About 20 years have passed since the phenomenon of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider came into our lives, a character who was born to stay with us and that certainly revolutionized the video game industry and popular culture. Today, with millions fans around the world, two movies, comics, over 15 games (console, portables, PC and mobile), and about 50 million units sold, Lara Croft is an unstoppable character. She is a character that can adapt to modern times and has evolved, and set to return later this year with her new adventure: Rise of the Tomb Raider.
I had the opportunity to be invited by Crystal Dynamics for an exciting adventure: Attend the E3 in Los Angeles to learn all the news about the new game, and incidentally, to meet with two of the great professionals in charge of this new release. Their names? Brian Horton, Game Director and Jason Botta, Design Director. We discussed the gear and the upgrades system in Rise of the Tomb Raider.
The aesthetics of Lara Croft, has always been an issue that has preoccupied the fans of the franchise. Since its inception in 1996, we have seen Lara wearing her top and shorts. Her wardrobe along the years has undergone an evolution in order to be even more realistic, like the game. In Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara will have at least three different costumes, all with their corresponding evolution: A outfit with a red winter jacket, another winter outfit with a green jacket, and for the desert areas like Syria, Lara will have a very similar style to the previous game and keeping the silhouette shown in Tomb Raider 2013. All costumes have their corresponding evolution and will be conducive to damage: The snow will accumulate on the jacket in real time, Lara will get wet in rain, and will showcase blood stains after injury or combat. These are small details that Crystal Dynamics has focused to offer a realistic experience with the game. Clothing can be changed at any time in the base camps. In addition to the outfits shown in the story mode, there will be a large number of unlockable costumes in form of DLC or after our experience in the game’s story mode is finished. Fun and interesting options for prolonging the life of the game.
“For the Lara Croft franchise, like Temple of Osiris, obviously that’s a much more clear expression of the classic Lara Croft. For Rise of the Tomb Raider, right now we are planning on outfits that are more keeping to our style.” – Brian Horton
Often, Crystal Dynamics is inspired by the real world to obtain the costumes that Lara will use during the game, all in order to get a realistic and modern result. At the beginning of the project, Crystal took the decision to buy different clothes and learn more about the colors, textures and resistance in order to convey the same feeling in the game.
“We often look at the real world to ensure that our ideas come to something authentic. We went shopping and spent more money that I want to say on different clothes and options to see which ones can be used by Lara in this adventure.” – Brian Horton
After learning the whole creative process for obtaining clothing for Lara Croft, I couldn’t resist asking Brian Horton about another iconic element in Tomb Raider, a very fashionable element today, as seen with Elsa in Frozen, The Hunger Games…of course, I am talking about her braid.
“The braid is not something we plan on introducing back in this game, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t appear sometime in the future.” – Brian Horton
But Lara is not just a pretty face, she needs her talent, skills, and of course her equipment to deal with all the problems she encounters around the world. Rise of the Tomb Raider has paid special attention to improving the upgrade system that we had in Tomb Raider 2013. Now in Rise of the Tomb Raider, we have two different ways to upgrade our equipment: Through experience - If you get experience you can improve your skills, twice as many as we saw in the previous game - and through finding resources. Rise of the Tomb Raider will have 16 different types of resources, for example wood to improve the bows, or metal parts for weapons. Another of the great innovations of Rise of the Tomb Raider is that all the weapons will have their corresponding evolution in the game, but can have different models of the same type of weapon. For example, we have four different bows and keep them throughout all the game.
"The player can customize the character in the way they want and her accessories. All this to create the character you really want to play. We are very excited about it. It will be great! ” – Jason Botta.
The experience will give you new skills and thus new movements such as swimming, climbing trees … as well as improving the combat system. Who wants to fight with dual climbing axes? Jason Botta says that this section will give us a lot of new surprises.
“We have included the ability to swim. It was something that everyone wanted in the previous Tomb Raider.” – Jason Botta
Many new features await us in Rise of the Tomb Raider, thus demonstrating that the franchise is in one of its best moments in the history and after 20 years of a long journey, we will continue raiding tombs and discovering ancient ruins and civilizations. Always with the best equipment that an archaeologist could desire, or as Lara said in Legend, “You can’t blame me for knowing how to accessorize.”
INTERVIEW WITH: Brian Horton – Game Director & Jason Botta – Designer Director.
Interview and translation by Rodrigo Martín Santos. © 2015 Copyright Tomb Raider Collection. All rights reserved.