Hi everyone, I’m Scot Amos, executive producer at Crystal Dynamics. On January 28th of 2014, we’re bringing the award-winning Tomb Raider experience to PS4 in the form of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition.
Recreating our franchise for PS4 was a true labor of love for the team. The critically acclaimed story and action adventure remain solidly intact and as riveting as ever. However, we took the opportunity to use the increased horsepower of the hardware to create the Tomb Raider we always envisioned.
We had a core team here at Crystal collaborating with the super talented teams at United Front Games (who worked with Square Enix on Sleeping Dogs) and Nixxes (whom Crystal has partnered with since the Legacy of Kain days). Together, we pulled the game apart and painstakingly rebuilt it with enhanced visual fidelity, realism, and a new immersive richness to the world.
Getting our gameplay up to native 1080p meant increasing all of our texture resolutions by over 4x so the details and nuances can be seen in their full glory. However, it’s subtleties like our subsurface scattering technology — how we manage realistic lighting effects through solid/semi-solid matter — that we’re so proud of, which bring a new glow to Lara’s skin. All of these elements working in conjunction drive a much more realistic world than we’ve ever had.
The entire game world — the perilous island of Yamatai — is alive as well. Foliage bends as Lara pushes through it; trees whip in the wind; even cloth moves courtesy of new, more sophisticated physics modeling. Weather effects lash the island with unprecedented levels of venom, and rain particles are dynamically lit as they slice through piercing searchlights. The in-game cast has also enjoyed an upgrade — characters and enemies alike have been enhanced visually, while in-game destructibility has been given additional refinement to increase the sense that you are leaving a mark on this world.
However, as always, it’s Lara who’s the star of the show. As such, one of our boldest changes was to handcraft an all new, even more realistic head and face model for her, taking advantage of the increased power of PS4. This is our first glimpse of our next-generation Lara. We also drastically improved shader and lighting effects, adding dynamic sweat, mud, and even blood for a new level of visual acuity that reacts on Lara in different situations. Objects on Lara’s person like her climbing axe or arrows now independently react to her movements and sway or jostle with an obsessive eye for detail, further adding that nothing was too small for us to tackle.
Lara’s hair now benefits from TressFX technology — her hair strands are independently simulated and interact with environmental effects, as well as react to her every movement, delivering unprecedented, lifelike motion. This all-new Lara is Crystal’s first steps towards the future. It’s a promising, compelling beginning.
“Promising, compelling beginning” is a good description for our first few weeks in the PS4 era. We’re very proud of what our combined teams at Crystal, United Front Games, and Nixxes have accomplished with Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. Whether you’re a diehard fan who collects every Tomb Raider title, or just looking for a gripping, cinematic action-adventure to recommend to friends, we’ve got a great game for you. We’re thrilled to launch the game and hear your reactions. It’s been a privilege and a labor of love for us, and we hope you relish playing it as much as we did making it.
All the best for the holiday season.