This next sentence is a question about the viability of a character so fundamentally defined by their connection to historically bad shit, not a condemnation of Dia Lacina as a critic, a writer, or a person: COULD there ever be a Lara Croft game (that isn’t just “now she’s a secret agent instead of an archaeologist”) that Dia would sign off on?
In other words, anything short of a complete reversal of the character (e.g. Lara gives up archaeology entirely and devotes her time and fortune on returning all the artifacts in the Croft family manor) is unavoidably a half-step. There are a lot of ways that it sounds like this game dropped the ball, but even if it had handled everything perfectly, she’s still a tomb raider. After all is said and done, no matter how much Lara learns about the value of respecting and protecting indigenous cultures, she’s still going to end up with a ton of other people’s dead relatives stuff on her shelves. As Rob puts it in the part of the podcast I’ve listened to so far, “the track-lighting denotes reverence.”
So again, I don’t ask this to say “Dia is wrong”, I ask it to say “I don’t know if Lara can be right” - Is it even possible to have a story with a character like Lara as its protagonist tackling issues of colonialism in a way that would survive the scrutiny of someone as rightfully critical as Dia? Or would “having it both ways” (Lara Croft is a good person AND ‘the Tomb Raider’) a losing proposition from the start?
Lastly, I’m kind of curious if it would have been better if they’d taken the opposite approach to this game. Like, if instead of saying “yeah, she’s robbed a lot of graves, but she’s real sorry about it now~~”, they just said “this isn’t the first time she’s taken an amulet off of a skeleton and it sure as fuck won’t be the last. It sucks, but so does she *shrugs*”
Edit: An example of the “yeah it sucks, but it is what it is” might be how (as far as I know), the Hitman games never really even bother trying to portray 47 as a good, redeemable person. He murders people and he’s very good at it and he doesn’t feel bad about it. He usually is killing people who are also very bad, but any attempt to portray 47 as heroic or noble would be pointless.