Monday, March 30, 2015

Interactive Friction: Tomb Raider (2013): Episode 7: Uncomfortable Deaths

In this episode, Sam and I talk about some of the more uncomfortable parts of the game.

As I said in the episode, Tomb Raider (2013) makes most of Lara's deaths look much more brutal than we're used to seeing in video games. The ones we show off in this episode are the most gruesome, but they are not the only such fatalities on display.

I believe that the reason the deaths in these games are so uncomfortable because of the way the game lingers on them. In most games, the developers would be in a hurry to fade to black before we see the character start to suffer, and begin to start at the last checkpoint (or save game). Though resets are pretty quick in Tomb Raider, we also see, in vivid detail, just how much Lara suffers as she slowly dies. The death isn't immediate, and that suffering is uncomfortable to watch.

The way theses scenes cause discomfort in the player is clearly intentional. Not only does it provide an even stronger disincentive to fool around in these scenes (more than usual), but it also helps to sell the feeling that the island is a giant hazard, just doing its best to kill Lara. It is a very interesting way to make the mechanics reinforce the story.

The voice acting, animation, and shot composition are also top-notch in both the deaths and the cauterization scene. Though that scene isn't a death, it's another fantastic scene how Lara is beginning to change her way of thinking in order to survive on the island.

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