Up to now, Tomb Raider's promotional trailers have been brutal, harrowing and even controversial. With the latest we're demonstrably moving into the next phase of the Lara's struggle for survival, which I'm colloquially calling "Lara kills all of the people".
It's been a while since we've heard anything new about Lara Croft's ambition to collect even more bruises in the Tomb Raider reboot, but in a Twitter Q&A held last weekend (via Eurogamer), Crystal Dynamics Global Brand Director Karl Stewart wrote that Lara's journey needs "12 to 15" hours to complete. Additionally, Stewart revealed that there will be no swimming in the game.
Lara Croft and the Spear of Infinite Spearing would be a better name for this top-down Tomb Raider, which has won me over in the last half-hour by being both good and also sort-of free. RPS note that it's available to play in Chrome now through the Core site, which lets you watch ad to earn game time. Six minutes in, the game minimizes and a box pops up offering a choice of advertisements, each worth a different number of minutes.
I watched a one minute advert for Mini Ninjas and got 24 minutes of play, which seems like a reasonable deal if you're just looking to try it out. If you can't stand those sudden interruptions, you can play the ad-free version for $10. If you're not interested in this browser-based malarky a demo is also available through Steam.
While fun is their primary goal, games often portray themes courting controversy as a means of conveying more meaningful and mature experiences. Crystal Dynamics' reboot of Tomb Raider pairs the franchise's staple action-heavy content with a younger, frightened, and more vulnerable Lara Croft -- human-like traits of weakness which came into focus after a particular scene within gameplay footage shown at this year's E3 included an apparent rape attempt on the battered explorer. Crystal Dynamics later quieted the ensuing public outcry by disproving any perceived themes of sexual assault, but in a new interview with GameSpot, Tomb Raider Lead Writer Rhianna Pratchett sees "no reason" why general game storytelling shouldn't touch upon sensitive topics.
These tidings come from Edge's Tomb Raider interview with art director Brian Horton, who says the PC version of the game, scheduled to arrive alongside its console brethren in March, has been specially crafted for the platform to deliver all the extra graphical sparkle that the discerning desktop player will demand.
The E3 footage of the next Tomb Raider game caused some concern. Is that creepy guy trying to rape Lara Croft? Anyone wondering was given their answer by executive producer Ron Rosenberg, who told Kotaku that these scavengers do "try to rape her".
Developer Crystal Dynamics released a statement saying he mis-spoke, and that sexual assault is not a theme at any point. But it didn't seem to persuade many - the barrage of opinion pieces condemning the inclusion of attempted rape in a videogame barely slowed.
If we were discussing a film, the debate might rage on for years. But Tomb Raider is a game, and in this case we don't have to deal in hypotheticals. What would this guy have done if Lara hadn't fought him off? I played it, and found out.
Tomb Raider spin off Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light will be coming to the Chrome app store this Autumn, according to Venturebeat. The game will join Bastion and From Dust amongst Google's growing line up of browser based games.
There was some scepticism when I suggested that there might be a lot of bows fired at E3 this year, but even discounting the likes of Crysis 3 and Assassin's Creed 3, Lara gave us plenty of twang-thud when the new Tomb Raider was shown at E3 on Monday. It follows, then, that the E3 screenshots should feature Lara's new weapon of choice. There she is above, taking aim at the first of a billion animals. In the images that follow, you'll also see her pointing it unhelpfully at a hostage situation, and learn the bow's tragic origin story (it belonged to a dead dude that Lara finds in a tree). Here they are, click to see them full size.
E3 has finally delivered a lingering look at Lara's new adventure, and has left me with conflicting impressions. It's beautiful, but narrow. The demo shows Lara fighting her way through a winding corridor staffed by goons. She dispatches them with a flaming bow with more callousness than she showed that deer in the recent Tomb Raider trailer and then proceeds to fall over things, into things and through things, becoming progressively more and more battered with every tumble.
Most of the footage of the game so far has shown Lara being beaten bloody. It's painful to watch, but there's a bit of promise at the end when Lara stands up and is confronted by a huge, exotic vista. If we get the opportunity to properly explore that, Tomb Raider could be rather good.
"I hate Tombs!" declares accident prone Lara Croft at the end of the new Tomb Raider trailer. Crystal Dynamics are taking a step back in time with their Tomb Raider reboot to a time before Lara had established herself as a calm, somersaulting, tiger-blasting professional adventurer. She's unsure, unsteady, and unable to walk three feet without stepping in a bear trap, falling on a spike, setting off a rock slide, annoying some local cannibals, provoking an angry dog, bringing down an aeroplane. the list goes on. This is a pretty scripted early look, hopefully we'll get to see more island exploration at E3 next week. It's out March 5 next year.
We can already sense a couple of potential E3 2012 trends emerging here. The E3 2012 trend tally currently looks like this: Dogs fought: 1. Bows fired: 1. IT BEGINS.
Oh dear, Lara's gotten a bit lost. A post on the Tomb Raider forums spotted by CVG says that the game's been delayed until the start of 2013. It was initially due to come out in Autumn. "We’re doing things that are completely new to Tomb Raider in this game and the additional development time will allow us to put the finishing touches into the game and polish it to a level that you deserve," writes Crystal Dynamics studio head Darrell Gallagher.
The Tomb Raider reboot will have Lara fighting for survival on a mysterious island. If anything, the delay will give the wildlife a few months of respite before she charges in and starts wanging arrows everywhere. Find out more about Lara's new adventure in our Tomb Raider preview and get a closer look in these Tomb Raider screenshots.
AA fresh boatload of Tomb Raider screenshots have landed. Most are taken from the demo level shown at the E3 2011 Microsoft press conference yesterday. The injured old man Lara tends to in the first few screens can also be seen in the Tomb Raider cinematic trailer. Lara grabs onto his hand before she falls into the sea. Looks like he's going to be an important character.
Yet more in-game footage has drizzled from Microsoft's E3 press conference, this time of the snazzy-looking Tomb Raider reboot. This duo of videos is taken straight from the game, and starts with Lara captive on a 'mysterious island', trussed up like a spider's dinner. Watch, as she swings out of danger! Wince, as she impales various bits of herself on spikes! Feel a bit uncomfortable, as she spends a solid four minutes grunting, moaning, shrieking, and gasping! The second half of the video's on the other side of this cut.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light turned out to be really rather good, but it was missing a crucial feature on release: you could only play the excellent co-op mode locally. Thanks to the latest Steam patch, that is no longer the case. Players can now combine forces over the internet to stop the dark god Xolotl, so if you were waiting for this patch to pick up the game, now's the time. It's available to buy on Steam, to find out why it's so good, check out our review.
The only thing stopping this being the best Tomb Raider game around is that, technically, it isn’t one. Yes, Lara’s still on the hunt for lost treasure, a one-woman extinction event for giant monsters and any uppity ancient gods, but all the actual details have been thrown out to create a very different kind of adventure. The camera is now locked up on high. The jumping is fast, fluid and never frustrating. Even the shooting is enjoyable. Clearly, this is not Tomb Raider as we know it.
You might have heard that Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is Indiana Jones-meets-Diablo: isometric Mayan dungeon crawling where hell's minions are swapped for giant spiders, spells traded for pistols and flamethrowers. But developer Crystal Dynamics is keen on downplaying any comparison between Diablo and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. I got to play it for myself in co-op with the game's creative director Daniel Neuburger, so here's my take.