Here we go again! First it's boob gate (thanks to the very awesome Blair Butler for coming up with the term), now we have Lara Croft's mammeries to argue about. The most famous pair of video game breasts this side of Soul Calibur's Ivy are getting a reduction and it's caused quite a few arguments to start on the interwebs. I hit the floor of E3 this week and got a behind-closed-doors look at the upcoming reboot of Tomb Raider. You can read my preview here on Coming Soon for info on game play and why it seems weirdly masochistic, but today I'm talking about boobs.
Maybe she uses super glue?
Lara Croft looks very different this time around. Certainly more realistic. Her chest has gone from one that made her look like she would face plant if she stood on her toes to a large B/small C. Some have argued that this is a non-issue, but the truth is, the game has been famous for more than just it's action. There have been nude hacks, posters, fan clubs...even Angelina Jolie had them enhanced (not surgically...don't sue me) for the films. Her breasts are a signature part of the character and there is no way this wasn't going to be noticed.
Let me be clear here. I don't care how big or small her chest is. I mentioned it on Twitter and Facebook last night and the discussion was intense. Friendly and intense...I'm not trying to start a war here or imply in any way that there ever was one. I was just really surprised at how many people felt that I should be thrilled by the change. So many, in fact, that I thought I'd share my feelings about it all here.
The new, less busty Lara Croft.
I have many issues with the way women have been portrayed in film and television. It's changing, of course, but there is a long way to go. I've also had issues with stupid/weak women in video games. There is no way in hell that you could ever call Lara stupid or weak. This goes back to the discussion about sexuality and geek women, and whether or not we need to neuter ourselves to be taken seriously. As the very awesome Jane Espenson told me in our interview for Huffington Post, "I like to think of sci fi fans as people who genuinely embrace the idea of infinite diversity in infinite combination. Diversity includes the sexy. It just does. There's no way around that. We are simply going to have to embrace the sexy." Nothing wrong with being sexy AND kick ass. And nothing about being sexy takes away from what you can do with your brain or your sword.
The incredibly talented Jane Espenson.
All I care about is game play. I don't care if Ivy's boobs are the size of pumpkins and there is no way they could stay in that strip of tooth floss. That's the unrealistic style of Soul Calibur. I don't think Siegfried could hold a sword that size either.
That's some sword you've got there, Siegfried! Ahem.
I do not ask for realism in video games. I ask for art design. I ask for fun. I ask for object permanence so my feet don't go through the stairs instead of standing on them and my arms don't poke through walls. I ask for fewer fire bats. I ask for kick ass characters. I laughed my ass off when someone told me on Twitter that it was unacceptable that her breasts were so unrealistic. Realistic? Oh, because it's totally realistic to have magic, or carry 50 items (including armor) in an invisible backpack, or to find treasure chests in every household, or to die and respawn or find giant spinning coins lying all over the world. Hedgehogs do not skateboard. Girls in bikinis do not play sexy games on a private island that only you have been invited to. Zombies are not running around, waiting to be taken down. (Well, not yet. I'm prepared for the zombie apocalypse, just in case.) Why the hell should I care if a character has large, unrealistic boobs? I'm not looking to video games to tell me how I should look. And if some guy won't date you because you don't look like Lara Croft...run from him. Hell, he's probably not out of his basement anyway.
I hope there's a pony inside!
Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Pontificate below and happy gaming.