#1 Posted by Shakeyhands (34 posts) -

I don't mean to bring up an old topic and I apologize if I seem extremely ignorant. I am not trolling. But ,when I heard Jeff Gerstmann say "That's stuff's disgusting" when talking about the tomb raider post I was extremely confused. I've read the post on Kotaku and I've heard all there is to be said about this stuff. But I don't understand what he finds wrong with it. It seemed really normal to me. I mean sure she's someone "You'll want to protect" but how is that disgusting? She a young girl and perhaps like a father to a daughter, you would want to protect her. I could not be more confused.

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#2 Edited by Maginnovision (488 posts) -

How many fathers want to see their daughters in a rape situation? I don't.

I also don't think it's normal to feel a such an emotional connection to a video game character. It's almost like a "metagame". As to what exactly Jeff meant by that, you'd be best asking him.

"When given a choice I always play female characters. Make them look like I'd want real girls to look, like somebody I'd date. Very attractive, basically. It makes perfect sense for a player to want to protect a character he makes that way, I mean, it's our girlfriends, yall." See... Tell me this doesn't sound weird. Creepy even.

#3 Edited by PillClinton (3292 posts) -

I think he was saying how disgusting it is for them to seemingly try to manipulate the player by pulling them out of the experience to protect the main character (who apparently needs protection and is thus not empowered), rather than "being" the empowered main character. It also doesn't help that this is in the context of a rape situation with a female character, and the devs seem to be specifically targeting males. Not my opinion, but my interpretation of Jeff's.

#4 Posted by TheHT (11670 posts) -

The projected (by that developer) detachement of player and character in this case centered solely around the fact that the character is female, consequently making the relationship one of the player protecting the character, rather than the player playing as a strong character protecting themself, is the disgusting part.

I think that's what he was talking about.

#5 Posted by Funkydupe (3321 posts) -

It is meant to provoke and result in a emotional response from the player. Of course a father will react differently to this than a teenager playing the game, or at least that's what I think. In any case, it is easy enough to get out of the situation in the game move on. It is all to make Lara seem more like a normal person, instead of insta-killing that guy and then smirk about it like the old Lara would.

#6 Posted by Hunter5024 (5895 posts) -

Honestly I thought everyone kind of overreacted to this quote, that stuff goes on much more than people seem to realize in games, but all the people above me have done a pretty good job of explaining the viewpoint.

#7 Posted by plaintomato (599 posts) -

Adult subject matter, controversial topics, and any handling of sensitive subjects in a matter not fully consistent with current progressive and politically correct sensitivities are not acceptable in video games.

Also don't eat at Chick-Fil-A , don't play Puerto Rico, and don't buy Hitman.

Saints Row 3 and porn are sweet though, because you know, reasons, and you can just demonstrate your sincere respect for women by hating on Square Enix for alluding to a traumatic experience, or human vulnerabilities in general, in connection with a female character; topics that have thus far been respectfully untouched by authors and creators of fictional media.

#8 Posted by Maginnovision (488 posts) -

@plaintomato: Funny enough, I don't like chick fil a, I don't know what puerto rico is(other than the obvious), and I don't care for hitman. Bought saints row 3 but haven't played it yet, and I'm married... Unlike most married people I don't need porn though. So I think I'm good. Maybe.

#9 Edited by mnzy (2920 posts) -

I still feel like that anger is unfounded. All games put you in a situation to evoke emotions. Even with all these explanations, I don't get why exactly this situation is supposed to be so obscene. 
 
Detachement of player and character? The closest I've been represented as a person was probably in Bully or Catherine, and those games are pretty unusual in the market. 

#10 Posted by ToTheNines (787 posts) -

Lawl, I want to protect all that characters I play. No matter the gender. I find it strange as well.

#11 Posted by BraveToaster (12588 posts) -

All I know is... people be trippin' way too much.

