December 13, 2011

Bridging the Gap Between New and Old Tomb Raider Fans

In an interview with Xbox UK, Crystal Dynamics' Community Manager Meagan Marie discusses the upcoming TOMB RAIDER and its mysterious island setting. She also acknowledges some of the rumblings heard among the series' long-time fans.


Now you may notice a subtle shift in the message coming out of the developer's offices recently. I think they've sensed that many of us are concerned about the games' straying too far from the traditional Tomb Raider model we've come to know and love. In this interview, as well as in the more recent Crystal Habit Podcasts, they've been stressing that the new game will still comprise what they're calling the core "pillars" of Tomb Raider: exploration/traversal, puzzle solving and combat, but that all this will take place within the context of a survival story.

Some of the fans who watched the exciting game trailers released this past summer came away with the impression that this was going to be a survival-horror game starring Lara Croft. (I'll admit I was among them.) After all, this will be the first M-rated Tomb Raider, and the action in the gameplay trailer looks damned scary. But lately Crystal has been carefully re-shaping their message to existing fans.

As Global Brand Manager Karl Stewart said in the fourth podcast, this will not be a Condemned, Resident Evil or Silent Hill type game. There will definitely be some scary situations, but the game will be more "survival-adventure" than "survival-horror". Meagan also stresses in the interview above that anyone who plays the new game is "going to feel the Tomb Raider in it."

What do you think? Is the upcoming game grabbing your interest so far? Are you OK with the new direction the series is taking and where would you like to see it go in the future? Please leave a comment below or on my Facebook page.

32 comments:

  1. If I just go all out and say what I feel...I'm not feeling it. I know that everything must change, but I really wanted to see a more traditional TR storyline that uses new technology. I am definitely among those that would be wholly satisfied if they re-made TR, TR2 and TR3 with Anniversary or Underworld graphics/tech.

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  2. 'Crystal has been carefully re-shaping their message to existing fans' - I think says it all

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  3. Well,most people don't like change and sometimes change is good and sometimes it isn't. If the core elements are in the game, it should be fine but it could be a make or break situation for the core players but as a business, they also want to attract new players and if this means more sales for them, then as a business standpoint, they are going to pursue this. I hope they do change some of the game as it will keep it fresh but at the same time, the core components that make Tomb Raider what it is, will need to be there.

    Don't forget the Lara Croft adventure they released and it was quite good...

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  4. be great like this at movie

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  5. I will not be playing. My adventure will end with Underworld

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  6. My main concern is that they are making a reboot! I don't feel that making a reboot was necessary, and would rather have liked to see a continuation were Underworld left off, with GROWN UP Lara. Still I will absolutely be playing.

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  7. I dunno... The more I hear about TR2012 (that's what I'm calling it) the less it feels like Tomb Raider.
    I mean, the survival aspect of Tomb Raider always came second to actual tomb raiding. The idea of Lara's adventures is to seek awesome and creative treasures or powers while surviving along the way.
    Without that kind of objective it really does look like a completely different franchise...

    That doesn't mean to say that it doesn't look interesting though. I would definitely play it, even if the Tomb Raider label wasn't on it, I would just rather not to lose the original feel of the classic Tomb Raider game.

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  8. I liked the increasingly interesting and detailed architectural settings in the "old" Tomb Raiders. I liked walking around just looking at everything, and taking screen shots... the sites were really cool - a real vacation for the mind. If I want survival... I'll just go back to work

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  9. No, it's just not grabbing my interest at all. My interest does not lie in the untested, green Lara whatsoever. I want to play kick-ass Lara. And definitely no interest in (yet) another reboot. Great graphics are fine, but all too often we've been given promises on upcoming games that never get fulfilled. I will be waiting for reviews before playing this game, if I play it at all.

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  10. Well if people don't know what I think then they ain't been listening. I'm opposed to the reboot, and to people who don't "get" Lara "redesigning" her in "brainstorming sessions" - more like "duh-storming". I won't name any names but we all know who they are. As for it not being survival horror - it looks like a survival horror but with the added difference that Laura-san makes so much damn noise - continual grunting and whining - that any self respecting "zomboid" would be hard pressed not to find her and eat her. Hurrah! Game over! If Lara survives this game to make it to another game I think a polite veil will be drawn over the ghastly misnumbered "TR9"(?) and the next game will revert to British, cynical, retro Lara.

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  11. I have no interest left whatsoever. To quote some of the things this game includes:

    - The leader, an older man named Conrad Roth, can be seen in the game trailer and some of the screenshots. He serves as Lara's mentor, and she must help him survive when he becomes injured.

