June 27th, 2012, 23:34 Posted By: wraggster
Eidos life president Ian Livingstone says the upcoming reboot ofTomb Raider still features a strong, capable heroine and believes reaction to the game's controversial trailer have been blown out of proportion.
Livingstone describes an E3 PR disaster, when executive producer Ron Rosenberg said players would want to “protect Lara”, as a “live interview that went slightly wrong. Quotes were misinterpreted and blown out of proportion,” Livingstone adds.
“There was a momentary threat to Lara which she overcame in two seconds. The reaction has been quite extreme.”
It was never the intention to imply sexual threat to Lara, Livingstone said - and he doesn't see much place for such themes in games in general.
“I think about my responsibility as a developer – films can deal with these themes, but it’s different in games when the user controls the action," he said. “We should be celebrating what’s great about the game.”Livingstone, a keynote speaker at the GameHorizonconference in Newcastle, was keen to celebrate the storied heritage of the Tomb Raider series as he addressed delegates.
He highlighted Lara’s late '90s domination of pop culture through myriad past and present tie-ins, including Larazade – a limited edition Lucozade drink – and some obscure French adverts made to promote SEAT cars.
Overall, this type of brand exposure helped make a total of $1.5bn - not a bad return from a series whose heroine was first perceived as a male Indiana Jones clone.
Establishing IP, Livingstone said, has many uses: by linking Lara with Pepsi, the game’s publisher can bring in more revenue. “Owning a licence is like leasing a gold mine," he said. "Own the gold mine and you can profit from it forever.” He urged developers to create their own IP whenever they have the opportunity.
Despite his love of new IP, Livingstone argues that Lara is ripe for a return 16 years after her debut. “There should always be new icons,” he said. “No-one would advocate binning Lara Croft, just as they wouldn’t want to bin James Bond. She has a huge fan following.
“She has had her ups and downs – The Angel of Darkness was not a great game, though it was aptly named. The fanbase will forgive you if they still love the character.”
For Livingstone, the key to a series’ longevity is to ensure successive iterations always go one better than the ones that came before. And he’s confident that, when Lara's next outing is released next February, the fuss over Rosenberg's interview comments will be swiftly forgotten: “I guarantee fans will be delighted with the newTomb Raider.”
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