The Inevitable Re-Branding of Lara Croft – Part 2

by Bukola Ekundayo on January 30, 2009

in Branding and Video Games

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 in Alien, 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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Sociable, Share!
  • http://www.skeletongirls.biz Pantagruella

    I don't think there was any sex in the Lara Croft games or in the films.

    If you've seen Allison Carroll recently, you will recognise that the Lara Croft physique is not unattainable.

    Lara Croft doesn't need any character development because people automatically add in their own imaginings.

  • http://mspixel.com bukolae

    There is a lack of explicit sex. That doesn't mean sex wasn't used to launch Lara into the consciousness of the young men (and women) who played the Tomb Raider games. Why do you think she was designed to look like a bombshell? I think it was done to gain attention and to sell games.

    The average American woman is 5'4″ tall and weighs 140 pounds. Allison Carroll looks much taller (between 5'8 and 5'10) and probably weighs less than 140 pounds. For many women her body is unattainable. But I don't mind it. Lara is a sex symbol.

    People are bored with her. If she doesn't need a character revamp (or re-birth) what would you suggest?

  • http://www.skeletongirls.biz Pantagruella

    I think there is a big misunderstanding about sex. Freud said every relationship was sexual, but he didn't have to be right. The ad men in the 60s said that sex sells, but they didn't mean literal sex. You take a half-way attractive woman in a dress pushing a vacuum cleaner and you say that's sex. But it isn't. They say that 70% of the Internet is sex but isn't. In fact it's the opposite of sex.

    Lare Croft wore shorts. That's not sex. She had enlarged breasts. That's not sex. You could follow her climbing up things. But that's not sex. It's just a misunderstanding, a failure to understand what sex is.

    Lara Croft is the opposite of sex. In the two films she is remarkably austere, chaste, virginal. It goes back to the Scream rules. If you have sex, you deserve to die. Lara Croft didn't have sex, so she won through until the end.

  • http://mspixel.com bukolae

    I guess we disagree about the definition of sex. For me, a display of explicit sex doesn't have to be present. The idea, expectation or just the presence of sexual overtones is enough to trigger some sort of response. That's why I don't think sex has to be explicitly present. Many of the teenage boys that are fans of Lara Croft like her because she has a nice body not because she is virginal, chaste and austere.

  • http://www.skeletongirls.biz Pantagruella

    Almost all the words we use lack the precise definitions that allow humans to communicate properly. That's why people get on better when they can't talk.

    My claim is that people are supposed to make a connection between something which is 'sexy;, a word I can't bear, and 'sex'. I maintain there's no such connection. If you could suggest that anyone playing Tomb Raider was physically aroused by the game, then you might have a chance of winning a debate on the subject.

    Would we say that a photo of a beautiful woman is just a step away from sex? You're attracted to a woman, and the next step is sex?

    Why don't game designers make a highly successful video game about having sex if sex is such a shurefire seller with males?

    In the world of mammals, most males are unsuccessful sexually. In fact they are content with a kind of bachelor status. There are alpha males and there are the unsuccessful males. It's the same with humans. Almost all humans are descended from just a few successful males.

    Video games are just hunting activity substitues. Males are more about hunting, controlling territory, establishing status, than ever they are about sex. If sex was popular, people would be engaging in sex, and it would have a better reputation. Religions don't have time for sex. Right and left wing autocracies don't like it.

    If Lara Croft was about sex, then some character who was sexier than her would be better than her. Is there anyone else in the frame? Chun-li. Chun-li is popular because she is schoolgirlish, kawaii and celebrates victory in a beguiling way.

  • http://www.skeletongirls.biz Pantagruella

    Almost all the words we use lack the precise definitions that allow humans to communicate properly. That's why people get on better when they can't talk.

    My claim is that people are supposed to make a connection between something which is 'sexy;, a word I can't bear, and 'sex'. I maintain there's no such connection. If you could suggest that anyone playing Tomb Raider was physically aroused by the game, then you might have a chance of winning a debate on the subject.

    Would we say that a photo of a beautiful woman is just a step away from sex? You're attracted to a woman, and the next step is sex?

    Why don't game designers make a highly successful video game about having sex if sex is such a shurefire seller with males?

    In the world of mammals, most males are unsuccessful sexually. In fact they are content with a kind of bachelor status. There are alpha males and there are the unsuccessful males. It's the same with humans. Almost all humans are descended from just a few successful males.

    Video games are just hunting activity substitues. Males are more about hunting, controlling territory, establishing status, than ever they are about sex. If sex was popular, people would be engaging in sex, and it would have a better reputation. Religions don't have time for sex. Right and left wing autocracies don't like it.

    If Lara Croft was about sex, then some character who was sexier than her would be better than her. Is there anyone else in the frame? Chun-li. Chun-li is popular because she is schoolgirlish, kawaii and celebrates victory in a beguiling way.

Previous post:

Next post: