Crystal Dynamics studio head Darrell Gallagher has issued a statement categorically denying the existence of an attempted rape scene in the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot, despite a colleague saying there was during E3.
“We were not clear in a recent E3 press interview and things have been misunderstood. Sexual assault of any kind is categorically not a theme that we cover in this game,” he said in a statement. Square-Enix and Crystal Dynamics were the center of a media storm yesterday after the game’s producer, Ron Rosenberg, mentioned that the reboot featured an attempted rape scene.
These are dangerous waters for developers to be swimming in. Gaming has come a long way in the last 10 years, but I don’t feel that it’s gotten to a point where sexual assault can be portrayed in the correct manner, like it can be in films. The medium just isn’t ready for handling such delicate issues.
However, it does ask the question, if gaming will ever be able to handle subject matter like this? Certain topics may simply never translate into interactive media. Based on the response from various outlets regarding the quote, it’s obvious that the world simply isn’t ready.
Gallagher insists that Rosenberg misspoke while discussing a scene from the game. “One of the character-defining moments for Lara in the game, which has been incorrectly referred to as an ‘attempted rape scene,’ is the content we showed at this year’s E3 where Lara is forced to kill another human being 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.”
A transcript of the original discussion has been posted by Kotaku:
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-”
Kotaku journalist: “They try to rape her?”
Rosenberg: “She’s literally turned into a cornered animal. And that’s a huge step in her evolution – she’s either forced to fight back or die and that’s what we’re showing today.”
Will gaming ever be able to handle such sensitive subject matter?