Crystal Dynamics art director Brian Horton recently shared a few words about our industry's perception of female leads and the need for the gaming community to mature in this regard.
In an interview with CVG, Horton explained that there is evidence of steps forward with games like Mass Effect, but their upcoming Tomb Raider reboot is taking a bold new approach to a female lead that we haven't seen in games prior.
I think that’s what’s really great about Mass Effect for instance: you can choose to be female Shepard. You can choose to make the protagonist a heroine, but that’s not the way they market the game, right? It’s marketed as the male Shepard. So for our game, Lara stands alone in an industry of AAA third-person action games, in that it has the female hero.
He also went on to point out that the Lara Croft of earlier Tomb Raider games was "really just an expression of male energy in a female body," but "now she’s both female and feminine, but at the same time very strong, has that inner strength, has those smarts – the things you associate with Lara Croft – but also with a little more texture."
When asked about that controversial scene that ends in Lara killing her attacker, Horton replied by saying:
As an industry we’ve grown up, but not enough to do everything you can do in films or TV. We made a conscious decision to make a bold storytelling choice and gameplay choice, to give that scene more emotional weight. We don’t shy away from the choices we made.
Tomb Raider launches on March 5th for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.