October 22, 2014

Extra Life 2014 Charity Marathon and Prize Raffle

Hello friends and fellow raiders. This weekend, October 25-26, 2014, I will be participating in Extra Life, a 24-hour gaming marathon to benefit Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Please sponsor me!

I will be gaming for Boston Children's Hospital, which provides specialized care for children from across North America and more than 100 other countries. If you'd rather support a local hospital, I encourage you to check out this list of Team Tomb Raider Community members. There are 22 of us playing for 19 different hospitals.

Donating online is safe and easy. Just visit my Extra Life page to get started. If you'd like to donate offline with a check or money order made out to "Children's Miracle Network Hospitals," that's fine too. Contact me and we'll work out the details. Your contribution is tax deductible and ALL PROCEEDS go to help hospitalized kids.

In case you need a little incentive to help out, I will be hosting a Tomb Raider livestream and PRIZE RAFFLE throughout the marathon weekend. I hope you'll join me and the team. We'll be playing and chatting on Twitch.tv and Livestream.com. You can also follow me on Twitter for regular updates on the the games we're streaming, guest players, and our fundraising progress throughout the event. For a chance to win some awesome Tomb Raider swag, just click the banner below and fill out the entry form.

Extra Life Prize Raffle

Questions? Contact me by emailFacebook, or Twitter.

Thank you for caring!

Video courtesy of Extra Life.

October 16, 2014

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris PC System Requirements and More

As you all know, last week I met with our Community Manager, Meagan Marie, in New York and brought her a bunch of your questions about the upcoming games Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Since the Rise release is still quite a way off, those will have to wait, but she was able to consult the Temple of Osiris developers for details about that game. She also thanked everyone for their patience as she settles in at Crystal and gets back up to speed.

Several players asked: Will the Gold Edition physical goods be available separately in Europe as they are in the North American Square Enix store? (Apparently Xbox One players can't get the Gold Edition over there.)

We don't currently have any plans to do this. The Gold Edition in Europe will contain the physical elements as well as a disc for the game, either on PS4 or PC, and a code for the season pass.

(If you don't mind paying for overseas shipping, fans outside North America can order the Gold Edition Physical Goods from the North American Square Enix Store. Note that the product description says it includes the season pass. This is not correct. The physical goods package includes the Lara figurine, art book, and map. The game and season pass are available separately. –Stella)

Harry (from The Music of Tomb Raider fansite) asks: Will there be an official soundtrack release for Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, as Al Wilmer teased.

No news as of this moment.

Filarwen asks: Will Temple of Osiris support mixed local/online coop so that 4 people play with two computers online with each other?

Yes, the game is drop-in, drop-out co-op, allowing you to play with two people on the couch, and two people online, or any mixture thereof.

And-Ray asks: Will there be any type of CD version for LCTOO?

The Gold Edition in Europe for PC and PS4 will have a disk. In North America, the Gold Edition box contains all of the physical collectibles, and then digital download codes for the game and the season pass are provided separately.

Maël asks: Does the game have some Easter eggs from past games?

We pay tribute to past games through costumes such as the Legend Lara pack. As for Easter eggs, you'll have to wait and see.

Several people asked about the PC system requirements. Meagan has promised to share them in her Friday fan-site update. In the mean time, Steam has posted the following list, which I will amend if necessary tomorrow.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris PC System Requirements

OS: Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
Processor: 2.0 GHz high end Dual Core CPU
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6000 series or better / NVidia GeForce 500 series or better
DirectX: Version 11
Hard drive space: 4 GB

OS: Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
Processor: Quad core CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 or Intel Core i5-750
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD R7/ NVidia GTX 650
DirectX: Version 11
Hard drive space: 4 GB

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris screenshot - click to enlarge

October 13, 2014

Quick, Last-Minute Tomb Raider Halloween Costumes

Sara has been a cosplayer and webmaster for nearly 10 years. Visit her site for a full bio and photos.
If you've put off your Lara Croft Halloween costume until now, don't worry; we've got you covered. Guest blogger Sara from laracroftcosplay.com presents six ideas to complete your costume in no time.