#12 Posted by JoeyRavn (5005 posts) -

@Maginnovision said:

How many fathers want to see their daughters in a rape situation? I don't.

What? Why do people insist on calling that scene a "rape situation"? It's been shown several time that the bad guy kills Lara if the player fails the sequence. He doesn't rape her, he never did, he never will.

#13 Posted by Brodehouse (10106 posts) -

The separation of player and protagonist is his problem. Though I don't really care, because I'm not Isaac Clarke, or Marcus Fenix, or Vincent Brooks. I'm not even Commander Shepard, I just have a greater degree of control into forming a Commander Shepard. I'm not Lara Croft either. Never have been. But this is an industry that abuses the word "immersion" and completely gives FOX News a platform to go "he was imagining himself killing all those people".

The second part he didn't like was just that the guy was admitting to naked emotional manipulation. "We did this to Lara to get a rise out of the audience". I would hate for him to actually hear writers talk about their work. Because that's how we talk. We're literally in the business of emotional manipulation. Jeff just prefers fun mechanics to emotional resonance (positive or negative). And that's fine.

#14 Posted by StarvingGamer (8457 posts) -

It's just really disgusting hypocrisy that completely undermines the main thrust of their pitch. You can't simultaneously market your character as a strong, empowered female coming into her own AND tell the audience that she's a weak mewling kitten that needs to be protected.

#15 Edited by Cusseta (109 posts) -

@plaintomato said:

Adult subject matter, controversial topics, and any handling of sensitive subjects in a matter not fully consistent with current progressive and politically correct sensitivities are not acceptable in video games.

Also don't eat at Chick-Fil-A , don't play Puerto Rico, and don't buy Hitman.

Saints Row 3 and porn are sweet though, because you know, reasons, and you can just demonstrate your sincere respect for women by hating on Square Enix for alluding to a traumatic experience, or human vulnerabilities in general, in connection with a female character; topics that have thus far been respectfully untouched by authors and creators of fictional media.

You are my hero.

Anyway, Jeff is my favorite Bomber, but come on. How are video games ever going to progress as a story-telling medium if gamers get all up-in-arms over anything that doesn't fit within their idea of "acceptable" storytelling? The whole gender sensitivity thing isn't helping to empower women, it just makes it look as if men think women are in dire need of protection.

#16 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

It's just really disgusting hypocrisy that completely undermines the main thrust of their pitch. You can't simultaneously market your character as a strong, empowered female coming into her own AND tell the audience that she's a weak mewling kitten that needs to be protected.

Nailed it.

#17 Posted by Butano (1773 posts) -

I thought he was just talking about the journalism being disgusting, as all the Kotaku article was doing was generating clicks for a "controversial story". But it's been a while since listening to that podcast episode, so I may be wrong.

#18 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@Shakeyhands said:

perhaps like a father to a daughter, you would want to protect her.

That might be the issue. Although to be fair, maybe the game makes you want to protect her because Lara's a legitimately interesting character you can sympathize with.

#19 Edited by BabyChooChoo (4735 posts) -

I still think the root of this entire issue (and I think I heard/read this somewhere else) is the fact that it's Lara Croft, someone we are all familiar with, and the fact this new game is essentially a deconstruction of her character. It's the 'Darth Vader conundrum.'

"Here's a strong, badass, likable character that has been around for years. Now, for no reason at all, let's break down their entire past and show you what events turned them into who they are today." At it's core, it's all done with seemingly harmless intentions, but the fact remains that part of what made these iconic characters so lovable in the first place is the fact we knew so little about their pasts.

If this was a new character, I highly doubt there would be any issue at all. There would be no history. No one would already be attached to anything. But you're taking this 'strong' character and making them 'weak' to show how they became strong in the first place and I think it's rubbing a lot of people the wrong way.

But I digress. To stay on topic:

@StarvingGamer said:

It's just really disgusting hypocrisy that completely undermines the main thrust of their pitch. You can't simultaneously market your character as a strong, empowered female coming into her own AND tell the audience that she's a weak mewling kitten that needs to be protected.

