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Tomb Raider Q&A: Searching for Lara Croft

Simon Bramble's Avatar + Posted by Simon Bramble on Jun 24, 2011 // Content Producer, SCEE

Earlier this week I posted an interview with the guys from IO Interactive about Hitman: Absolution. Well, Agent 47 isn’t the only Eidos game star returning to consoles – Lara Croft is also returning (albeit from a shorter absence) in a completely new Tomb Raider that takes the series in a grittier new direction. I recently caught up with Noah Hughes, creative director Crystal Dynamics, to explore this new adventure.

Tomb Raider for PS3

How does it feel to be bringing Lara back in an all-new take on the Tomb Raider series?

Noah Hughes: It’s an honor to be able to not only work with Lara Croft and Tomb Raider, but also to be able to reboot the franchise. I’ve been at developer Crystal Dynamics for a while now, and we’ve had the pleasure of making a few games starring Lara. We’ve learned a lot. To be able to distill everything we want to do with the franchise into an entirely fresh take is inspiring.

So it’s a totally new direction for the series?

NH: It is. It’s a reboot and not directly related to the timeline of Lara as such, but it will touch on familiar elements of her character. You’ll see her grow into the hero figure that fans know and love.

Is it going to reference the events of past games at all?

NH: It starts a whole different timeline. There’s not necessarily an assumption it will connect directly to past events. We are projecting our own Lara, taking this origins story, recreating and her launching her off into a new adventure. We love catering to some of the fan favourites, but we’re not beholden to all of the story points within the series. We like playing with the signature Tomb Raider themes from this new angle.

Tomb Raider for PS3

I saw the use of an Instinct system in the game, similar to fellow Square Enix title Hitman: Absolution. Is that the result of sharing between studios?

NH: We actually share a lot of assets between studios. The guys at [Hitman: Absolution developer] IO Interactive are such a talented bunch. Having said that, the idea of the Lara’s intuition, this detective-like ability, is something we’ve admired in a number of games, but what’s important to us is the way fans play through this tale of survival. We’re really going to be selling this idea of Lara fighting and scraping through the unknown.

Who’s the resident physics genius responsible for the grand puzzle set pieces?

NH: One of the great things about working on a game of this size is that you attract people with all kinds of different backgrounds. These people then step up and become champions of various disciplines. The environmental challenges that we present and the physics of any given situation determine how you interact with the world.

Devising these puzzles is one of the more complex level design problems that we tackle, so it is something that we will not only get our best minds on, but iterate a lot – that means we’ll put something in, play with the system, try to figure out what the players would do and go from there.

Tomb Raider for PS3Tomb Raider for PS3

Is the climbing axe a tool Lara constantly has access to?

NH: Yes, that’s an example of one of our gear-ups. Lara gets a gear item and you’ll have that available to you for the rest of the game, along with whatever abilities that brings to the table. On the game design side of it, when we give you gear like that, it really is multifunctional. The obvious application of it is as a climbing aid, but there’s a heap of other uses for it besides.

So is Lara now a serious heroine, after the cartoonish adventures of the 90s?

NH: Rather than change her for change’s sake, we just decided to make her as real as we could. Everything then kind of came out of that – the character design, the story we were telling, the whole look of the game. We really tried to ground that in a human experience. That was the starting point.

You can see that once you start down the road of bringing her to life, it can influence so much of the rest of the game. So, yes, she is, but that was the result of the changes we made, not the cause.

Tomb Raider for PS3

How far did you push Lara’s pain threshold?

NH: Pain and hardship are what help forge Lara into this hero – I mean, she’s a fledgling archaeologist who becomes the Tomb Raider. There has to be some trial and tribulation! Ultimately the boundary was: what delivers that sense of survival at all costs, without being gratuitous?

Where did inspiration for this environment come from?

NH: What we try to do is trace our initial ideas back to their roots. The idea we keep coming back to is that of survival being a core human instinct. We want the history of a place or a situation to really hook you in and pull you through the story.

We also take inspiration from a number of real-world stories. You hear about these people who have gone through extraordinary situations and come out alive. Films like Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours are where we’ve been looking. That’s what we’re trying to capture, that core human spirit.

//Add Your Own

44 Comments

1

+ Korbei83 on June 24th, 2011 at 7:07 am said:

Very interested in this game. I’ve always thought Lara Croft deserved to be human.


2

+ Skater_Ricky on June 24th, 2011 at 7:10 am said:

Looks good can’t wait.


