Crystal Dynamics – where the Tomb Raider team works – can be found in a complex at the end of a long road in Redwood City in San Francisco. Without laboring the comparison, Tomb Raider’s journey from inception to being in stores today has some similarities. You exit a freeway – in our case the conventional expectations of what Tomb Raider should be, you negotiate a lengthy curve (securing support for a bold new direction), negotiate through the stop signs of constant testing and second guessing before finally enjoying what appears to be a smooth home stretch.
Here’s where my comparison breaks down however. While the Crystal team has learned to watch their velocity on approach to avoid speed tickets, Tomb Raider on the other hand has hit the gas and enjoyed a breakneck ride in the past few months to launch. It’s a clichéd term but it truly has been a rollercoaster ride for the team – an unforgettable one – to get to this point.
There’s a reason why we have been using the hashtag #Reborn to accompany all our discussion of Tomb Raider at launch. It truly does represent a new beginning for one of gaming’s most beloved franchises and protagonists. We wanted to make Lara Croft a real, relatable person – prone to the doubts and setbacks we all occasionally experience. What truly sets Lara aside from the average Joe on the street isn’t her biceps, her appearance or what firearm she carries – it’s force of will. Absolute power is compelling in theory but boring in execution – especially in a game. Will to power – or more accurately in Lara’s case, will to live – is the distinction we celebrate with in Tomb Raider.
Under the watchful eyes of the Tomb Raider community we’ve created an experience that tells a truly gripping origin story for Lara Croft, while including best of class combat, an elegant control system that makes traversal second nature, and a living breathing island setting that is not only gorgeous to look at, but perilous at every turn. We didn’t forget about exploration either – with tomb raiding being important both in the game’s critical path as well as forming one of the integral parts of multitudes of diversions on offer. But I’ll let you discover that for yourself.
It’s been my privilege to work alongside a truly dedicated and committed team at Crystal Dynamics. There’s an awe-inspiring level of passion that has gone into crafting this game from our home team as well as our valued colleagues at Eidos Montreal, who worked on the game’s multiplayer. So many people have been integral in the game reaching stores, however, it would be remiss of me not to draw attention to our head of studio, Darrell Gallagher, who has driven the game and pushed the Crystal team from day one to deliver something truly special.
Revisiting my analogy up top: Tomb Raider may have reached its destination, but by no means is it the end of the road. As any Crystal staffer can tell you – the road doesn’t end at Crystal – it loops all the way around. The final verdict on whether we’ve succeeded is a more personal one – but the early indications are we might have struck the right chord. The Tomb Raider community would expect no less from us than absolute commitment to excellence, and neither would we as a studio tolerate less.
In addition to all of this, I am delighted to announce that Tomb Raider is a day 1 download on PSN — you’ll be able to grab it as soon as PlayStation Store updates today.
I sincerely hope you enjoy your time with Tomb Raider. Let us know what you think – we’ll be listening.