The latest issue of Game Informer has been sent out, and with it the first exclusive details for the series reboot of Tomb Raider. Crystal Dynamics is redesigning the franchise from the ground up, starting with the franchise icon — Lara Croft. New details about the game’s story, setting and gameplay mechanics were also revealed, and needless to say it sounds like Tomb Raider might seriously be back and better than ever.
First, and probably most important, is the redesign of Lara Croft. Redesigning one of the most iconic protagonists in gaming history isn’t a decision to make lightly, but it sounds like Crystal Dynamics is doing it for all the right reasons. That reason, of course, is because old Lara is not a human being. She was the manifestation of female empowerment and sexuality, but also diminished into objectification. In the past, amidst the majority of male leads, that sort of blunt female representation might have been necessary, but not anymore.
Brian Horton, Senior Art Director at Crystal Dynamics, expounded on what kind of character Lara Croft needed to be for the new Tomb Raider:
“We wanted to make a girl that felt familiar, but still had a special quality about her. Something about the way her eyes look and the expression on her face thatmake you want to care for her. That was our number one goal. We wanted to have empathy for Lara, and at the same time show the inner strength that made clear she was going to become a hero.”
Possibly the most noticeable changes will be how Lara’s sexuality will be toned down. Here Horton discusses how they want Lara’s beauty to shine through:
“… we don’t want to play of sexuality for sexuality’s sake.” … “…toughness through adverse conditions, with a beauty and vulnerability showing through. That is sexy in its own way.”
Specifically, in Lara’s redesign Crystal Dynamics kept aspects of old Lara that were both realistic and fit with their plan of making Lara relatable. The “M” shape of her lip, the brunette hair, the ponytail, and the spacial relationship between her mouth, nose and eyes. After deciding to keep those small remnants, everything else went out the window with the kitchen sink. Lara’s face is now rounder, rather than the sharpness and hard features of old Lara. Then, of course, her elongated legs and accentuated curves were remeasured to appropriate and realistic lengths.
Even Lara’s typically revealing clothing wasn’t safe from the axe. Now she’s sporting layered tank tops, cargo pants and boots, not to mention a plethora of makeshift tourniquets. Like Nathan Drake, Lara is likely to get the living $%#! beaten out of her during the game.
Ah! That’s right, there’s a game to be discussed as well. The short story is that the similarities with Nathan Drake don’t stop here. It sounds like Tomb Raider is aiming to recreate the cinematic, high paced adventure that Uncharted has so masterfully done. Gone are the dual wielding pistols of yore (though Lara is said to find a box, pistol and shotgun during her adventure), as Lara will find herself with no weapons at all as her journey begins.
And what a beginning it will be. A 21 year old Lara, fresh out of academy, has joined an expedition to find lost artifacts off the coast of Japan. Her boat, the Endurance, naturally wrecks during a storm and Lara finds herself upon a mysterious island fighting for her survival. The island is of course populated with a dangerous indigenous people, who live off a multitude of wrecked crafts, some dating back hundreds of years. There’s something wrong with this island.
The brief gameplay details discussed mirror Uncharted‘s action. Lots of player-controlled, cinematic running mixed with quick time events; seemingly innocent puzzles that often go awry at the last second; but also some survival mechanics that require the acquisition of supplies.
Tomb Raider could certainly have chosen a worse game to mirror than Uncharted, but until we see the game in motion it’s hard to say whether it can compare. Is Crystal Dynamics on the same tier as Naughty Dog? Time will tell.
What do you think of the changes made to the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot, Ranters? Does the game sound like it has promise, or do you think Crystal Dynamics should have stuck with the tried and true formula that made Tomb Raider famous in the first place? Stick with Game Rant for more Tomb Raider news as it hits.