Why we need more games like Tomb Raider

March 26, 2013

Released just a few weeks ago, Crystal Dynamics' reboot of the Tomb Raider series does everything right.

Shockingly, this was the first time I had ever played a Tomb Raider title. It's a great place to start, considering that it starts at the very beginning of Lara Croft's journey.

"Forget everything you know about Tomb Raider," said head of Crystal Dynamics, Darrell Gallagher.

Now, back to the point of this blog post.

I just completed Tomb Raider, and, as a female, I'm overwhelmed with pride. In most games, the protagonist is a white male. Any game that challenges that always captures my attention. Unfortunately, a lot of females in games are only meant to be eye candy for players. They are always sexed up, ditsy girls who don't represent the majority of women. Lara Croft, however, is different.

Lara Croft is strong. She's sensitive. She's real.

Just yesterday at Pax East I saw a little girl dressed as Lara Croft, and it put a big smile on my face. It's great that young girls have a female video game character to look up to who is a positive influence.

I wish more developers would shed a more positive light on women in their games. I have much respect for developers and publishers who feature strong female characters in their games.

Naughty Dog, who happens to be my favorite game developer, was pressured to feature Joel predominately on the cover art for The Last of Us. So what did they do? Naturally, they put Ellie, a female, right in the front. They were pressured to push Ellie to the back, or possibly leave her off of the cover entirely, because there is a misconception that featuring a female on the cover of a game will decrease sales.

This isn't just happening with Naughty Dog, either.

Jean-Max Morris, Creative Director of the upcoming title Remember Me, had this to say:

“We had some [prospective publishers] that said, ‘Well, we don’t want to publish it because that’s not going to succeed. You can’t have a female character in games. It has to be a male character, simple as that.’"

It's 2013, guys. This blows my mind that people still think that you have to have a white, male character in a game in order for it to succeed. Do they assume that every gamer is a white male?! I would love to see more games with female leads; more games with African-American, Hispanic, and yes, even gay leads. If you keep making games with white males as main characters, how will the industry ever grow?