Since the early days of the Sony PlayStation, one video game character has been a walking embodiment of platforming exploration, and a dedication to archeology that would rival Indiana Jones. That character is Lara Croft, the millionaire heiress with a taste for danger. In recent years, Naughty Dog has usurped the role once held by Lady Croft, bringing the platforming and combat into a new age of cinematic storytelling and gameplay with the Uncharted franchise, led by Nathan Drake.
Not to be outdone, the developers at Crystal Dynamics have set their sights on console superstardom, leaving their fresh and satisfying downloadable title behind them. In their eyes, Lara still remains as unique and grounded an adventurer today as she was a decade ago, and they mean to prove it with a cinematic epic of their own. The latest images released exclusively to Game Informer show that with the upcoming reboot Tomb Raider, Lara Croft is making a play for the top spot in a big way.
When Square Enix first announced that their mystery project advertised under the phrase "A Survivor is Born" was in fact a Tomb Raider reboot, the development team at Crystal Dynamics made it clear that this game would be completely different from anything fans had seen before. Rather than yet another installment in the series, Tomb Raider would be an origin story that introduced a brand new Lara Croft. The player wouldn't be taking Lara on an adventure for lost treasure, but doing whatever was necessary for Lara to survive after being shipwrecked as a young woman.
The goal for the reboot is to take the Lara that fans have grown to love, and bring her back down to reality, grounding her in the real world. The early looks at the game mirrored the developer sentiment that Lara would earn her stripes in this game, taking a beating while handing out visceral punishment on her enemies; the island's indigenous population.
Now the latest batch of images released show just how dark and grim an atmosphere the team is going for, and just how much damage Lara will take in her quest for survival. The images not only show the game's environments, but a few glimpses at how the controls will interact with the game's cinematic presentation.
Heavy Rain and Uncharted are both notable for their way of streamlining player inputs without making the game seem like a series of quicktime events, and the same system seems to be at work in the screenshots. Forget concept drawings, we finally have a glimpse at how the game will look and feel when it hits consoles sometime before 2013, and how the cinematic interfaces will appear in action:
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There's no denying that the game looks gorgeous, and from Lara's appearance it's obvious how grounded in reality the game will be. It's odd to think of Lara Croft as battered, bruised, and bloodied, but in the images above it seems to fit the scene perfectly. Here's hoping that it's a sign of how well the overall concepts will come together in the end product.
Fans are obviously in for a change, and Xbox 360 and PC gamers can apparently look forward to a cinematic action game on par with the Uncharted series. Tomb Raider still doesn't have a release date, so keep an eye on how close it comes to the launch of Uncharted 3. There's no question that the games will rival one another in the future, but an all-out battle would be a lot for the new Lara to handle.
What do you think of these latest images? Do you dig the way the player control prompts and indicators are worked into the cinematic feel of the game, or would you rather Tomb Raider try to distance itself from its competition?
We'll find out if the newest Lara has a chance at surviving when Tomb Raider is released, and since no launch date has been given, all we know is that it can't come soon enough.
Source: Game Informer