October 11, 2014

Rise of the Tomb Raider Petition Update... Or, Stella Goes to Comic Con (Redux)

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending some time with our community manager, Meagan Marie, in New York City. I was in town for New York Comic Con, and although Crystal Dynamics does not have a booth at the con this year, Meagan had been hosting press demos for Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris  at a nearby venue.

Meagan and Stella cower beneath a massive bouquet in a New York hotel lobby
Crystal Dynamics Senior Community Manager Meagan Marie and yours truly before NYCC this Friday
As promised, I delivered a printed copy of our Rise of the Tomb Raider Petition, including 15,000 signatures and 5,000 comments from fans. Understandably, Meagan was not able to discuss the petition in an official capacity but she assured me that she would personally deliver it to studio head Darrell Gallagher.

Although Meagan wasn't able to comment about the nature and duration of the Xbox exclusive, I can only hope we'll be hearing more about that soon, as well as further explanation of the benefits such exclusives might bring to the franchise. You know me; I always try and look for the silver lining. Petition or no, the Microsoft deal is here to stay, but I hope that our efforts will at least encourage the "powers that be" to think twice before committing to future exclusives.

On the positive side, it was great to see Meagan and hear about her adventures in Ireland during her brief stint at Riot Games. I told her how much we missed her and how happy we are to have her back as our community manager. I also submitted all the questions you guys sent me, and she said she'd include as many as possible in upcoming Q&A sessions with the developers.

The rest of the CD crew were packing up to go home by the time I arrived Friday morning, but Meagan was able to hang onto one of the company consoles so I could try out the Temple of Osiris demo in her hotel room. I played as Lara, while she controlled Isis and my son, Max, played Horus. (Carter Bell had to sit this one out, since we didn't have a fourth player.) All I can say is WOW! Even two months away from the December 9 release date, the game looks awesome and plays beautifully. If you enjoyed Guardian of Light, you're going to LOVE this game!

There's not much I can say that hasn't already been discussed in the press coverage and the recent dev diary (below). I also don't want to post spoilers for those who are trying to avoid them. But I can assure you it has all of the same fast-paced action as LCGOL plus many new features like special light-based powers for the Isis and Horus characters; levels that reconfigure on the fly depending on how many people are playing; and of course tons of challenges, power-ups, and collectibles. Things can get pretty hectic, and there's a lot happening on screen, but it's super fun especially when playing with friends. I was most impressed by the stunning environments, the lighting design, and the way the puzzles are so cleverly designed to foster cooperation. The team has truly outdone themselves this time!

You'll all have to decide for yourselves whether you want to support this game in light of the ongoing controversy surrounding Rise of the Tomb Raider. Although I'm still extremely conflicted over the Rise exclusive, I plan to spend many hours with Temple of Osiris.

Meagan also wanted me to reiterate a few things she's said elsewhere: First, that the developers absolutely listen to fan feedback. She and several of the other team members are long-time Tomb Raider fans, so they have no trouble seeing things from a fan's perspective. They may not always do everything we ask—especially since many of us want different things—but they're absolutely watching the forums and social media and paying attention to what we say. Our feedback has definitely informed Rise of the Tomb Raider's development. Second, she's thrilled to be back and asks everyone for a little patience while she settles in and catches up. She's brimming with plans for the upcoming Temple of Osiris release and beyond. So stay tuned!


If you haven't seen it yet (and don't mind a few minor spoilers) check out the first Temple of Osiris dev diary, focusing on the co-op aspect.

UPDATES 10/12/14: Here's a transcript of the dev diary video. For a breakdown of the petition signatures by country, see this post.

19 comments:

  1. I am so excited! <3 this is just great! two great games coming out, comics already out, novel on its way , thanks stella <3

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    1. It was absolutely my pleasure. BTW, your name came up in conversation and Meagan says hi. She was really bummed that she lost the Sola wetsuit to another bidder, but she's glad you guys were able to do so well with the auction. :)

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    2. aweee!! omg i was bummed for her, i was really hoping she would be the one to win it, but i put her in touch with the winner maybe he'll let her borrow it :D

      and also i meant to thank you for doing the petition, i don't have an x box and i appreciated what you've accomplished :) !

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  2. Sounds like you had a fantastic time at the Con, Stella! Can't wait to play Temple of Osiris. :-)

    And thanks for coordinating the petition and delivering it to Meagan. Even if it changes nothing, at least we can console ourselves with the fact we tried. ;-)

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    1. So true, but we do what we can. Thanks, always, for your support. I don't know if you'll be getting the PC version of Temple of Osiris--I probably won't be buying a PS4 any time soon--but maybe someday we can play together. :)

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  3. Hi Stella,

    Thank you for all your great efforts for the Tomb Raider community. I very much share the excitement for Temple of Osiris with you.

