There’s no denying Tomb Raider 2013 was a top-of-the-class title. With its intuitive controls, fun puzzling and expansive setting, Lara’s rugged reboot deserved better than its struggle in the sales charts. Despite garnering plenty of critical acclaim, the game’s initial outing – for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 – managed to miss the mark at retail, an unfortunate, unexpected result that may have placed the future of the franchise in peril. It sold strong, but didn’t meet Square Enix’s very high expectations.
Fortunately, for fans of the brand, work is already underway on a next-gen followup, though Square Enix will likely be keeping a keen eye on the game’s 8th-gen test-run, the soon-to-be-released Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. Launching for Xbox One and PS4 later this month, the enhanced title provides access to all of the game’s original and downloadable content — including 8 multiplayer maps, numerous new weapons, an assortment of in-game skins, and a single-player puzzle room known as ‘The Tomb of the Lost Adventurer.’
To celebrate the game’s impending re-release, developer Crystal Dynamics has unveiled an all-new video diary, detailing its ‘definitive’ vision for Lara. Given the importance of the character to the series, the studio is sparing no effort in its attempts to realize an even more realistic Miss Croft. Upgrades range from a wholly rebuilt facial structure, featuring 5x the graphical density to a custom-built physics system just for Lara’s hair.
Lighting also plays a major part in the overhaul, with skin and weather effects becoming ever more noticeable as Lara progresses, sustains injury and interacts with different environments. Improvements to weapon physics also promise to do away with those jarring moments of clipping that pervaded Lara’s ‘current—gen’ adventures.
Sadly, for fans of Lara’s 7th gen look, the video illustrates just how far a graphical upgrade can go towards altering the subtleties of appearance. Like the upcoming Final Fantasy X/ X-2 HD set, the title’s in-game models appear to be somehow different or comparatively “off,” though next-gen players are unlikely to notice or care.
Are you planning on picking up this new and improved port? Will Lara’s latest outing sell well enough to justify Square’s faith in the series? How might the franchise expand out from here? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest Tomb Raider news, right here on Game Rant.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition releases January 28, 2014 (North America) / January 31, 2014 (Europe) for Xbox One and PS4.
Follow Sam on Twitter @GamingGoo.