While plenty of gamers might have been initially skeptical, the Tomb Raider reboot is quickly becoming one of 2012's most anticipated games. Lara Croft is without a doubt one of video games' most recognizable (and sexy) icons but, over the course of numerous installments, players have never exactly been privy to what makes the treasure-seeking adventurer tick.
That is expected to change with the upcoming reboot from Crystal Dynamics - at least if recent comments from Karl Stewart, Crystal Dynamics' global brand manager, are to be believed.
In a question and answer session hosted on the Eidos forums, Stewart addressed a number of fan queries on topics ranging from gameplay and climbing mechanics, behind the scenes footage, enemy types, to whether or not Lara will be searching for a mysterious artifact. Stewart drops a lot of information - so it's definitely worth checking out the full Q and A; however, we've pulled out some of the more interesting tidbits and discussed them below.
As for what players can expect from the combat system, Stewart indicates that the Tomb Raider reboot will feature multiple approaches to situations using "melee, ranged, and stealth interactions" - but that fans will have to wait until E3 2012 for a full-on demonstration. Similarly, the climbing mechanics, obviously a big part of any Tomb Raider game will "feel organic and natural" - instead of, as Stewart puts it, "white ledges" that "scream" at the player. As a result, it's easy to imagine the new Tomb Raider will follow a lot of the same cues as fellow adventurer series Uncharted - with a heavy emphasis on cinematic story-telling as well as run, gun, and climb action.
As far as enemies, Stewart wasn't ready to spill too many details, "There are plenty of people on the island, and lots of diversity in your encounters." However, whether or not those encounters will be supernatural (as happens to be the case in a lot of Tomb Raider games) or not appears to be up in the air as well, "Lara has landed on an island that is shrouded in mystery, so obviously we want her to uncover that mystery." That said, as was evidenced by the 2011 E3 demo for the game, players should expect a much more grounded adventure with Lara - one that, fundamentally, sets the iconic heroine up with a primary task - according to Stewart, "first and foremost she has to survive."
Given the "survival instincts" mechanic that we saw in our eyes-on preview of Tomb Raider back at E3 - as well as the gritty and downright brutal tone of the unveiled footage, it's easy to see that Crystal Dynamics is poised to make Lara less of the campy, high-flying, adventurer gamers have known throughout the years. Instead, expect the series to be much more grounded and character-focused - as evidenced by the recent marketing partnership with Geocaching. That said, don't expect the developer to convolute things with a love interest at this point - just to make Lara more human, "Surviving the situation is all she can cope with right now," Stewart claims, "surviving a relationship would be a bit tough."
Tomb Raider is slated for a Q3 2012 release on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates.