BY MAX WELLS
Lara Croft is setting her sights on the big screen for the first time in 15 years. Known as the over-sexualized treasure hunter previously portrayed by Angelina Jolie, Lara is making a return in an all-new origin story. It was 2013 when Crystal Dynamics rebooted Tomb Raider game franchise, which now serves as inspiration for this month’s film starring Academy Award winning actress Alicia Vikander.
The rebooted games, Tomb Raider (2013) and Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016), created a new origin story for the character of Lara Croft. Players find themselves as Lara, a young and rebellious archaeology graduate, exploring dangerous ancient kingdoms and searching for answers to her father’s early death. Also new to the rebooted games is Lara’s appearance – the character is showing less skin than ever.
Rhianna Pratchett, lead writer for the two games, says that the character’s earlier sexualization was due to the marketing rather than the actual subject matter. “She was more sexualized in the marketing, than she was in the games themselves. The marketing was also very gendered towards male gamers.”
Pratchett explains that they wanted to show gamers a fresh perspective of the character in the new games. “There was a lot to Lara which evolved over the course of the franchise, so that meant there was plenty to work with when Crystal Dynamics came to reboot her. We still definitely wanted to keep a lot of the traits people associated with Lara – bravery, resourcefulness, tenacity, curiosity, et cetera, but with the 2013 game we chose to rewind them to a point where they were bubbling to the surface and really being tested for the first time. Crystal had already deigned the visuals for the new Lara by the time I joined the team and it was definitely one of the things which attracted me to the project.”
Pratchett was lead writer on the first two reboot games, Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider, but announced on her twitter that she won’t be returning for the third instalment.
So, I’m packing up my climbing axe plus a little venison jerky for the road, and bidding a fond farewell to Lara. Onwards to new adventures!
— Rhianna Pratchett (@rhipratchett) January 3, 2017
While the new Tomb Raider film uses aspects of the two games, Pratchett says she wasn’t involved in the film’s creation. “Despite the film appearing to be a mixture of the first and second game, with a smattering of influence from the comics, I’ve not been involved (and wasn’t asked to be). In the book world authors are seldom involved with their adaptations. It’s fun seeing so much of the game on screen, but until I see the whole movie, it’s hard to tell how well that’s going to resonate with audiences. Especially those who’ve played the games. However, I think Alicia Vikander is great casting and really seems to get the character.”
Tomb Raider opens worldwide March 17.