Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics says players will want to "protect" Lara Croft as she faces harrowing challenges in its more mature take on the series, which according to reports is set to feature some pretty dark material.
The new game, which was confirmed for a 2013 release date last week, tries to show a more human side of Lara as she's beaten and kidnapped, exec producer Ron Rosenberg told Kotaku, and finally in one scene, he said, scavengers will try to rape her.
"She is literally turned into a cornered animal," Rosenberg explained. "It's a huge step in her evolution: she's forced to either fight back or die."
It's pretty dark stuff, but Rosenberg says he's not worried about offending players, as he sees Tomb Raider's "more mature" feel as akin to a Spider-Man or Batman comic.
"We're not trying to be over the top, shock people for shock's sake," he said. "We're trying to tell a great origin story."
The producer said he doesn't think players want to "project themselves" onto the character of Lara Croft, but rather act as a guide and "protect" her.
"When people play Lara, they don't really project themselves into the character. They're more like 'I want to protect her.' There's this sort of dynamic of 'I'm going to this adventure with her and trying to protect her'," he said.
"When you see her have to face these challenges, you start to root for her in a way that you might not root for a male character."
This Lara feels more human, more real, he said - and that's intentional.
"The ability to see her as a human is even more enticing to me than the more sexualized version of yesteryear. She literally goes from zero to hero... we're sort of building her up and just when she gets confident, we break her down again."