    - The game will include a hint system called "survival instinct,"

    - There will be no swimming

    - In retelling Lara's origin story, the developers have said they hope to make her a more complex, human and culturally relevant hero

    It just sounds like the same tired old mistakes they have been making with every game since Angel of Darkness, and as sad as I am to say it I consider the franchise to really have finished around about this game. It also seems to me painfully clear how awesome the games could have been continued using modern technology.

    Also, anybody have any idea what a "culturally relevant" hero is?

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  12. I agree with notanumber and Ostercy. I am not interested in a reboot where the character is changed.

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  13. I started with TR2 and was always looking forward to buy the next. TR6 (Angel of Darkness) was...well, ok. Then I lost interest.

    As if a new generation of programmers discovered a box full of new technology and in there excitement they stuffed the game full of it, because the 'today' game have to be bigger, more overwhelming, more different...sure.

    Result: little eye for concept and quality game-play!

    Why was TR was so succesfull in de mid 90?

    The golden concept was exploring. Just walking around in a TR-world, enjoy the environment, not in a hurry to solve puzzles.

    To me TR lost it's own identity and looks like so many games today on the market.

    Concept is all that counts!

    And who in the *** invented those annoying checkpoint-saves?? O yes, that's modern too...

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  14. Well I must say that I am going to miss old Tomb Raider Games ( but we can still play them all over again, right? :D ), but I like the new direction the series is taking. Its something new and let's just hope that they won't make 3 games like they did with Legend, Anniversary and Underworld and to reboot Lara again. This time I want to see her for all time, no more reboots... :D

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  15. Hi Stella et al,

    With the exception of TR3 and AOD I have been playing and enjoying these games since TR1 in 1995. I am currently nearing the end of Legend and looking forward to finally playing Underworld, the game I bought an Xbox for.

    The features that have kept me coming back for more of the franchise are exploration of a variety of gorgeous, exotic and perilous locations in each game and a balanced combination of combat and puzzle solving.

    I am certainly not impressed that TR12 will take place in only one isolated island location and that there will be no swimming at all - I love the underwater sections, especially those where you need to flood or drain areas to progress. I think it is a big mistake to leave this very enjoyable feature out.

    I will not be in any rush to get the new game on release but will no doubt pick it up 2nd hand later on.

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  16. I cant help but already feel a sense of loss for the character, her personality, and the amazing worlds we could just explore in previous games. They were astonishingly successful for a reason.

    The mature, cynical, tough and stunning Lara was a truly unique character in the male-character dominated gaming franchise. I don't care about her 'coming of age' story, because we already know what it is (plane crash in Nepal) and Lara's story and trajectory went from there.

    There is so much more to offer us from the mature and accomplished Lara.

    This re-boot just seems like a desperate attempt to cash in on latent popular cultural fads (ie: Lost).

    That said, the trailers and screen shot look amazing, but I dont feel Lara them at all.

    I agree with others about remaking TR2 + 3, because Anniversary was so excellent. I've coveted some suggestions for a while but will share them here, which are not that original but I would love to see again in upcoming Tomb Raider games:

    -Keep Lara mature, skilled, tough and smart
    -Keep the mysterious story of where her mother really is or extend the mystery of other family members, her family back story is great
    -Keep Croft Manor for training and foreshadowing of upcoming game clues
    -Always have her able to swim and dive
    -Always have multiple geographical locations, city stuff was always great too
    -Reprise the original music scores
    and...Bring back Von Croy! He was a great nemesis/anti-hero!

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  17. How can they strand the incredible "Iron Lung" Lara Croft on an island and not let her swim?!!! And I suppose that since she won't be swimming she won't be swan-diving off any of those enticing shipwrecks, either. Damn!

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  18. I have to say I'm opposed to the reboot. For one thing, I don't think the franchise was in such bad condition that it's warranted. For another, I don't want to play a "young and untested" Lara. I want the woman who feels bad when she has to take the life of someone she cares about--but will do it in a heartbeat to prevent the baddies from getting whatever it is they're after. A strong, confident woman who looks at deadly situations and lets out a breath, then gets to work getting herself out of it.

    It's interesting to note that in the very first game, when she was flirted with by--whomever it was. I forget. Anyway, she answered the flirt with one of her own, albeit in a bit of a, hmm, high-brow and confident manner. In the "Anniversary" remake, she--brushed him off in a way that could legitimately be called haughty. They basically leapt onto the pendulum and swung it as far into one direction as possible--and now they're yanking it back the other way? Meh, I say.

    Strong, confident, but with a sense of humor and femininity--is that really so much to ask? Apparently it is--though that's what the first games had.

    I'm really not looking forward to this survival-horror-or-whatever-they-want-to-call-it game. I have a friend who might buy it; if he does, I'll check it out. Other than that, I'll wait until a long time after its release, so I can read reviews and watch Let's Plays of it. With what information there currently is, though--I don't have high hopes.