This.

#20 Posted by NMC2008 (1237 posts) -

I protect all of my characters as I am in control of them. *shrugs*

#21 Posted by Hailinel (25201 posts) -

@Butano said:

I thought he was just talking about the journalism being disgusting, as all the Kotaku article was doing was generating clicks for a "controversial story". But it's been a while since listening to that podcast episode, so I may be wrong.

Given that Kotaku's bread and butter is drumming up controversy and internet rage for the sake of clicks (see: Final Fantasy Versus XIII is Cancelled!!!!), it wouldn't surprise me if that's the case.

Really, it was just poor wording on the developer's part blown completley out of proportion.

#22 Posted by Little_Socrates (5693 posts) -

Both @StarvingGamer and @BabyChooChoo have nailed what I have wrong with the situation, though it's still as blatantly sexist as most video games. Yes, most games are sexist still, and it's hard to avoid playing sexist games. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive towards a better balance.

Basically, it's sad that we can't laud Tomb Raider for being a step forward. The hypocrisy of their pitch and the deconstruction of a symbol female gamers really do identify with (trust me; I have multiple Lara cosplayers posting photos on my Facebook somehow) almost makes it a step back. And as they describe naked emotional manipulation to the public as part of their pitch, it comes across as a little disgusting. Whether that's how writers really talk (and claims many of them do) or not, it's not what the audience should ever really be hearing. If nothing else, it's disrespectful to your audience to tell them nakedly how you're going to manipulate them before you do so; that's why most film trailers fail to garner interest, too.

#23 Posted by Hailinel (25201 posts) -

@Little_Socrates said:

Both @StarvingGamer and @BabyChooChoo have nailed what I have wrong with the situation, though it's still as blatantly sexist as most video games. Yes, most games are sexist still, and it's hard to avoid playing sexist games. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive towards a better balance.

Basically, it's sad that we can't laud Tomb Raider for being a step forward. The hypocrisy of their pitch and the deconstruction of a symbol female gamers really do identify with (trust me; I have multiple Lara cosplayers posting photos on my Facebook somehow) almost makes it a step back. And as they describe naked emotional manipulation to the public as part of their pitch, it comes across as a little disgusting. Whether that's how writers really talk (and claims many of them do) or not, it's not what the audience should ever really be hearing. If nothing else, it's disrespectful to your audience to tell them nakedly how you're going to manipulate them before you do so; that's why most film trailers fail to garner interest, too.

How is depicting Lara as they intend "blatantly sexist"?

#24 Posted by DeF (4955 posts) -

@Shakeyhands: the reaction was most likely based off of hearsay weird half-information, misunderstanding and assumptions as it happened right as E3 was ending and everyone is just tired and cynical about everything and in general kinda stressed out so it's understandable in part that the guy's wording was messed up and that Jeff and some other folks voiced their knee-jerk reactions without considering the context or researching the whole thing or just giving them the benefit of the doubt.

@BabyChooChoo said:

@StarvingGamer said:

It's just really disgusting hypocrisy that completely undermines the main thrust of their pitch. You can't simultaneously market your character as a strong, empowered female coming into her own AND tell the audience that she's a weak mewling kitten that needs to be protected.

This.

Which is not what was said at all.

What you're doing now is this:

A says: I don't like pizza

B relays it to C: A said that pizza is a disgusting piece of shit meal for brainwashed racists.

#25 Posted by StarvingGamer (8457 posts) -

@DeF: Subtext!

#26 Posted by Little_Socrates (5693 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@Little_Socrates said:

Both @StarvingGamer and @BabyChooChoo have nailed what I have wrong with the situation, though it's still as blatantly sexist as most video games. Yes, most games are sexist still, and it's hard to avoid playing sexist games. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive towards a better balance.

