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Rise of the Tomb Raider Will Feature Complex Facial Animations and Reaction to Environments

The Lara Croft we’ll see Rise of the Tomb Raider is going to be more mature and stronger, due to what she went through in Yamatai.

Developers are doing their best to rework Lara’s character model in a way that it will express her emotions without the need of a verbal communication. Work is being done on her facial animation as well and developers “completely rewrote facial animation pipeline to be a blend-shape based system.

This will help them create complex animations for Lara, “adding not only the broad shape, but also the wrinkles and the small details.

According to Brian Horton:

we are using a newer technology where you can have thousands of points and data on her face; they get translated through the system and onto our model. So, subtlety and expression, whether it be her concern, or her pain, or her joy, or her distrust…all those things, those non-verbal expressions, we can now read them on the character.

Moreover, in Rise of the Tomb Raider Lara Croft will react to environments around her. We first noticed this when we saw the gameplay footage during Microsoft’s E3 press-conference. Lara was walking out of a mountain cave and used a wall to balance herself.

Lara will also struggle to walk in the snow and her reactions and facial expressions in such situations will add a new level of realism and believability in Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Brian Horton explained:

…we’ve tried to make sure that her body and animation respond to the environment, for instance in some of the footage you saw Lara walking through very deep snow, and she is straining to get through the snow. We call this “a living Lara.” Lara reacts to the world around her, so – if she’s near a wall, she will touch it – she’s in deep snow, she will struggle against it. These things are important to make Lara feel connected with the environment, as we can make her. That is a number one goal, always: to make sure Lara feels real and believable, and that goes especially to her integration to the world.

Rise of the Tomb Raider will release later this year on Xbox One.