Crystal Dynamics’ Tomb Raider reboot has been met with plenty of praise and love, yet one of the things most often cited in the various reviews by gamers is Lara’s first kill, and how quickly she transforms from a blubbering wreck to a steely eyed killer who nearly wiped out the entire population of Yamatai by time the game’s end rolls around. Even I talked about it in my own review, feeling that the transition could have been handled better, though it was a testament to the game’s writing that I even noticed it.
In a Q&A session on Reddit, Creative Director Noah Hughes addressed the challenge of trying to making Lara’s transition feel real, while maintaining fun gameplay:
“This is a very difficult topic to deal with in games (especially games with a shooter component). Games have a long history of fictional conceits that are there to serve the goal of fun, but in doing so it does ask for a healthy amount of suspension of disbelief. Specifically in a game where 1/3 of the conflicts are resolved with combat (traversal/puzzles/combat) it creates a reality that does not adhere strictly to RL (real life) morality. Having said that, we still wanted the moment where Lara crosses this threshhold and takes her first human life to be meaningful. We tried to do everything we could to transition from the significance of the one kill to a need to take many lives in order to survive. We tried to present a situation where Lara and her friends would die if she was not willing to make this transition. Additionally Lara tried to talk her way out of this path but the scavengers were not interested in negotiation. Lara realizes she is not the kind of person to break down in the face of that conclusion, instead she steels herself for the challenge at hand, and even scares herself with her ability to do that.”
On a personal level I feel that the transition would have felt better if Lara had fewer direct confrontations with her foes during the first half of the game, instead relying more on stealth and cunning to thin the ranks of the Scavengers. More dangerous feeling enemies in lesser numbers may have also helped. Later in the game Lara’s posture could have become more confident and direct confrontation could have been done a bit more, all to suggest that she’s accepting her natural skill at killing.
But that’s just my view. You can find my opinions on the game in my review HERE.