'When you see it play out and experience it, it actually feels really strong and is a very big character developer.'
Crystal Dynamics' global brand director Karl Stewart has responded to concerns over comments made by Tomb Raider's executive producer Ron Rosenberg, saying that his colleague "misspoke", and that talk over the game's controversial 'rape' scene was "unfortunate".
Speaking to VideoGamer.com, Stewart apologised for the comments, saying that Rosenberg "said things that he probably shouldn't have said".
"That was Ron's personal opinion," said Stewart.
"You know, he said things that he probably shouldn't have said. He certainly misspoke rather than being misquoted."
Stewart later added: "I think the unfortunate side is that, on our behalf, obviously we misspoke and said something we shouldn't have which sparked it. But probably 90 per cent of the people who reported on it didn't actually see the game and haven't seen the code, and they're talking about something they are only hearing from third or second-hand sources.
"I think it's unfortunate that it got so much exposure for something that, when you see it play out and experience it, it actually feels really strong and is a very big character developer."
During an E3 presentation, Rosenberg told Kotaku that lead character Lara Croft would be "literally turned into a cornered animal". Kotaku also claims that Rosenberg told them that the game's "scavengers will try to rape her".
However, Stewart clarified that such an event does not take place.
"All that happens is that he strangles her, or instead of her shooting him in the head, he shoots her in the head," he continued. "That's exactly what happens. I think people jump on the whole notion of, 'oh my God, she could be raped'. Come on, we're an M-rated game and that's the realism of survival. But in this day and age there's no way you'd ever push anything as far as that."
However, Stewart thinks that games "definitely" could handle such mature themes in the future, as long as it "immerses [players] a little bit deeper into the world".
"Up until that word was said and that interview came out, we'd won game of show and we'd had some of the best previews we'd ever had for a video game at the company," he continued.
"People really felt something very emotional and deep about the scene, so I believe we can definitely get there and have people feel like that's an emotion that needs to be... Not necessarily that particular emotion but just a range of emotions that can be accepted in video games that people feel immerses them a little bit deeper into the world and tells them another angle of the story."
Rosenberg's comments sparked controversy across the media following the article's publication, forcing Crystal Dynamics to publish a statement stating that "sexual assault of any kind is categorically not a theme that we cover in this game."