'Rise of the Tomb Raider' Will Feature Animal Guardians and a Diverse Setting

Most Anticipated 2015 - Rise of the Tomb Raider

As a reboot of an iconic gaming franchise, 2013's Tomb Raider was well-received as players appreciated how good the game's island setting of Yamatai looked and the way Lara grew from wide-eyed and vulnerable to hardened and brave; the way an origins game should be. But Tomb Raider wasn't perfect and many fans of the series lamented the lack of tombs that could be raided, as well as boss battles that felt shoe-horned in.

So with the sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, developer Crystal Dynamics had some even bigger hopes to live up to as they aim to make up for past missteps. That task was made somewhat more difficult when fans voiced opposition to the game's release plans as instead of coming to PC, PlayStation and Xbox platforms as expected. Rise of the Tomb Raider will now be a timed exclusive on Xbox One and Xbox 360 and the game is set to be published by Microsoft, not Square Enix who published the previous Tomb Raider title.

While both Microsoft and Square Enix have reiterated several times that the exclusivity deal is a timed one (i.e that Rise of the Tomb Raider will be released on PC and PlayStation eventually), some fans are still unhappy. But as part of ongoing coverage by Game Informer, Crystal Dynamics has been sharing tidbits about the game and a new video interview with Game Director Brian Horton could provide fans on all platforms more reasons to get excited.

Rise of the Tomb Raider Game Informer Cover

First and foremost, Horton continued to promise that Rise of the Tomb Raider will indeed have much more of a focus on tombs than the last game. But these won't just be your standard tombs filled with puzzles; actual entry to these tombs will be blocked off by animal guardians (such as the bear pictured above) that Lara will have to fight off. Horton says that Rise of the Tomb Raider's animals will all be grounded in reality (despite the immortality storyline at the heart of the game) but they won't be any less menacing and players may find themselves having to leave and come back with better equipment to be able to defeat them.

Also on the topic of animals, Horton explained that the game would feature an ecosystem of sorts. The previous Tomb Raider game was quite big on hunting as that helped players gather materials and XP and this will be carried on into Rise of the Tomb Raider too. The slight twist here is that the game will feature a day and night cycle, with certain animals (such as an alpha wolf) that only come out at specific times and places. Furthermore, we'll now be able to track animals using the game's snowy Siberian climes to look for animal footprints. Snow will fall and cover up those tracks if we're not quick enough to spot them, so hunting should provide a real challenge.

However, while Crystal Dynamics is very proud of its snow technology, Horton also hinted at not so chilly locations too. In the video, he explains:

"There’s a bubble of the world that seems to exist outside Siberia. We call it the oasis. It isn’t completely permafrost. This oasis, which we’re not going into a lot of detail about – just now that different weather, different temperatures are important to make sure we’re not going with one single look throughout the whole game.”

That's all that he's revealed so far – most likely because it ties into Rise of the Tomb Raider's plot and the hunt for the mythical city of Kitezh – but he did at least elaborate further on how Lara will traverse the environment. Horton says that they are building upon the icepick upgrades of the last game (as players progressed, Lara could climb trickier surfaces) and now there will be all manner of upgrades, including more upgrades to Lara's bow as well as multiple bows to choose from.

Do these announced features make you any more excited for Rise of the Tomb Raider? Are you still unhappy with the exclusivity plans?

Rise of the Tomb Raider will be released later this year for Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Source: Game Informer

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