Here's what we know so far, in the form of an expanded list of bullet points similar to others that have been making the rounds lately:
- TOMB RAIDER is currently in development by Crystal Dynamics, the same studio that created Tomb Raider: Legend, Anniversary and Underworld, as well as Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, and will be published by Square Enix.
- The game begins with a 21-year-old Lara Croft shipwrecked on a mysterious island off the coast of Japan.
- In retelling Lara's origin story, the developers have said they hope to make her a more complex, human and culturally relevant hero, in part by putting her in an extremely dangerous and challenging situation through which she will ultimately prevail.
- This time around there will be no real-life model representing Lara for promotional events.
- However, the game will employ extensive use of motion-capture technology.
- The voice actor who'll play Lara has not yet been announced.
- Tomb Raider staples like puzzles, combat, exploration and action will be more fully integrated into the basic survival storyline.
- The auto-targeting feature used in previous games will be replaced by a free-aim system.
- Weapons may include a bow, pistol and shotgun (shown in various game art), as well as tools and objects Lara discovers in the course of her explorations.
- While not strictly "open world," the game is non-linear. Players can explore the island freely and can revisit locations as Lara's skills and equipment improve. However, there will be some scripted sequences that advance the story.
- It will be necessary to gather food, water and other items for survival.
- A system of "base camps" allow players to fast travel among various points on the island. Base camps also allow players to examine and combine inventory items and access a skill system to enhance Lara's abilities.
- Changing weather conditions, Lara's improved gear and abilities, and the player's influence on the game world itself are intended to keep locations fresh when revisited.
- At the heart of it all is a mystery reminiscent of the TV show LOST. What is this island all about? Who are its mysterious inhabitants? Why is it seemingly impossible to escape? Lara—and the player—must discover the truth.
- TOMB RAIDER will be rated 'M' (Mature).
- It will be available for Windows PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
- A release date has not yet been announced.
For more TOMB RAIDER news and discussion:
- Game Informer's January 2011 issue (on newsstands December 11)
- Game Informer's Tomb Raider Hub
- Official Eidos Tomb Raider 9 Forum
- Stella's TR9 Page
- Stella's Facebook Page
- Follow Stella on Twitter
*TOMB RAIDER will be the ninth major installment in the series, not including Tomb Raider: Anniversary, which was technically a remake of the original Tomb Raider.
SOURCES: Square Enix. Game Informer, January 2011 issue and GameInformer.com.