Basically, it's sad that we can't laud Tomb Raider for being a step forward. The hypocrisy of their pitch and the deconstruction of a symbol female gamers really do identify with (trust me; I have multiple Lara cosplayers posting photos on my Facebook somehow) almost makes it a step back. And as they describe naked emotional manipulation to the public as part of their pitch, it comes across as a little disgusting. Whether that's how writers really talk (and claims many of them do) or not, it's not what the audience should ever really be hearing. If nothing else, it's disrespectful to your audience to tell them nakedly how you're going to manipulate them before you do so; that's why most film trailers fail to garner interest, too.

How is depicting Lara as they intend "blatantly sexist"?

"This overtly-sexualized woman with a lot of internal strength obviously couldn't always have been this strong! That's why we're giving them the origin story they've always wanted, where Lara needs to be protected." Even if they're not intentionally being gender-subversive, they're creating a sexist product. I'm not damning CD or the people at Square/Eidos, but the game is what it is.

And, of course, Tomb Raider is not really more sexist than something like Saints (a game I love) or Catherine (which portrays your choices as slutty, lying, and overtly attractive or uptight, lying, and still rather pretty, with no middle ground or truly positive female examples outside of Erica and is still a game I love,) but it's still definitely sexist. In fact, I'd argue most games are still more sexist than Hollywood movies, and while we're better than advertising, we should still be striking a little higher.

#27 Posted by Maginnovision (488 posts) -

@JoeyRavn: Because the reason she's supposed to get killed is for fighting back too much. Just like a fish going crazy after caught, even if you want to throw it back you just kill it and eat it because it's too much trouble to follow through. Even though fish is gross, and never has good as chicken or beef but people still eat it.

#28 Posted by Hailinel (25201 posts) -

@Little_Socrates said:

@Hailinel said:

@Little_Socrates said:

Both @StarvingGamer and @BabyChooChoo have nailed what I have wrong with the situation, though it's still as blatantly sexist as most video games. Yes, most games are sexist still, and it's hard to avoid playing sexist games. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive towards a better balance.

Basically, it's sad that we can't laud Tomb Raider for being a step forward. The hypocrisy of their pitch and the deconstruction of a symbol female gamers really do identify with (trust me; I have multiple Lara cosplayers posting photos on my Facebook somehow) almost makes it a step back. And as they describe naked emotional manipulation to the public as part of their pitch, it comes across as a little disgusting. Whether that's how writers really talk (and claims many of them do) or not, it's not what the audience should ever really be hearing. If nothing else, it's disrespectful to your audience to tell them nakedly how you're going to manipulate them before you do so; that's why most film trailers fail to garner interest, too.

How is depicting Lara as they intend "blatantly sexist"?

"This overtly-sexualized woman with a lot of internal strength obviously couldn't always have been this strong! That's why we're giving them the origin story they've always wanted, where Lara needs to be protected." Even if they're not intentionally being gender-subversive, they're creating a sexist product. I'm not damning CD or the people at Square/Eidos, but the game is what it is.

And, of course, Tomb Raider is not really more sexist than something like Saints (a game I love) or Catherine (which portrays your choices as slutty, lying, and overtly attractive or uptight, lying, and still rather pretty, with no middle ground or truly positive female examples outside of Erica and is still a game I love,) but it's still definitely sexist. In fact, I'd argue most games are still more sexist than Hollywood movies, and while we're better than advertising, we should still be striking a little higher.

I hate to break it to you, but it is not sexist to portray women with internal strengths with a certain amount of weakness. If the idea is to humanize Lara Croft and make her feel more approachable as an actual human being as opposed to a kick-ass-take-names action heroine with no depth of personality, then that isn't sexist.

#29 Posted by Little_Socrates (5693 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@Little_Socrates said:

@Hailinel said:

@Little_Socrates said:

Both @StarvingGamer and @BabyChooChoo have nailed what I have wrong with the situation, though it's still as blatantly sexist as most video games. Yes, most games are sexist still, and it's hard to avoid playing sexist games. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive towards a better balance.

