When the Tomb Raider series got its reboot back in 2013 it ran into controversy before it was even released. Now, the writer behind both recent Tomb Raider titles has talked about her feelings on the backlash. One of the game's first trailers included a sequence where a captured Lara Croft was being physically assaulted by one of the island cultists. The scene gave the impression that the physical violence against Lara might get much, much worse.The game's writer, Rhianna Pratchett says that, while she understood some of the negative reaction, she felt the scene was important for the game as a whole.
This is a challenge Lara has to go through. She's gone through challenges before and she goes through challenges afterwards. This isn't like the radioactive spider bite that turns her into a Tomb Raider. This is a situation she has to deal with and it leads to the first kill. So it's not really about the guy's actions. It's about Lara's reactions.
Eurogamer has an extensive interview with Rhianna Pratchett, who recently announced she would be leaving Crystal Dynamics and the Tomb Raider series to pursue other endeavors. In the interview, she looks back at both of the Tomb Raider games she helped to create. While Pratchett defends the moment in the game as a whole, she does admit that the way the trailer was cut together, it may have implied things to be worse than they actually were. The development team knew the context of the scene, and thus may not have realized how it all looked outside of that context.
At the time that the trailer was released Rhianna Pratchett had not been announced as the game's writer. As such, she had to remain quiet as the issues blew up around her. Once she was given the opportunity to speak she did a much better job than some other's at Crystal Dynamics, at defusing the problems. One executive producer talked about the player's desire to "protect" Lara, in the game, which didn't go very far to help make people feel better.
While Rhianna Pratchett didn't have a problem with that particular aspect of the game, that's not to say that she thought that Lara's first kill went perfectly. She actually explained to Eurogamer that it is one of the parts of the game she would love to change if she could.
It would have been good if we had taken more time to think about how the character would come across in that situation. Maybe you could have had her throw away the gun off a cliff. It would feel in-line with how the character is feeling. You would be maybe a bit frustrated as a player, but you'd also feel, okay, well that feels in-line with what the character's going through and it would seem natural for her to do that.
While the game had to deal with controversy, in the end, it was a critical success. While the series will have a new writer going forward, hopefully, whoever that is will be able to build on the character created by Rhianna Pratchett.