3

+ Stringer2355 on June 24th, 2011 at 7:21 am said:

Will it be playable in 3D ?


4

+ JakeRuiner on June 24th, 2011 at 7:21 am said:

I like what I’m reading here, great interview. Looks like we’ll be welcoming a new, more physically vulnerable Lara back into the gaming world.


5

+ MarinoBrea on June 24th, 2011 at 7:23 am said:

Lame port or built from the ground up on PS3? or could I put it like this, maybe…is this a true Next Generation Lara Croft , or is it a game that fits in one archaic DVD?


6

+ Tomm4118 on June 24th, 2011 at 7:25 am said:

You can’t go wrong with reinventing the franchise. I personally think this could be the start to a new and exciting chapter for our heroine. Can’t wait to see where you’re taking Lara in this adventure.


7

+ NeoPhantome on June 24th, 2011 at 7:25 am said:

I will definitely try this !!!!! :D


8

+ karellan69 on June 24th, 2011 at 7:43 am said:

You want a great Tomb Raider game? Easy. Take Uncharted (any of the three) and throw in Lara Croft as the main character. Done.

This Hitman version of Lara is bull.


9

+ ez_____ez_____ez on June 24th, 2011 at 7:51 am said:

Is there a release date?


10

+ egee22 on June 24th, 2011 at 8:03 am said:

Lara Croft my love :)


11

+ Shane_O on June 24th, 2011 at 8:07 am said:

I’ve never been that much into the Tomb Raider series, but this one looks compelling enough for me to take a serious look.
Any word on when we can see some PS3 gameplay footage?


12

+ firekyler on June 24th, 2011 at 8:16 am said:

epic


13

+ mcbuttz78 on June 24th, 2011 at 8:19 am said:

how many hours of gameplay are we looking at.? I hope a 5 hr game..

WIll this title push boundries within the lara croft franchise as whole, Also the platformer/adventure genre.

did you guys focus on lara croft tomb raider franchise or did you side track and try to do uncharted franchise is doing. Please be honest.??

ty for your time if you answer the question

Mcbuttz78
vp-psn legioniarre group


14

+ Heisem on June 24th, 2011 at 8:21 am said:

Tomb Raider got Unchartered and i like it


15

+ Alyyse on June 24th, 2011 at 8:21 am said:

cant wait to play it


16

+ The-Traveler on June 24th, 2011 at 8:25 am said:

Good reboot, have never really been into the older Croft games. This is very interesting, good job! game looks fantastic!


17

+ Cat_Corye on June 24th, 2011 at 8:27 am said:

This game looks awesome, never was a big fan of the games but I did enjoy them. Can’t wait for this one.


18

+ AguilarX on June 24th, 2011 at 8:32 am said:

i know uncharted was pretty much inspired by the tomb raider series, though they made it scary good and both games were goty contenders. but now its lara’s turn to look at what made uncharted successful and try to replicate its success. the only thing that hate based on the trailers was lara was so talkative. it got annoying. drake talks when he’s walking but not too much where you just want him to shut up.


19

+ Lugoves on June 24th, 2011 at 8:33 am said:

Really looking forward to the reboot!


20

+ ElChingon2588 on June 24th, 2011 at 8:34 am said:

Hope u aim with L1 and Shoot with R1


21

+ BanzaiHeil on June 24th, 2011 at 8:38 am said:

Looks and sounds great!

Maybe when it’s all said and done, consider doing Legacy of Kain next?


22

+ Akailos on June 24th, 2011 at 8:45 am said:

+ BanzaiHeil on June 24th, 2011 at 8:38 am said:

Looks and sounds great!

Maybe when it’s all said and done, consider doing Legacy of Kain next?

I agree with this, I would like to see this done with Legacy of Kain, it would be amazing


23

+ TheGuardianFID on June 24th, 2011 at 8:47 am said:

Long time TR fan, I have all of the games, I CAN’T WAIT to play this one, it looks FANTASTIC!!! 8)


24

+ Butters360 on June 24th, 2011 at 8:54 am said:

I’m really amazed by how good this reboot is shaping up. Love the direction that you are taking with Lara. Character driven story FTW!


25

+ Mukulu on June 24th, 2011 at 9:03 am said:

I like the knew direction they are taking.
I just hope this turns out great and unique enough not to feel like a cheap knock off of Uncharted…kinda like Dante’s Inferno was to God of War.


