the first death count."

Much has been made of Lara Croft's first kill - both outside of the game, where the reasons for it were highlighted, and within it as part of its narrative.

But after Croft reacts to taking her first life, many, many more fatalities soon follow - and some fans have responded that this doesn't match up with attempts to humanise the character.

The solution was to give Croft a "knowing-ness" about her actions, Pratchett said. But when trying to balance the game's story with the desire for blockbuster-style gunfights, the writer admitted that "sometimes combat, or gameplay or whatever, has to win out".

"It's about balancing the needs of gameplay with the needs of narrative. The needs of narrative don't always trump the needs of gameplay," Pratchett explained. "In fact, it's usually the other way around. And so I'd say from a narrative perspective, we would have liked the ramp-up to be a bit slower.

"But, you know, there are other factors to be considered! When players get a gun, they generally want to use the gun. We were brave in going such a long time without giving players a gun in a game where you end up doing a lot of shooting. We tried to innovate a little bit, but narrative can't always win. Ideally if you can find a sweet spot, that's great. But sometimes combat, or gameplay or whatever, has to win out."

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