In the just released trailer for the next Tomb Raider game, in which Lara Croft is transformed from a lone spelunker into an action figure pin cushion, Lara is shown killing a deer with a bow and arrow. The sequence appears to fit in between hyperbolic action set pieces, which has Lara creeping through a jungle, scavenging food to stay alive.
Games like Fallout: New Vegas, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have all had players killing animals in exchange for some health-restoring meat. Tomb Raider's deer slaughter reveals a strange sense of overkill in this variation on the health potion. There's enough meat in a single goat to feed 50 or more people (when I lived in Madagascar several years ago, the butcher in my village of 3,000 people killed two a day to sell its meat in the market).
To see Lara killing an entire deer to extract one steak seems perversely unnecessary. She could surely live for a month or longer on the meat harvested from one dead deer. According to Buthcher & Packer, a meat processing supply website, a mature buck yields about 40% of its total body weight in usable meat. An average Northern doe weighs 120 pounds, which should yield almost 50 pounds of usable meat.
50 pounds of meat doesn't simply come out of an animal in pre-packaged servings. Turning a living animal into something you can eat is a long, time-consuming process that involves scalding the skin with boiling water, pulling out and cleaning its organs, skinning the hide, and carving off limbs. It's common for movies to gloss over complicated but not especially interesting acts for exigency, but videogames have the opportunity to make all of these actions dramatic interactive metaphors.
Instead most games gloss them over with the same superficial simplicity of cinema, yielding a steak as reward for simply pressing a button. Shouldn't there be some reasonable middle ground between insta-beef and a 6 hour detour into a butcher simulation?
[via Slash Gear]