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  19. After reading all these comments I'm seriously re-thinking buying TR12. I didn't think too much about how many original features crystal dynamics was taking out before. But shit there's a lot.

    I agree with 'Alice in wonderland,' survival was always second, and it should stay that way. I understand that through "re-booting" there would have to be a starting point. I just think CD have taken it back WAY too far. We don't need to see her before she was grown up. Her mysterious past is what gave the games their plot. I will admit that I have wished for a TR game in which we get to play as young Lara, but if this is what's it's gunna look like, I'd rather a sequel to Underworld.

    And why the hell are they redesigning Lara's image? Her curvy body is what made her who she was. She's recognized for it. Her "new" skinny little body doesn't even look like her. And frankly, I liked the way she looked, even if it was "unrealistic."

    When creating re-boots for games the designers should ask the fans what THEY want. They'd get more sales that way.

    -KR

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  20. I first was excited when i heared about a new TR game. Ive played them all since TR1 and i loved them all except for Angel of Darkness.
    The concept that we get to play with a young Lara that doesnt even look like her at all is very annoying to me. And im not even beginning about her weird voice.
    The concept of her being on an island is not very intresting. The only thing i can think about is the show Lost but then with Lara? Weird... o yeah but we dont get to swim with her... that totally sucks.
    First i was really thinking just buying this game but after i saw the trailer im sure im not going to buy it at all... theyve totally changed her way too much= till the point that she doesnt look like Lara at all, young or not. Im not intrested to playing with her and the concept of her being on an Lost insland the whole game is just retarted. Who is going to buy this game? People who liked the show Lost or what?
    Do they really think that theyre going to please the fans? Im sure the sells are going to be very low, because a lot of the old fans dont like this concept at all. And if they think that making her boobs smaller is going to get them more new fans... good luck with that!

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  21. I'll try it, but as the first TR came out in '96 (I was born in '93) I've only really played Legend, Anniversary and half of Underworld (AoD was played for 20 min and returned) and my Mum is the player of the series for the PS1.

    As for the no swimming, swimming in any game has always made me nervous.

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  22. I'm still as excited about the new game as I was when I saw the trailer and gameplay for the first time. Can't wait! I liked legend for its visuals and gameplay. But Lara's character and story just went downhill from there. It's hard to relate to Lara. Before I've seen this beautiful, bulletproof superhero hotpants, who throws bond-one-liners and knows everything about everything. And apparently the only way to make her more likeable and humane was to give her a couple of dead relatives to cry after. Anniversary's world was still a tad too cheerful and spaceous, while underworld with it's horrible gameplay, visuals and story (ps2, go figure) was just a weird attempt to tie this new story together with the first one.

    From the looks of it: This time around Lara is muddy, vulnerable and has to do without her expensive gear. She actually has feelings and there seems to be a lot emphasis on her character development, which is something I truly respect. The enemy also doesn't seem to be just dancing around while you shoot it from a safe distance with a smirk on your face. And the game even looks amazing. I think this is the change the series has been waiting for.

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  23. I think this sounds like a wonderful game... just not a Tomb Raider game. I don't understand why developers feel the need to keep coming up for explanations why Lara is such a bad-ass. She just was. I agree with many other comments, as a reboot I don't appreciate the direction they are going. They would be better off making a sequel or even just remaking TR2 or 3 with the new graphics.

    I can understand that they want to make the character and the game more accessible to new fans that haven't grown up with the character. But to her old fans, I feel like they are failing to keep them satisfied. I was raised with Tomb Raider. Even before I was old enough to play, I used to sit at my dad's computer and watch as he played them. But these games, they just aren't the same. I don't know if I'll play this one. I might wait for reviews and then see.

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  24. To all of you reboot haters: do you realize that your old Lara is not interesting anymore to anyone except you, die-hard fans? Clock is ticking, gaming industry is developing. The same, old, bulletproof Lara with huge boobs and dual-pistols? The same predictable, easy puzzles? The same stories based on childish pseudo-mythology? Yawn-yawn. They would rather never release anything titled Tomb Raider than doing the same thing ALL OVER AGAIN.
    By the way, I do love old TR games, I've played them all, I've grown up with them, they were great for their times. I can still play them, when I have nostalgic mood. But now, when I've played many other modern games that are much more creative, innovative, challenging, thrilling and mysterious, I just feel sad that last TR titles weren't that good. I think it's remarkable that CD were brave enough to decide to develop TR into something new, that could be really interesting. Risky decision they made, of course - it's like 'make it or break it', but Lara loves risk, doesn't she? :)

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  25. "The same, old, bulletproof Lara with huge boobs and dual-pistols? The same predictable, easy puzzles? The same stories based on childish pseudo-mythology? Yawn-yawn."

