Modern games aren’t just a source of enjoyment; they are an entire experience. We have, recently, seen some seemingly dying series resurrected to gain the glory and fame they once had, such as the Mortal Kombat, thanks to the latest installment in the series.
The next franchise in line to get the reboot treatment is Tomb Raider. Developers plan to change the whole experience of a Tomb Raider game with next installment – or should I say, the next complete makeover of this once highly loved franchise.
It’s no secret that the Tomb Raider series had gotten stale over the years, but Crystal Dynamics is promising to revamp the whole experience with the new Tomb Raider 2011. The developers are claiming that they aren’t simply looking to reboot the franchise, they are planning to change the way people look at Lara, and how she looks at her entire world.
That doesn’t mean they’ll cut away the curves from her body that made her as appealing as she was, it means we’ll be seeing a Lara fresh out of college, so she’ll have what goes with a woman straight out of college. That also means she’ll be delicate – both physically and personality-wise – and players will gradually see her skills and personality toughen and mature as the game progresses.
Though not much is known about her new adventure, there is indication that it has to do regarding the construction of her tough personality that was otherwise the standard in the previous Tomb Raider games.
The game is set in an island off the coast of Japan, much like the one King Kong used to live in and which Lara ended up on, thanks to a storm that hit the ship she was boarded on, and that is where we get acquainted to a totally new, believable Lara Croft.
Accompanying her in this quest is Conrad Roth, the captain of the ship (ironically called The Endurance).
That may sound just like any other typical Tomb Raider game, but what’s different is how Lara interacts with the world.
There will be much more survival sequences in the game and Lara won’t be coming scratch-less out of every dire situation she faces.
We’ll be seeing a lot of survival gameplay with puzzles. From what we’ve learnt, the game has quite a resemblance to the Uncharted series, which, seeing how well received the series is, is a very positive aspect.
But that doesn’t mean the entire game will be made of tons and tons of survival puzzles and interactive gameplay; there is lots of classic Tomb Raider involved, though with a slightly newer approach that makes it more than just plain shooting and acrobats.
There will be quite a few Quick Time events, and whether that is a good or bad thing depends on how smart Crystal Dynamic is in integrating them.
Additionally, Lara also has her own ‘special abilities’, such as a certain thing called Survival Instincts, which highlights usable objects or vital information occupying her surroundings. Though I personally am not a fan of object highlights in a game, for Lara it seems to work out well, given the dense environment she’s been tossed in.
Speaking of environment and density, looking at some of the scenery and surroundings, it can be safely said that the graphics will at least satisfy the modern day standards, if not surpass them. We’ll be awaiting some more details regarding the graphics later on, as for now the game is still in early development – perhaps the alpha stage.
As mentioned earlier, the focus of the developers has been on trying to create an unseen version of Lara. The game basically tells the origins story that makes Lara the way she was. That means she’ll be going through lots of physical and emotional torture in order to survive and become THE Lara… ‘how sadistic of the developers’.
Jokes aside, Lara’s initial approach to her abilities won’t be a confident one, as she’ll tremble, stumble, and struggle while doing what were otherwise regular things for her, such as climbing, leaping and surviving long falls to the ground. In short, she’s no longer a super-human; we get to see the delicacy and hesitance that would be observed in any rookie adventurer.
The developers believe that the harsh environment is perfect for the story and development of Lara’s personality. The stuck-on-an-island scenario, according to Crystal Dynamics, is perfect for stripping the character of Lara (not in that sense… though it would be a great feature!) right down to what rigorous survival means. The island will be alive, having a personality of its own that will transform Lara into the famed bad-ass chick she always has been.
The developers are also contended to make the whole gameplay a narrator of the story itself; rather than players relying exclusively on cut scenes for the story-telling, the gameplay will also be gradually unwinding the plot of the game.
More importantly, the gradual transformation of Lara throughout the whole game is also an integral part of the story. You won’t start off as a bad-ass – or as a wimp – and stay the same throughout the entire game.
The game is still in a very early development stage, but looking at the confidence and contention with which it is being worked on, we definitely feel that this attempt to reboot the Tomb Raider franchise won’t be in vain.
The game is still yet to get a proper, formal release date, but it is evident that a 2011 release goal has been set. Don’t know about you, I can’t wait to play as a younger, more feminine version of Lara.