The Inevitable Re-Branding of Lara Croft – Part 2
This is Part Two of the series “The Inevitable Re-Branding of Lara Croft” This has been reposted from my weekly column at Dawdle.
How to Re-Brand Lara Croft
1) Fix the Game Play Already!
Why is that we’re still complaining about bogus camera angles and spotty game play in the TR franchise? The developers have had 8 chances to fix this and they’ve faield each time. If the idea to make Lara more female friendly is actually code for “we want to attract casual gamers” then fixing the mechanics of the game becomes more essential. Core gamers will complain and learn to put up with sub par gaming mechanics. Casual gamers will simply walk away.
2) Go Beyond the Sexy
Lara was born during a time when sex in games and digital nudity were avant garde. Now it’s common place. Shed more light on Lara’s personality traits. She needs to become a full blown character that makes me laugh, cry, cringe, marvel and scream at the same time. Full and impossibly flawed characters like Uncharted’s Nathan Drake andMetal Gear Solid’s Solid Snake have intense fan followings. Men don’t want to admit it but they’ve got a Bromance with Nathan and Snake that rivals the love affair they have with Lara. Women also love yearn for lovable characters. Gender doesn’t play that big of a role. In the end people want to love their characters.
It’s easy to marvel at Lara’s impossible physique. But she’s almost too perfect. When I think of compelling and strong women in media my mind drifts to Sigourney Weaver
, Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich or Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. Lara is starting to remind me of Halle Berry in Catwoman. A stale and failed attempt at creating a strong female character.
3) A New Aesthetic?
The answer lies in making the game easier to play and bringing more of Lara’s humanity into the branding and promotion of the game. She’s a sex symbol and that’s ok. But lust for Lara Croft is so last century. There is no thrill in playing a game with a flat (albeit magincally endowed) character.