    I have written several comments in this blog before and also have signed the Rise of the Tomb Raider petition with a lengthy comment. But the notion that, the Crystal Dynamics people are absolutely watching the forums and social media and paying attention to what we say, has got me thinking of asking you for a favor. Even though I'm a very huge Tomb Raider fan from the early days until now, I haven't been in any Tomb Raider forums since many years, mainly because it would consume a lot of my time and I have an extremely busy life. But from time to time, I have written lengthy comments on this blog with the hope of reaching somebody. I don't know if any of my comments have ever been read by a person who has a direct influence on the development of Tomb Raider games, so, what I would like to ask you is, if this is at all possible to you, and I would be imensely thankful, to make sure that this comment of mine will be read by someone who can influense the direction of Tomb Raider games.

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    1. I'm trying to keep myself short. The early Tomb Raider games have made me fall in love with them, because they take the player on unforgettable journeys. You visit a lot of different locations and usually, each level not only looks different, but also offers a unique experience, thanks to creative, complex and imaginative level design. Often you encounter level design choices that may not make realistic sense, but are perfect for creating interesting and fun game situations. Enemies are mainly there to create some surprise moments, but the fundamental core of the games is based on exploration, puzzle-solving, traps, and also sometimes the use of vehicles, which I also very much like. Environments are huge and the sense of discovery is huge, and yet, every inch of each level is designed thoughtfully and serves a purpose, unlike many open-world games of today. Although my favorite Tomb Raider games are Tomb Raider III (because of everything I said) and Tomb Raider The Last Revelation (Even though there is a bit less visual variety), I have also very much enjoyed most Crystal Dynamics Tomb Raider games. As a side note, I also love Soul Reaver 2, which is my favorite game from Crystal Dynamics. I am also very glad that Crystal Dynamics has created Guardian of Light and Temple of Osiris. I love this direction too, but they are not to replace the main Tomb Raider series. In short, what I think the main Tomb Raider series should be about, could be summarized with the following words:

      Exploration, isolation, mystery, discovery, journey (many different locations, both visually and game experience wise), imaginative and out of the box level design, challenging puzzles, challenging traps, challenging vehicle sections, and generally just a truly huge adventure.

      What in my opinion the main Tomb Raider series is NOT about is:

      Blood, gore, brutality, killing, combat-heavy gameplay, typical explosion-heavy action, and generally sacrifice of exploration, puzzle and dexterity challenges in favor of action sequences.

      I know it's not fair to judge a game without playing it, but I was so offended by the premise of Tomb Raider 2013 that I have refused to play it. The Tomb Raider series used to be something very unique and there was truly nothing like it. It's bin a darn long Time since Tomb Raider Underworld and there is really no other game to replace the feeling of playing a true Tomb Raider game. So, my petition to Crystal Dynamics, besides always bringing every Tomb Raider game to PC, is to bring Tomb Raider back to its roots and keep the franchise alive the way it used to be. There are tons of action-blockbuster-type games out there, but there is nothing like original Tomb Raider. If you care about rising above the average AAA-Game-Development-Company, pay attention to the fundamentals of the series you are committed to and create something outstanding, instead of blending in with all the commercial stuff.

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    2. I said I would keep it short. :D Sorry for writing so much, Stella, but I hope my rambling will actually get somewhere.

      Many thanks and the kindest of regards,

      - Siavash Tazari

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    3. I really appreciate your dedication, Siavash. I wish I could assure you that the developers will read your comments here, but I honestly doubt they have time to look through every fan blog, even those from the "official" fan sites. I would strongly urge you to take a few minutes to post on the Eidos forums. Even if you just copied and pasted these same comments into the existing "TR10 Wish List" thread, which is pinned near the top of the ROTTR board [http://forums.eidosgames.com/forumdisplay.php?f=328] that would be a good start. I can guarantee Meagan and several of the developers read those types of threads.

      After Tomb Raider 2013, Meagan compiled a HUGE document in which she organized and synthesized the fan feedback she'd received and submitted it to the producers. So just about everything we said was heard at that time. The Rise development is well underway, so it may be a bit late for the current wish list, but for what it's worth, many fans said similar things to what you've written here. I encourage you to post anyway, though, and also to comment on the Rise follow-up thread when it comes around.

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    4. Thank you very much for your tips, Stella. I'm going to post my comments in that thread right now! :)

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  4. It's amazing. Hope it helps. I'm very happy contributing with this.
    Greetings.

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  5. I will definitely be buying Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris. Probably on the Xbox, because I can play multiplayer on that better than on PC. The new video looks amazing, and I can't wait for December!!!!!!
    As for Rise, I'll probably be buying that on my Xbox too. That decision will probably make me really unpopular with other fans, but I do want to play the game. It all comes down to that I've been with Microsoft from the beginning, and that I already own an Xbox. If I had a PlayStation, I would be far angrier.
    That doesn't mean I'm not annoyed though. In my opinion Microsoft could have at least released Rise as an Xbox game onto Windows 8, like the game Adera. That way others could have gotten to play and Microsoft would still make money!
    -GrtGreekBear

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    1. Thanks for the comment. I'm still undecided about whether or not to play and promote Rise of the Tomb Raider. A Windows release would certainly be nice, purely for selfish reasons, but I think PlayStation fans--especially those who've been with the series since the beginning--deserve better. It's unfortunate that this decision has not only further alienated fans from the developers but also from each other. Clearly you and I care about our fellow gamers, but I've seen Xbox and PlayStation gamers cursing at each other about this, and that's just sad.

