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Crystal Dynamics still fighting controversial Tomb Raider "rape" scene

The apologies continue...

Crystal Dynamics continue to talk their way out of the comments made by executive producer Ron Rosenberg.

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Sexual assault or physical intimidation?

Last month Ron Rosenberg the executive producer of Crystal Dynamic's Tomb Raider reboot, made a startling statement claiming that Lara Croft would be a victim of rape, encouraging players to root for her and "protect" her.

Since that statement was made, the gaming world has been bombarded with tweets, blogs, news stories and opinions about how the subject of rape has no place in video games, and news of such a theme in Tomb Raider was downright disgusting.

Of course, when reactions got out of hand, Crystal Dynamics studio head Darrell Gallagher issued an apology for Rosenberg's statement claiming that the scene had a "threatening undertone", but there was no connotation of rape.

A month on, and Crystal Dynamics are still trying to dig their way out of this controversy. Karl Stewart, the global brand director for Crystal Dynamics has said in an interview with Kotaku, "[Rosenberg] said something which is certainly a word that is not in our vocabulary and not in our communication."

Stewart goes on to say that while this particular incident wouldn't have occurred had the protagonist been male, it doesn't make it a sexual assault. He refers to the situation as a "pathological assault", and "close physical intimidation", that is meant to evoke fear.

Crystal Dynamics stands by the fact that Rosenberg's comments were his own view of the situation, and not the view of the company. Stewart also stated that Rosenberg's comment of players wanting to protect Laura, is not how the company want players to feel about the character, but rather refers to the results of a focus group test issued by Crystal Dynamics.

Stewart avoids using the word "rape" when talking about the infamous scene, and is clearly trying to completely remove the company from the idea of rape or sexual assault. Rather, Stewart says that they have "raised the bar in immersive storytelling through video games", allowing players to "interpret it...as you play the game out for yourself."

If you have yet to see the infamous scene, you can view it here. How do you interpret the scene? Do you think companies need to apologise and excuse themselves for their vision?

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