Or, as a note to the chaps at Visual Works and Redwood HQ, “Why consistency across key artworks is important.”
Ever since the new Lara Croft was unveiled a week ago, two key artworks of our heroine have been released (comparison shot embiggable here). Both show the inexperienced relic hunter wet and dirty, albeit to varying degrees, looking at the camera from the same angle. And both, just so it’s clear, feature the same woman, Lara Croft, the lady herself.
But if fan reactions from different gaming websites and forums are anything to go by, one of these Lara Crofts is obviously a woman, and the other, the one to the left…a little less so.
Being that the left image was the artwork used for the GI unveiling of Lara, it was the first to be scrutinized by long-time Tomb Raider fans and detractors alike. Responses have ranged from Lara looking “too manly,” “androgynous,” “like a little boy,” to — gasp! — “too much like Justin Bieber.”
Why so? Her facial features, they point out. Compared side-by-side to the later-released image to the right (image above), a few things do stand out. So how is it that one supposedly looks more feminine and the other more “masculine”? Here’s an image (courtesy of Despera, embiggable here) to illustrate:
By switching the lower half of both Lara’s faces, it is noticeable that the artwork used for the GI cover (as she is identified from her eyes up) appears more delicate and feminine, while the originally less dirty Lara looks to have stronger features.
Stronger features, observably, are defined by two things: first, the (illusion of a) more defined jawline (as opposed to the other’s smoother, more rounded one), and second, the slightly bigger nose (see difference in nostrils and angle of nose).
And granted these observations are not merely illusions created by Lara’s different conditions in the images, do stronger features necessarily mean “androgynous” and “manly” for a woman like Lara?
Quick answer: No.
So as an answer to the question of whether we do like the rebooted Croft: Yes, we do. But that is only basing on the Game Informer cover artwork specifically. Looks-wise, we say she’s a winner. And we’d be the first ones to jump on Crystal D if they gave Lara a tad too much dose of testosterone thereby making her look “like Justin Bieber,” or a little boy, so to speak.
But they didn’t. The new Lara Croft looks strong but not androgynous, battered but not manly.
And to be honest, we’re not even sure whether to credit Crystal Dynamics for the specific image we speak of which we also oh-so love. As per Meagan Marie, writer of the cover story for GI’s Tomb Raider issue, Visual Works, the Square Enix CG company behind the Final Fantasy FMVs, “fleshed out the cover” look of Lara.
We aren’t sure to what extent CD originally visualized Lara to have the strong features we highlighted earlier. Or was the image the result of close coordination between the East-West teams?
Whichever the case may be, we’re hoping the (generally) well-received cover look of Lara will translate seamlessly to her character in-game. And not as oddly questionable as the different looks of the first two new images of the lady.
Eyes on you, CD.
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