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  6. Idk maybe I'm just an asshole but these comments of Meagan's just piss me off even more. First off, it's a bold faced lie that the developers are listening to us about Rise. Yes they might have a little about gameplay or other small dynamics such as that, but lets just be honest. The only fan imput that matters at the moment is the imput over the exclusive deal and Crystal has wiped their asses with that. Secondly, Meagan has absolutely no right to call herself a Tomb Raider fan. Tomb Raider fans are some of the most extensive stretching across both genders, all kinds of types of gamers, and all different types of people and as such we have become a community and Meagan has turned her back on that community by rejoining Crystal. That may sound harsh but again let's be honest. Crystal is taking a massive payoff to allow Microsoft to rape Tomb Raider. Meagan not only went back to that willingly, but was excited about it. That's not a Tomb Raider fan, that's someone who has experience putting on a bullshit smile and calming down the sheep who are too stupid to see the bullshit curtain she's trying to pull down over their eyes.

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    1. Cursing someone out anonymously seems cowardly to me, but of course you're entitled to your point of view, and I thank you for posting even though we disagree.

      I can in no way defend Crystal Dynamics' decision about the exclusive. I'm almost as angry as you seem to be about that, but I will defend Meagan. She was a Tomb Raider fan LONG before she went to work for Crystal Dynamics. I can't speak for her, obviously, but based on the conversations we've had over the years, I can tell you that she definitely cares as much about the fans as she does about the company. She could have gone into some area of the industry—or some other line of work entirely—since being a community manager is like painting a target on your back for haters. And she didn't have to return to Crystal after leaving Riot. She chose to return in order to try and make a difference. It's up to you if you want to trust her sincerity. I personally do.

      Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to comment. Here's to better days ahead, I hope.

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    2. I only post anonymously because I have no interest in actually making an account to post on this page. My name is Trevor Hathaway. Look on Crystal's fb page, I posted very nearly the exact same message to Meagan's post because I feel very strongly about this and don't care who knows. I understand Meagan may have been a Tomb Raider fan for a very long time but she plain and simple turned her back on the rest of the fans and therefore I can't consider her part of that community anymore. She may care about the fans but you cannot say she cares more about them than she does about her CD paycheck. I understand her job is dealing with crap like this but if she really cared about the Tomb Raider franchise and its fans she would have felt to much of a personal connection with us to aid the people who are fucking us over and would have found a different company to work for after leaving Riot. The fact that she returned to Crystal rather than joining the outcry is exactly why I refuse to trust her. You claim she's trying to make a difference. Is she going to get the timed exclusive cancelled? If not this game is worthless to me and I won't be playing it, so what good does her making any other difference do? I stand with the Tomb Raider fans because companies, like Crystal, have fucked this franchise time and time again and it has always been reborn due to the strong fan base demanding it. Rise will fail as many TR titles have before, Crystal will lose the IP, and maybe a company that truly sides with the fans rather than just saying they do before joining the enemy will be the one's to give it a new rebirth.

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  7. Thank you Stella for your endeavour. I really appreciate what you've been doing, as always. :D

    I think the problem between fans and the dev is very hard to be compromised so as to reach a balance that will satisfy both sides at this point because Microsoft is involved, but by and large, whether the exclusivity is worth it is the matter that CD and SE should think over seriously. As it is a timed exclusive, I don't honestly think MS is giving that huge amount of support to CD which would be enough to offset the impact of fans' boycotting. In the short run, this might not be conspicuous, but in the long run, this exclusivity should really be avoided for any future title in my opinion.

    And I still hope there will be a physical copy released for PC. I don't like buying digital versions.

    - Timmy from China

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  8. So I was reading through these comments and I have to say I kinda sorta agree with the guy a couple posts up who was getting pissed off. He may have been a bit harsh but I understand where his mistrust of Meagan is coming from as I am feeling somewhat the same. Just as the enemy of my enemy is my friend, the friend of my enemy is also my enemy and Meagan has shown she is the latter not the former by becoming a CD staff member once again. If Meagan really wants to prove she is fighting Crystal for us from the inside and not just helping their agenda, I say she should make a public statement against the exclusive and in favor of PS4/PC players receiving tons of bonus perks as compensation. If she's not willing to do that publicly why should I believe that she's willing to do it to Darrell Gallagher's face?

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  9. She can spit shine a turd all she wants..
    This is a damn shame and what they are doing is wrong.
    Why would they put a popular game like Rise of the Tomb Raider on a gaming system no one obviously wants??
    All i want to know is will this game EVENTUALLY come to Ps4??? yes or no.
    I think it would make everyone feel better if they can atleast know that.

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