Halloween is about 3 weeks away and you can order all this from eBay, your favorite trusted online store, or your local clothes/sporting goods place. If you are buying online, make sure the delivery times are short before you commit.

From classic Lara to her latest incarnation, we have something for everybody, these are not meant to be exact replicas of Lara's outfits. As the title suggests, they are your last-minute DIY solutions.

Tomb Raider 1: Lara's Home Outfit

Quick and easy Lara Croft costume from Tomb Raider 1

This is one of the easiest costumes to replicate in a pinch. All you need is a sports bra, sweat pants and two wrist sweat bands.

If you are at home, you won't need any shoes. If you are going out then you can add your sneakers to this look, put your hair in a bun and you'll be good to go!

Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness Denim Outfit

Quick and easy Lara Croft costume from Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness

Also an incredibly easy outfit to recreate, since everyone owns denim jeans and some kind of black top.

If you are buying a denim jacket, make sure that it's cropped. As for your shoes, you really can't go wrong here, just plain brown/black boots will work. Add a pair of sunglasses for the finishing touch. If you don't have one, try a friend or a family member.

Tomb Raider Legend Tokyo Dress (Not Ripped)

Quick and easy Lara Croft costume from Tomb Raider Legend

This is a very classy look for maybe a club Halloween party. True, it does not look like a Lara outfit when seen by people who don't know her, but it's still an amazing outfit that is really easy and perfect for your last-minute rush. Add a pair of toy pistols and you'll be more easily recognized. I would buy the dress and shoes online. As for the accessories, I'd recommend you try to find black shoe laces to make the necklace and the bracelet out of.

The purse is not necessary but great to put your things in while out and about. You can always borrow it from a friend or family member if you don't already own one.

Tomb Raider Legend: Biker No Jacket

Quick and easy Lara Croft biker costume from Tomb Raider Legend

Biker Lara is sexy yet it's perfect for the brisk month of October. All you will need is a gray long sleeve V-neck, black faux leather leggings, your old pair of boots, a black backpack, and because you will probably not have any time to craft the holsters, you can carry your prop guns and just wear a belt over the shirt like Lara does.

ebay Search: Leggings, Shirt, Guns

Tomb Raider 2013: Clean Lara

Quick and easy Lara Croft survivor costume

Although this clean Lara costume seems simple, it might be a bit tricky to execute. Cargo pants are incredibly hard to find if you are on a tight budget. Since this is only for Halloween, you might want to just wear plain brown pants.

The tank tops and the boots are easy. Even if your boots are higher, you can pull your pants over them to hide the top portion. As for the necklace, if you don't have time to make one yourself, you can find various replicas of Lara's pendant on Etsy, including my own custom-made version. Or skip the pendant and just wear a shoelace or a piece of brown yarn around your neck.

Tomb Raider 2013: Muddy/Bloody Lara *Early in the game*

Quick and easy Lara Croft survivor costume

Dirty/Bloody Lara is probably the best costume to keep in the spirit of Halloween. You can cosplay the version of Lara where she's just out of the caves (first few minutes of gameplay) so you don't have to have all the accessories.

If you are willing to cut up your clothes, rip up your blue tank top and cargo pants. Then add blood and brown acrylic paint to simulate dirt and mud (to the clothes). Put the same brown acrylic on gauze bandages and wrap them around your thigh and boots as pictured above.

Use brown eyeshadow all over your body to simulate dirt there too, and don't forget about your face and Lara's wound (the puncture wound under her rib).

Thank you so much for reading. I really hope this helps you out. Thank you, Stella, for having me guest blog again! Have a happy and safe Halloween!

If you need more detailed tutorials, or if you want help making a different Lara Croft outfit, visit Sara's site, laracroftcosplay.com. She has also contributed two other articles to this blog: Creating Your Own Classic Lara Croft Halloween Costume and Releasing Your Inner Lara: Tomb Raider Cosplay.

