Over the last 4+ years I’ve noticed that the divide on Sam in the vast majority of cases mirrors the divide on Reboot!Lara; those who love this new incarnation of Miss Croft generally like Sam as well, while those who mourn for a return of Classic!Lara generally loathe Sam.
What gets me is that the 2013 Reboot was universally hailed as a triumph in gameplay, storytelling and female agency. For once, CD took a real risk, and it paid off beautifully in the most successful game of the franchise to that point.
It’s because of that success that their subsequent aversion to continue along that path confounds me. They had two strong, central female characters, much like the later Uncharted: The Lost Legacy game, and they received accolades for what was, to that point, an all-too-rare depiction of female agency.
And now, 4 years later, it’s like they’re terrified of dipping into that rarefied well again.
A statement they once made tells the story for me: they mentioned they didn’t want to address the issue of the Sam/Lara relationship, as that way “everyone could relate to Lara”, or words to that effect — which is total BS.
People can relate to her for any of a thousand qualities. Putting her in a gay relationship would lose some of the more vitriolic and homophobic “fans”, but would bring in so many more to the franchise, and make TR a truly significant social force in the gaming world — and Sam would be a huge part of that.
Some fans of the reboot hate Sam too, but I guess homophobic people are everywhere.
It looks like SE and CD are going backward now, trying to please everyone with a mix of old and new Lara but if you look at other games like Resident Evil, they were never able to please old fans and new ones and ended up making a mess. The Reboot was a success, why do they feel the need to change everything, change the continuity of their own story, act like Lara from TR2013 never really existed?
I understand that Lara can’t always go on adventure with people by her side, but she can come home to them, and still have love in her life, she doesn’t have to turn back this Sara Connor version of herself, where love is forbidden. I’m not saying she needs a girlfriend to be accomplished, but you at least friends, a life aside from her work, something to look forward to that isn’t the next Tomb of what’s his name.
Here’s a part of Amelia’s letter to Lara “You become who you are through your choices, through the love you give and promises you keep. I hope you are happy, that you are loved and successful in whatever it is you choose to do. I am proud of you, my darling.”
For me she’s telling her to be an accomplished woman, but also that she doesn’t have to be alone.
Sam just gets Lara, like no one else does, she is the one that keeps Lara grounded. They are a team and although I’m not a fan of saying someone isn’t complete without their soulmates, I do believe Lara is at her best when Sam is around.
Sam deserves better than the treatment she got, and her relationship with Lara too. Something so strong can’t just turn into ashes. Lara has to make her way back to Sam, once she forgives herself, and Sam will welcome her, arms open, and they will heal together. They are the new Richard and Amelia Croft, they balance each other.
To conclude, I’ll quote Amelia Croft: “Love can, and will, endure.”