Basically, it's sad that we can't laud Tomb Raider for being a step forward. The hypocrisy of their pitch and the deconstruction of a symbol female gamers really do identify with (trust me; I have multiple Lara cosplayers posting photos on my Facebook somehow) almost makes it a step back. And as they describe naked emotional manipulation to the public as part of their pitch, it comes across as a little disgusting. Whether that's how writers really talk (and claims many of them do) or not, it's not what the audience should ever really be hearing. If nothing else, it's disrespectful to your audience to tell them nakedly how you're going to manipulate them before you do so; that's why most film trailers fail to garner interest, too.

How is depicting Lara as they intend "blatantly sexist"?

"This overtly-sexualized woman with a lot of internal strength obviously couldn't always have been this strong! That's why we're giving them the origin story they've always wanted, where Lara needs to be protected." Even if they're not intentionally being gender-subversive, they're creating a sexist product. I'm not damning CD or the people at Square/Eidos, but the game is what it is.

And, of course, Tomb Raider is not really more sexist than something like Saints (a game I love) or Catherine (which portrays your choices as slutty, lying, and overtly attractive or uptight, lying, and still rather pretty, with no middle ground or truly positive female examples outside of Erica and is still a game I love,) but it's still definitely sexist. In fact, I'd argue most games are still more sexist than Hollywood movies, and while we're better than advertising, we should still be striking a little higher.

I hate to break it to you, but it is not sexist to portray women with internal strengths with a certain amount of weakness. If the idea is to humanize Lara Croft and make her feel more approachable as an actual human being as opposed to a kick-ass-take-names action heroine with no depth of personality, then that isn't sexist.

I suppose you're right, but if the marketing wasn't saying "We wanted to reboot Lara into a more human character" in the same article as the very explicit "We think players will want to protect Lara in a way they wouldn't with male protagonists" then that'd certainly help their case. The idea is that they feel this would not work with a male protag, and that rubs me as blatantly sexist. It's a combo of the PR and the history of the character that paints this in what I believe to be a sexist light. It's not misogynistic or actively hateful, but it is gender-subversive. This is one of a handful of examples of female strength in the industry, and if we come out of this title happier with Lara than we did with Samus in Other M, I'm all for that, but this definitely rubs me the wrong way.

#30 Edited by BabyChooChoo (4735 posts) -

@Little_Socrates said:

[...]This is one of a handful of examples of female strength in the industry, and if we come out of this title happier with Lara than we did with Samus in Other M, I'm all for that, but this definitely rubs me the wrong way.[...]

OMG. That's totally the other game I was trying to think of when I wrote my first post. I didn't mention it, but I sat there for like 10 minutes trying to remember 'that other game' lol. But yes, enough rambling. I agree. To the game's credit, it doesn't look it will do to Lara like what Other M did to Samus, but I'll reserve my final judgment until I watch a playthrough on Youtube or something because I sure as hell ain't buying the game. My not buying the game has nothing to do with this issue or anything like that mind you. I'm also a huge Tomb Raider (...and Uncharted) fan, but I just think this game looks boring.

#31 Posted by Grimhild (723 posts) -

@Little_Socrates:

I've already commented in on this ridiculous topic (which I'm not going to re-post since it basically distills down to me not giving a fuck after Believer asked for a XX to weigh in), but I understand what you're saying. The crafty thing that's going on here is tapping into innate survival instincts that are imbedded in our little lizard brains for the sake of advertizing. Yes, most men will inherently cringe at or want to outright prevent harm or danger to a potential mate for procreating their offspring. That's what they're betting on. It's the same reaction that most women have to infants that are in distress, which is why most baby products are geared toward the female population, generally speaking.

Advertizing! Wee!

