February 23, 2014

Stella's Guest Appearance on the InRaiderSpect Epilogue: A Survivor is Reborn

A couple of years ago, before the most recent Tomb Raider game was released, I had the pleasure of listening to InRaiderSpect, a series of podcasts from the creators of InRetroSpect examining the Tomb Raider series from different angles. The episode that especially resonated for me was "Turning Points," created by Dr. Kris Darby. Inspired by the game trailer of the same name, this episode examined Tomb Raider through the lens of psychogeography and grappled with a question that is at the root of the series: to turn back or carry on?

Desert Rose Labyrinth - image courtesy of InRetroSpect Podcast

Since then, we've all had a chance to play the new Tomb Raider reboot, and the Definitive Edition has just been released for next-gen consoles. To wrap up the InRaiderSpect series, Kris invited me to appear as a guest on the InRaiderSpect Epilogue. We spent about 45 minutes talking about the new game, Tomb Raider's roots, and its possible future. I hope you'll have a listen.

Since this article was originally posted, the InRetroSpect podcast has been discontinued. You can still find archived episodes, including the InRaiderSpect series, on iTunes.

I hope you'll let us know how you liked the show. If you agree or disagree with our opinions or have other ideas you'd like to add, I encourage you to post a comment below or on the InRaiderSpect Epilogue page. Thanks for listening!

Desert Rose Labyrinth - image courtesy of InRetroSpect Podcast

A few caveats and corrections: This podcast contains many spoilers! If you haven't played the game, I encourage you to do so before listening.

If English is not your first language, you may find this written transcript useful. You can also plug it into an online translator, such as Google Translate, to get a passable version in your native language. Follow this link for a transcript of the "Turning Points" episode.

I apologize for the sound quality on my end. Kris and I live on different continents so the conversation took place over Skype, and while I have a decent gaming headset, it is not studio quality by any stretch. This transcript is almost verbatim, though I have edited just a bit for clarity.

I'd also like to correct a few minor mistakes I made in my excitement to be talking Tomb Raider with such a dedicated fan as Kris.

In the section where we're talking about the corner bug, I mistakenly attribute the bug's discovery to Scott McAllister. It was, of course, Jason McAllister. Later, where we're discussing the NPC Steph, I mention that Lara refers to her in the "Turning Point" trailer. It was actually the "Crossroads" trailer, in which Lara mentions Steph at 0:41 and 1:56. There's also an entry about her on the Tomb Raider Wiki.

Special thanks to Dr. Kris Darby and the crew at InRetroSpect for inviting me to be on their show, as well as for the labyrinth and climbing axe images used in this post.

February 21, 2014

Original Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness Concept Art Unearthed

A slightly belated Valentine's Day gift for the fans! Back on February 14 Meagan Marie, our community manager at Crystal Dynamics, shared these scans of original concept art created during the development of Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness. I just haven't had a chance to post them until now. Sadly none of the drawings were signed, so we're not sure who did them. Still, what fun for fans of classic TR. Enjoy!

There are more images larger versions of the ones below in the TRAOD album on my Google+ Page.

February 5, 2014

Dark Horse Reboots Tomb Raider Comic Series as Bridge Between TR 2013 and Sequel

Dark Horse Comics has just released a 6-page sneak peek at the first issue of their upcoming Tomb Raider comic series. Tomb Raider #1 will be on sale February 26, so now is the time to pre-order from your local comic shop or online at Things From Another World.

Click images to enlarge.
Tomb Raider #1 from Dark Horse Comics
Tomb Raider #1 from Dark Horse Comics
Tomb Raider #1 from Dark Horse Comics
Tomb Raider #1 from Dark Horse Comics
Tomb Raider #1 from Dark Horse Comics
Tomb Raider #1 from Dark Horse Comics

The new comic series is written by Gail Simone, who is probably best known for her work on the Wonder Woman, Deadpool, Batgirl, and Red Sonja series and as a co-founder of the website Women in Refrigerators. She's also a long-time Tomb Raider fan. In a recent interview with Kotaku, Simone discussed the progression of Lara's character from the classic games to the recent reboot...and beyond.

"It's true that the earliest games didn't really give deeply emotional motives to the characters, but damn, they were fun. And groundbreaking in several ways," Simone said." The way I see Lara now is, she's not after treasure. She's not really after thrills. She's a questioner, she's an explorer. She wants answers. The thing is, she's completely unstoppable. That's what I love. Everyone underestimates her, and that is a terrible mistake to make."

Along with Simone as storyteller, the series features penciller Nicolás Daniel Selma, inker Juan Gedeon, colorist Michael Atiyeh, and cover artists Dan Dos Santos (#1), Dan Scott (#2), and Ariel Olivetti (#3).

Tomb Raider: The Beginning
The original Tomb Raider comic series was published by Top Cow between 1999 and 2005. We first heard about the comic relaunch when game developer Crystal Dynamics announced a tie-in with TOMB RAIDER's release in March 2013. The 48-page hardcover, titled Tomb Raider: The Beginningwas penned by the game's lead writer, Rhianna Pratchett. It was originally offered as a pre-order bonus but is now available separately.

Last summer Simone announced her involvement in the project, which will serve as a bridge between the most recent Tomb Raider game and its sequel. For ongoing updates follow her and Dark Horse on Twitter (@GailSimone and @DarkHorseComics), or check out the Dark Horse website.

UPDATE: Here's another interview with Gail - "Gail Simone Aims High with 'Completely Badass' Tomb Raider" (via Comic Book Resources).