Crystal Dynamics knows the value of a clean slate; just look at the developer’s upcoming reboot Tomb Raider. Due out in March of 2013, the game strips the character of Lara Croft down to her very core, becoming a journey of self discovery for the once-firebrand protagonist. It deserts her on a desolate, long-forsaken island, turning what would have been a glorified treasure hunt in previous games into a bare-bones fight for survival. Submachine guns got the job done before; bows have become the survival tool du jour.
That fresh perspective – its impact on creativity and the opportunities for new innovation – is one the developer plans to keep in the next generation.
According to a Crystal Dynamics job listing, work is underway on a brand-new IP for future consoles – which, by most estimations, are due out in late 2013 from Sony and Microsoft. Updated now to petition for a candidate who can “spec out improvements to existing tools and develop bleeding edge new tools as required,” the post was spotted in its original form by PlayStation Universe, where it promised that the applicant would collaborate with “a talented game team to develop and iterate on next-gen animation systems.” Don’t expect a Tomb Raider port or a rapid-fire sequel; the initial listing also called the project “a cutting edge, original IP for future platforms.”
Crystal Dynamics has remained tight-lipped on the posting and its outed plans, restraining from offering a title, details, or the game’s expected release date. They did, however, allude to the tone of project in their latest Crystal Habit podcast.
Executive producer Scot Amos was reminiscing on the reservoir of IP’s Crystal has at their disposal alongside parent company Square Enix (Tomb Raider being the latest example), and the conversation tactically shifted into what’s next. Without divulging specifics, he mentioned that the console realm will be grounds for a new start, a “blank page”:
“But saying, we have all these great IP, now is a great time, looking at what’s coming in the future, what’s coming up in the console space, what’s going to be happening next. Let’s start now, with a blank page.
“We take that kind of bold step of, let’s make something new, something where we don’t already have a finger in that particular pool, and let’s try, from scratch, to make a new game with all of our abilities and skills. What would be a new great experience for our future?”
Interestingly, while “finding a new pool to dip their finger in” might rule out the reboot of Soul Reaver that we caught possible word of this March, Amos proceeded to attach ex-God of War II director Cory Barlog, who was hired by CD earlier this year, to “a completely different IP,” a gesture that should bolster hopes even more for fans of the Legacy of Kain series’ second installment.
Crystal Dynamics took a dramatic leap of faith in rebooting Tomb Raider with a new, humbled Lara and her resourceful approach to combat. If all goes well, the game should provide a framework for the series in the next generation that, when paired with an equally ambitious and entertaining new franchise (and Soul Reaver), might just prove that the 20-year-old studio is ready to flourish.
Ranters, what do you think Crystal Dynamics should develop for a brand-new IP? Should they stick to their action adventure roots or branch out to a separate genre?
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