#32 Posted by Hailinel (25201 posts) -

@BabyChooChoo said:

@Little_Socrates said:

[...]This is one of a handful of examples of female strength in the industry, and if we come out of this title happier with Lara than we did with Samus in Other M, I'm all for that, but this definitely rubs me the wrong way.[...]

OMG. That's totally the other game I was trying to think of when I wrote my first post. I didn't mention it, but I sat there for like 10 minutes trying to remember 'that other game' lol. But yes, enough rambling. I agree. To the game's credit, it doesn't look it will do to Lara like what Other M did to Samus, but I'll reserve my final judgment until I watch a playthrough on Youtube or something because I sure as hell ain't buying the game. My not buying the game has nothing to do with this issue or anything like that mind you. I'm also a huge Tomb Raider (...and Uncharted) fan, but I just think this game looks boring.

Other M didn't really change Samus, though. In terms of the games, there was literally almost nothing to change given that, aside from Fusion, and cutscenes that appeared in Zero Mission, there had otherwise been nothing to base her personality off of. And what elements do appear in Other M had already been conceived years earlier and presented in a manga that, while not specifically canon, originated a number of elements that were later referenced in Zero Mission and Other M (the manga itself was produced around the same time as Fusion). Additionally, the manga was supervised by the man in charge of developing all three of the above games.

The main problem with Other M wasn't the idea behind Samus's characterization. The fault lied purely with the writing and the localization. Too much telling, not enough showing, and in some cases, not enough of either to give proper context to certain scenes. Samus's characterization? I had no problem with it.

But going back to Tomb Raider, the entire debate over the new game's depiction of Lara became skewed ever since the internet got in a tizzy and couldn't fucking distinguish cries of agony from cries of arousal. This entire debate jumped straight over the rail into batshit retarded territory from day one.

#33 Edited by Brodehouse (10106 posts) -

@Little_Socrates said:

Both @StarvingGamer and @BabyChooChoo have nailed what I have wrong with the situation, though it's still as blatantly sexist as most video games. Yes, most games are sexist still, and it's hard to avoid playing sexist games. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive towards a better balance.

Basically, it's sad that we can't laud Tomb Raider for being a step forward. The hypocrisy of their pitch and the deconstruction of a symbol female gamers really do identify with (trust me; I have multiple Lara cosplayers posting photos on my Facebook somehow) almost makes it a step back. And as they describe naked emotional manipulation to the public as part of their pitch, it comes across as a little disgusting. Whether that's how writers really talk (and claims many of them do) or not, it's not what the audience should ever really be hearing. If nothing else, it's disrespectful to your audience to tell them nakedly how you're going to manipulate them before you do so; that's why most film trailers fail to garner interest, too.

Writers are in the business of emotional manipulation. If they are not manipulating the audience's emotions, they're not doing their jobs. Silent Hill 2 didn't happen accidentally. The characters of Mass Effect weren't just spaghetti thrown on a wall. Look at the design process on Thane. That's just the art designers. These are people trying to get a specific reaction out of their audience. When they bring your love interest back but then keep you separated from them, it's emotional manipulation.

Want to know a big reason why he says "in a way you might not with a man?" It's because female characters start with audience sympathy, while male characters have to earn it. We can probably expect the first 1-2 hours will be Lara screaming for her life and being largely incompetent (one scene shown has her pleading for help, that she can't do this on her own), until she grows into a capable character. Nathan Drake could not get away with that, people would be irritated and demand he grow up faster than with a female character. That's not a writer's sexism, that's the audience's sexism.

On a different point, I don't know a single woman who can identify with the old Lara Croft. She's completely unrelatable. She's cool, but not identifiable. Dante is also a very cool character, but let's not pretend men identify with him. They just think he's cool. I'm way more interested in watching this poor college student go through hell and come out alive than hearing about the continuing adventures of Dual Guns Invictus.

#34 Edited by Kaiserhawk (62 posts) -

"You'll want to protect her"

Call me crazy, but does anyone find this whole concept more sexist than the whole drama surrounding this game?