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Tomb Raider studio addresses Lara controversy

"Sexual assault of any kind is categorically not a theme that we cover in this game."

UPDATE: Kotaku is standing by its original story and has published a transcript of the original conversation with Rosenberg.

"And then what happens is her best friend gets kidnapped, she gets taken prisoner by scavengers on the island. They try to rape her, and-", is what he reportedly said, word-for-word.

ORIGINAL STORY: Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics has moved to clarify controversial comments made by the game's executive producer Ron Rosenberg in which he suggested that by subjecting heroine Lara Croft to all manner of violence, some of it seemingly sexual in nature, the player will "want to protect her".

A statement from studio head Darrell Gallagher published on the game's official site insisted that his comments had been misconstrued.

"We had a great E3 with Tomb Raider and received a fantastic public and press response, with the game picking up numerous game of the show awards based on the new direction taken with the franchise," he wrote.

"Unfortunately we were not clear in a recent E3 press interview and things have been misunderstood. Before this gets out of hand, let me explain.

"In making this Tomb Raider origins story our aim was to take Lara Croft on an exploration of what makes her the character she embodies in late Tomb Raider games.

"One of the character defining moments for Lara in the game," he continued, "which has incorrectly been referred to as an 'attempted rape' scene is the content we showed at this year's E3 and which over a million people have now seen in our recent trailer entitled 'Crossroads'. This is where Lara is forced to kill another human for the first time.

"In this particular section, while there is a threatening undertone in the sequence and surrounding drama, it never goes any further than the scenes that we have already shown publicly. Sexual assault of any kind is categorically not a theme that we cover in this game.

"We take great care and pride in our work and are focused on creating a release that will deliver meaningful storytelling, drama, and exciting gameplay. We're sorry this has not been better explained, we'll certainly be more careful with what is said in future."

The whole brouhaha originated from a Kotaku interview with Rosenberg from earlier this week which included the following paragraph:

"In the new Tomb Raider, Lara Croft will suffer. Her best friend will be kidnapped. She'll get taken prisoner by island scavengers. And then, Rosenberg says, those scavengers will try to rape her. 'She is literally turned into a cornered animal,' Rosenberg said. 'It's a huge step in her evolution: she's forced to either fight back or die.'"

You can remind yourself of the offending scene in the trailer below.

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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