    The thing is, these are all things that Crystal Dynamics/Eidos and the gaming media have told me to believe about Tomb Raider, rather than what I actually believe about the games as they seem to have been originally conceived.

    While Lara has always been an invincible badass in cutscenes, I don't think that originally impacted the actual gameplay at all. The closest modern analogue I can think of for the kind of atmosphere I get out of the original games (and many custom levels I've played) is Demons Souls/Dark Souls; there are calmer areas, but a lot of the levels have a persistent sense of menace to them that gives the feeling that anything could be waiting around the next corner (which is exactly what you'd expect when exploring places humanity has never entered in possibly thousands of years). To be fair, I thought Anniversary captured this feeling a few times, but I get the feeling it was more of an accident rather than something planned for.

    At the time of their release I'd hardly say the earlier game's puzzles are "predictable and easy", but it still misses the forest for the trees in that the real puzzles in the original games were the levels themselves, and it was solving them and understanding their structures that rewarded you with progress. Which is lost when things are separated from each other and compartmentalised ("here's a puzzle room/level, here's a combat room/level") like they mostly are the newer games. Although Anniversary and Underworld managed this sometimes, but again, I get the feeling it was more of an accident, unlike before where the organic design comes through even in the parts of the series I don't like.

    I would agree with the stories, but the thing is that they were just an excuse to go to cool places and do cool things. Making the story more of a focus could be a very good thing, but so far it's just resulted in stories that are even more stupid, and that directly take away from what happens during gameplay (such as explaining too many things and losing the sense of mystery).

    I'm actually interested in the new game specifically because it's something different; as I hinted at above I'm mostly disappointed with what's been recently done with the series, so if doing something completely different is what it takes for the developers to make something fresh and inspiring then so be it.

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  26. Looks like I'm going to have to invest in a PS3 finally :-)

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  27. I'll definitely try this but it doesn't feel like Tomb Raider at all, the more previews I watch, the more it feels like it's changed too much. Lara seems too weak and scared and if you think about the old games and this one, they hardly seems related, it's just got the same name and british accent, doesn't even look like the old lara. The reboot was a bit unnecessary, feels like they just did it because it was too hard and confusing to work with past games and their stories. I just hope they take Lara back to the old one we all know and love in future games.

    -KR

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  28. To all the people of eidos, Thanks for all of
    the wonderful games! Now getting down to business. Since Angel of Darkness the controls
    for the game went south and stayed there. Why
    not offer new controls for the "JOYSTICK CROWD",
    and retro game control for for the veteran fans
    who until now have been paying the bill. We need
    those games that used to amaze us. Not these fancy follow the trail games with checkpoints.
    THE NEW GAMES ARE TOO SHORT!!!!!!

    Dont take us for 8 year old gamers.
    I agree with everyone else. If your going to
    keep putting out fillers , easy kiddie sales,
    Tomb Raider AKA Lara Croft will soon become an
    artifact herself... play the games yourself
    then design a new one. Tomb Raider Is always
    the best!

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  29. I love the way that the main person to stand up for the reboot and in the process disrespect the Core games did it under the moniker "Anonymous". I think I can guess who it is and where they normally post from the tone. I've already had my say but I'm still astounded at the arrogance and disrespect behind the "Grinning Assassins" who got together over their lattes in sunny SF and decided to trash the TR legacy under the trendy (in Hollywood) umbrella euphemism "reboot". Stick to supporting MUFC and selling stuff. At this point the only person not spouting weasel words in the awful and patronising podcasts is Meagan Marie, who is a genuine fan and not just some gonk trying to shift product.

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  30. Legend was a reboot in disguise, and I have to say I'm happy to see Crystal steering away from all of that. While I'm definitely not clinging to every bit of information, I am interested in seeing how this game turns out. If they want to change the game, they might as well go all out with it. In my opinion, the "old TR" hasn't been around for years and years, and I don't see it returning any time soon.

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  31. well i am looking forward to the new tr, anything is better than not having one, tho personly think i will miss the "strong, sense of humour, bring it on" lara we all know and love. we will see, my favorite was tr2, which i thought was quite scary at the time, this new one also has a scary feel to it. will be interesting to read feed back when game is out eh, keep the lara croft flag flying!!!

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  32. I'm in total agreement with Ostercy s 2nd post. Who are you to disrespect like that? Clearly you didn't like the old TR games. Lara was a strong brave women, now she'll be just an unexperienced girl lost on an island. I would think that most ppl would agree the old Lara is more interesting, especially us 'die-hard fans'..

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