The younger, less cartoonishly-proportioned Lara Croft has been described by Ubisoft executives as someone you "want to protect", and whom gamers will identify with on an emotional level as she escapes an attempted rape on her journey to becoming the hardened raider we know from earlier versions of the franchise.
But for gamers just looking for a good old-fashioned jiggle show, Lollipop Chainsaw just hit the market. Only instead of jiggly cleavage, the developers have evolved the genre to include mostly crotch shots of the foulmouthed, cheerleading heroine Juliet Starling, if the trailers are any indication.
Does this mean that in ten years, we’ll have a evolved version of Starling who wears sensible slacks and replaces her eponymous lollipop with a Luna bar while decimating zombie throngs with a chainsaw? No, because one hopes by that time that we’re all over the whole zombie thing, which - especially after the events of the past few weeks - is getting really old. And as long as there are pubescent boys (and girls) powered by hormones and Mountain Dew, and with disposable income to spend on games, there will be characters like Croft and Starling.
Such characters are, at worst, an insult to women and a violation of decades of feminist advancement. At best, they are fun, benign action figures. Somewhere in between, they are mildly annoying to women like myself who have little interest in either upskirts of pretend cheerleaders or zombies. I suspect that many of my peers feel similarly.
It remains to be seen, however, if the sentiment is widespread enough to drive the success of Magic Mike.