26

+ Mukulu on June 24th, 2011 at 9:04 am said:

…new direction…


27

+ KingLazy93 on June 24th, 2011 at 9:17 am said:

Game looks interesting, cant wait!


28

+ station3fever on June 24th, 2011 at 9:22 am said:

Who is going to be doing the soundtrack? Game music is very important, can you give us some info?

thanks simon


29

+ kingpogo on June 24th, 2011 at 9:24 am said:

I play the first tomb raider on my friends sega saturn is the main reason why i bought a psone and probably why i still support playstation is sad to see that it took them more then a decade to finally realize that lara croft is human drake from uncharted feels like that when you first get to control him toby gard and core design will always be in my heart i wish they had some type of role in this project since lara croft was their creation anyways i cant wait to see what they got in store for us in the next couple of months..


30

+ BlindMango on June 24th, 2011 at 9:48 am said:

This was probably my most favorite showing at E3, I really love what you guys are doing with this game and can’t wait to see more!


31

+ fijski8 on June 24th, 2011 at 9:55 am said:

Yes! This is the best game coming! Wish we could be clear on a window for a release date. Keeps changing from late 2011 to 2012 now. Any idea when?

And thanks PS blog for listening!!


32

+ jimmyfoxhound on June 24th, 2011 at 10:19 am said:

TOMB RAIDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just the name sets my fanboy heart a-flutter!! :D haha I can’t wait to play the new game!


33

+ lisatsunami on June 24th, 2011 at 11:17 am said:

I am very interested in rebooting the Tomb Raider franchise. I’m playing through the recent 3 game remaster & I like the mix of explore, climb, shoot, solve puzzles. Keep updating us on the progress, thanks!


34

+ Carl-G on June 24th, 2011 at 11:28 am said:

The way you showed this game at E3 i thought it was a Xbox 360 exclusive :D If i don’t have to wait for DLC(you know M$ get it first)for this game etc etc i might get it;)


35

+ metalboy921 on June 24th, 2011 at 11:37 am said:

@7, are you serious? You have a very narrow mind. Does this look one bit like a hitman game? Do your research before you speak.


36

+ nenehappy on June 24th, 2011 at 12:22 pm said:

the Tomb Raider Uncharted edition =D


37

+ FullMetalGear on June 24th, 2011 at 1:16 pm said:

I’m sure it’s just me but I’m disappointed it’s not 3D. Out of all the games I’ve played 3D, this one would do 3D justice. When a game shows good focus on objects/environment, 3D usually helps display that environment as more then just the background.

Regardless, I’m sure this game will do well.


38

+ rabidninjamonky on June 24th, 2011 at 1:51 pm said:

i love tomb raider, but I always get lost when playing them because of the huge environments. I hope you guys have a feature like dead space, where you click in the L3 and it gives you a line pointing towards your destination. Just a suggestion. The game looks great so far though.


39

+ mustbehiggy on June 24th, 2011 at 5:23 pm said:

LOl at the guy saying “How long is this game? I hope 5hours.” lol. Is 5hours a long time to complete a game or something? sheesh. I’d hope like 15+ minimum. I hate how games these days can be completed in 1 sit in. I even completed GoW 3 in 9 hours in one day.

Yeah, I’m hardcore and stayed off work lol


40

+ AnalogicBass on June 24th, 2011 at 9:28 pm said:

Ok You completed Gow3 in 9 hrs, but the trophies?? I just finish all my games with 100% of trophies in 15 hrs, exept Battle Tanks I hate this game >__< she don't have guns!!! WTF!! They ty to reboot because they saw how people love Uncharted, maybe uncharted inspire in TR but now UC is better…


41

+ Darkpen on June 25th, 2011 at 4:43 am said:

I’m so freaking excited for this game. Please keep on moving forward with your vision. Everything sounds awesome, and if possible, make the weapons and area exploration more Metroidvanian than it already is.

So good <3


42

+ Arkafazin on June 25th, 2011 at 5:35 am said:

I’m digging the focus on survival with this upcoming game. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more to come :3


43

+ EvoAnubis on June 25th, 2011 at 4:02 pm said:

So far, based on what I’ve seen, this is the first TR game I’ve EVER looked forward to. Thanks for posting this, Simon.


44

+ tonydamiani on June 26th, 2011 at 8:18 pm said:

I love the Lara Croft games. But I’m sad that they reboot the series :(

They are trying to compete whit Uncharted everyone knows that.

I will get this game I LOVE LARA! <3

But rebooting the game? why? :(


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