If you take Lara Croft, you’ll see a core set personality attributes that were established in her right at the beginning. They are still at the center of her being.
She has strength of character, fearlessness, and an independent spirit. She also has athleticism and a dogged determination to pursue her goals. These traits all add up to Lara Croft.
Over the years different experiments have been made with respect to her character and the gameplay around her, but her enduring appeal is that strength of will and character that she had right at the beginning as well as the more superficial facets of her interactive personality such as politeness and a cool ability to deal with unsavory individuals.
But she is not two-dimensional. She is interesting because her personality is perceived in different ways by different segments of the audience and the public. There are people who believe she is very much a heroine in the Hollywood sense and there are many other people who view her as an anti-hero because, although she does end up doing a lot of good, saving the world, she is ultimately a tomb raider and an adventurer.
She goes to foreign countries and takes their antiquities and brings them home to put in her collection.
So a lot of what has changed over the years is the perception of Lara. She’s been pretty solidly herself from the beginning, diving into these areas, taking what she can, and getting out, often at the expense of competitors’ lives. But the different appearances she has made in games and films has altered some audiences perception of her.
Mainstream audiences are often taking their cues from the films which were much more in the heroic model. You can trace an evolution where she started out very hard edged, very anti hero and got soft, but really that’s more about people’s perceptions than it is about actual change.
The fact that she is a female is also interesting to people and she’s had no shortage of commentators.
Toby Gard, famously, wanted originally to use a male character and then switched to a female because he understood what a male dominated audience wanted to look at over many hours of gameplay.
But the character was never a traditional vixen bimbo kind of character and it’s been very important for us to reinforce that.
We clearly define her character as someone who is female and feminine and attractive, but those are her natural characteristics. Those are not the way she defines herself and that’s not merely the way we define her. Some people miss this crucial aspect to her.
We concentrate very much on the strength and the independence of her character and that’s the secret to her undying appeal. It gives people a respect for her that you don’t get from these heroines who look like the clothing they wear comes out of a paint can. It’s something that makes her a strong character first and a very intriguing and unusual personality second and that combination is what really makes her a winner.
These characteristics don’t make her especially interesting to men or women, or the old or the young. They are universally admired. Her character is not a response to outside opinion or analysis from any particular segment of the populace.
One of the interesting things that Tony Gard and I did during the making of Tomb Raider Legend is we both sat down and independently took the personality index, as Lara. We wanted to see how well we thought that we knew her character and how well it was something that everyone could understand.
We were very glad to find out that in the end we had the exact same answer and, although we are both male, that answer transcends gender. It’s about personality attributes and strengths.
When it comes to the question of Lara Croft as a positive role model the thing I hear the most is her strength and independence. One of the things that I don’t hear about so much, but is very important to us internally, is that she never, ever appears to be aware of her own sex appeal, that she never uses it as a tool or a weapon in any situation.
People often want to see or ask to see Lara use her feminine wiles to get the best of some adversary. But really that’s only a tool you use when you don’t have the strength to use another tool. When Lara comes up against a situation where she has a guy in front of her she is much more effective with her strength, her guns, her smarts, than any batting of eyelashes.
Finally, what’s appealing about these games is the situation Lara chooses to place herself; that of a discoverer. Finding a tomb – or any place – that no one else has discovered is something that is universally interesting.
It’s hard to deconstruct why that is which, in a strange way, is what makes it so fascinating. When you are a kid and you go to a playground, why do you want to climb to the top of the monkey bars? When you’re going to the beach why do you see which is the tallest sand dune and then climb to the top of that? There’s just this a priori desire to explore and get to the bottom of something or get to the top of something.
When you find a tomb that no one else has ever seen before what you’re doing is something that adults are trained over time to disbelieve, that there is a place in this world that nobody has actually walked on.
How many times do you hear kids talk about one corner of the beach and they’ll fantasize about they discovered it. It’s about saying, “I got here first’ which is a very appealing fantasy（下文缺失）