If I were going to direct the new Tomb Raider trailer…

Jul 18, 2012 | Video Games

More controversy. I can’t leave it alone, can I? Here’s the original article from Kotaku that started it all, and the pertinent quote:

“When people play Lara, they don’t really project themselves into the character,” Rosenberg told me at E3 last week when I asked if it was difficult to develop for a female protagonist.

“They’re more like ‘I want to protect her.’ There’s this sort of dynamic of ‘I’m going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her.'”

…In the new Tomb Raider, Lara Croft will suffer. Her best friend will be kidnapped. She’ll get taken prisoner by island scavengers. And then, Rosenberg says, those scavengers will try to rape her.

There are levels of utter WTF here that I, with my genius IQ, simply cannot parse. I am absolutely gobsmacked that someone who is apparently important on this game uttered these words. Let’s not beat around the bush here – by ‘people’, he means 18-30 year old guys. So let’s rephrase this, shall we?

When [18-30 year old guys] play [a female protagonist in a video game], they don’t really project themselves into the character.

And then he mentions the rape. They are putting rape into a game where, in their own goddamn words, they say the player doesn’t relate to the character being raped. They’re ‘helping’ her. And if they decide not to ‘help’ her, at that moment…?

Draw your own conclusions. I’m not going there and I’m not touching this game with a ten foot pole. Chuck Wendig here has a better takedown of all this. In the meantime, I thought about what kind of trailer I’d make for this game, given free reign and the resources to produce it.

First of all, here’s the gameplay trailer. It mostly consists of Lara getting the shit kicked out of her. The actual trailer, with rendered graphics, is here, and consists of what I’d call incredibly crappy voiceover along with scenes of Lara getting the shit kicked out of her/screaming in pain interspersed with scenery. Watch them both. Now, you want a trailer that’ll make people want this game? This is how I’d do it.

Claire’s Tomb Raider Trailer

Open with that stupid rating screen, followed with the Square Enix logo. Fade to black. Text appears:

“It soon became obvious that we were but on the threshold of the discovery.”
-Howard Carter, discoverer of Tutankhamun’s tomb

Music starts quietly, fade to wide shot of a cargo ship – the Endurance – cutting through the clear ocean with the sun behind it. Camera zooms down onto the deck – Lara is standing at the rails in sailors oilskins with the hood down, looking out at the sea. One of the sailors (other character from the game?) passes by and says hello. She turns, nods, looks out at the sea, and smiles at something.

Reverse shot – camera behind her, she’s looking out at a pod of whales playing in the waves. Voice over as she folds her arms and leans on the rails.

Lara: I need a change, Dad. Everything is so stuffy, so boring here.

Lord Croft (chuckling): I’m sure it’ll be good for you. Just promise you’ll send me a postcard, my dear.

Cut to Lara again, close up on her face. Her smile gets wider. She’s excited, fascinated.

Lara: I promise I will!

White out, cut to the ship struggling through a storm. CUE DARK DRAMATIC MUSIC. Lightning, crashing waves, all that good stuff. Lara running along the deck in her waterproofs with another sailor, trying to batten down the hatches or whatever. The ship shudders and shakes, water everywhere. She pulls herself in through a door as the whole thing crashes and lurches to one side – electronics spark, darkness, shakycam madness abounds, as the ship runs aground and starts to tear itself apart. Lara is thrown forward, down the corridor (which is now more vertical than horizontal) and throws her arms up in front of her head before she slams into the wall. Scene goes black.

Fade in, Lara starts to wake up in the cave hanging upside-down and trussed up in her usual clothes. No music, only sound effects. This plays out like in the gameplay trailer, except she doesn’t talk to herself. She screams in fear, but doesn’t speak. Who does that, seriously? The sequence continues with her getting through the cave, ending with her scrambling to get out and into the light.

Cut to her walking, staggering from tree to tree, holding her side and sniffing like she’s crying. Music picks up again, quiet and mournful. The camera moves past her, speeds up, follows her eventual route out to a cliffside and over the vista of the ruined ship. Voice over, from radio:

Lara: Mayday, mayday, mayday… this is the cargo ship Endurance… we are stranded somewhere in the Dragon’s Triangle… if anyone can hear me, please respond!

Cut to Lara doing more stuff from the gameplay trailer – drinking rainwater, cleaning her face, jumping around. Cut to her climbing around the old aeroplane wreck, finding the bow. Cut back to her trying to building a fire, then huddled in front of it, staring at the flame and hugging the radio as someone responds.

Mac (another character from the game? Can’t quite make out the name): Lara, where are you?

Lara (scared): I don’t know, Mac, I woke up in a… a cave, with dead bodies… *crying* Somebody killed Steph…

Mac: My god… you have to get to us, Lara, we’ll be safer if we’re all together.

Cut to Lara doing her thing through the jungle, killing that deer, fighting off those wolves, all that good stuff. Then she reaches the rest of her group, and creeps up on them being captured by the crazy mercenaries. She watches, horrified, as they shoot one of them and drag the rest away. Cut to more gameplay of her sneaking through the mercenary camp, trying to get to her friend Sam. CUE FIGHT MUSIC. She’s discovered and gets into a fight with one of the mercenaries, ending with her grabbing his gun and shooting him in the face.

Cut to her, front view, staggering away from the body. She drops to her her hands and knees, dazed, covered in the guy’s blood, in front of one of his guns – music stops. Voice over:

Lord Croft: I know you‘re destined for great things, Lara. 

Cut to the side, her head down and gasping for breath.

Lord Croft: And I know, someday, you’ll find out just how strong you really are.

Lara lifts her head slowly. Cut to the front view again, looking directly at her as she slowly picks up one of her now iconic guns in both hands and sits back on her knees with the muzzle resting on the ground. Faint shouting becomes audible. She looks off past the camera towards the source of the sound. As it gets louder, her breath gets faster, she swallows, and the gun trembles a little as she grips it tightly. Her expression changes from scared to determined, and the first hint of true steel appears in her eyes.

Cue more dramatic music, more action, shooting, jumping, etc, like the sequence at the end of the gameplay trailer. MORE EXPLOSIONS. Cut to Lara, picking herself up after one of the big destruction sequences. “I’m never doing that again,” she says under her breath, shuddering as she looks back at her close brush with death.

Cut to the TOMB RAIDER: SURVIVOR title screen.