Garment pictures from eBay. Tomb Raider Pictures from Core Design and Crystal Dynamics.

October 12, 2014

Rise of the Tomb Raider Petition Nets 15,000 Signatures from 128 Countries

Here's one more quick update about the Rise of the Tomb Raider Petition we started back in August. After submitting the signatures to Crystal Dynamics Friday (details), I decided to crunch a few numbers and share the results with you all.

Pie chart showing the Rise of the Tomb Raider petition signatures by country
Rise of the Tomb Raider petition signatures by country - click to enlarge

The pie chart above shows the number of signatures from each of the top 18 countries at a glance. (I arbitrarily included countries with 150 or more signatures in the chart. Any more would have made it difficult to read.)

*The "other/none" category encompasses the signatures from the remaining 111 countries, as well as the 23 people who left the country field blank. In the interest of full disclosure, I removed 42 gibberish and prank entries before submitting the petition. These are not counted as part of the total. The list below includes a more detailed breakdown.

Country Signatures
United States 3815
United Kingdom 2162
France 1346
Germany 706
Spain 669
Brazil 544
Canada 487
Australia 474
Russian Federation 388
Poland 345
Portugal 261
Italy 253
Belgium 228
Sweden 205
Netherlands 193
Mexico 161
Hungary 153
Ireland 138
Argentina 136
Romania 120
Finland 95
South Africa 93
India 90
New Zealand 88
Chile 77
Malaysia 75
Switzerland 74
Denmark 72
Norway 72
Czech Republic 69
Saudi Arabia 69
Turkey 69
Greece 67
Croatia 64
Austria 63
Ukraine 60
Bulgaria 43
Philippines 43
Serbia 43
Venezuela 42
Israel 40
United Arab Emirates 37
Colombia 33
Singapore 33
Indonesia 31
Slovakia 27
Pakistan 26
Belarus 25
Peru 25
Costa Rica 23
Slovenia 19
Iceland 18
Malta 18
Ecuador 17
Egypt 17
Algeria 16
Georgia 15
Thailand 15
Bosnia and Herzegovina 14
Estonia 14
Hong Kong 14
Japan 14
China 13
Latvia 13
Lebanon 13
Bangladesh 12
Kuwait 12
Macedonia 12
Panama 11
Réunion 11
Taiwan 11
Lithuania 10
Jordan 9
Luxembourg 9
Tunisia 9
Azerbaijan 8
Kazakhstan 8
Mauritius 8
Qatar 8
Dominican Republic 7
Libya 7
Uruguay 7
Bahrain 6
Iraq 6
Kenya 6
Korea 6
Paraguay 6
Sri Lanka 6
Cyprus 5
El Salvador 4
Guam 4
Guatemala 4
Nicaragua 4
Uzbekistan 4
Albania 3
Aruba 3
Ghana 3
Gibraltar 3
Guadeloupe 3
Honduras 3
Iran 3
Palestine 3
French Guiana 2
Jamaica 2
Martinique 2
New Caledonia 2
Nigeria 2
Vietnam 2
Andorra 1
Armenia 1
Bahamas 1
Cambodia 1
Cape Verde 1
Cayman Islands 1
Congo 1
French Polynesia 1
Greenland 1
Grenada 1
Guernsey 1
Haiti 1
Jersey 1
Myanmar 1
Namibia 1
Nepal 1
St. Vincent 1
Syria 1
Trinidad and Tobago 1
Zimbabwe 1
[Country left blank] 23
TOTAL 14981

There have also beeen a few new signatures since I submitted the printed petition, bringing the total to more than 15,000 even with the prank entries removed.

Again, I want to thank everyone who signed, submitted their comments to the developers, and helped to spread the word. I don't know if it will make any difference, but I'm proud of us for coming together around this issue.

Rise of the Tomb Raider petition

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.