The latest issue of american gaming magazine Game Informer is out today, and it contains a lengthy feature on Rise of the Tomb Raider with plenty of new details.
First up is the inclusion of multiple environments, rather than the single island setting of the 2013 reboot. Siberia is mentioned, and jungle and desert environments are also hinted at. Could Lara be about to spend some time in Egypt?
Developer Crystal Dynamics also spoke about some of the enhancements they were able to make to the sequel. Improved AI is mentioned, along with dynamic weather that affects enemies’ visibility and hearing. So in a storm, for example, it will be a lot easier for Lara to sneak around unnoticed instead of being drawn into firefights.
Puzzles have also been rethought. If you played the last game, you might recall how many of the game’s “puzzles” had a tendency to highlight solutions, rendering them largely superfluous. This time around, they’ll be more intricate and Lara will even have to participate in some code-breaking in order to make progress.
Perhaps the most exciting information is the addition of a greatly expanded crafting system. Rather than simply gathering equipment, weapons and ammunition from enemies and the environment, this time Lara will be able to gather minerals, plants and other resources and use them to create traps, projectiles and different ammunition types, such as poisonous arrows. This sounds a lot more logical than the last game’s simple XP system that saw you slaughtering wildlife left, right and center, and is more in keeping with the survivalist theme of the new series. Hunting is also due to make a return and is said to be more involved this time around, with certain animals only coming out at night time, and behavior affected by the weather in a similar way to human enemies. Similarly to Far Cry 4, some unique monsters will reward Lara with a special hide, tying into some kind of reward system for tracking down and defeating the most difficult prey – which sounds a little reminiscent of Capcom’s Monster Hunter series.
Lastly, more about the game’s story has been revealed. We already know that Rise of the Tomb Raider sees an emotionally damaged Lara attempting to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder following her ordeal in the previous game, while no-one believes her story about supernatural forces. So she, along with her sidekick Jonah Maiava (returning from his appearance in Tomb Raider), travel to Siberia hoping to find an ancient invisible city and obtain evidence backing up her claims.
While Crystal Dynamics is working on the Xbox One version of the game, development of the 360 version is being handled by Nixxes Software, a Dutch company who specializes in porting games to different platforms, and has worked closely with Crystal Dynamics in the past. Among their portfolio is the Dremacast port of Leacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, and the Xbox 360 version of the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is due out at the end of 2015 on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, though Microsoft has made comments which suggest its exclusivity to their consoles is a timed deal – opening the possibility that it will later be ported to PS3 and PS4. There’s been no outright confirmation of this, however, and Crystal Dynamics doesn’t mention it in Game Informer’s feature coverage. Here’s the trailer from the game’s initial reveal during last year’s E3:
While many found 2013’s reboot of Ms. Croft to be disappointingly linear and moving too far away from the series’ heritage – Lara didn’t even explore any actual tombs, after all – Wesley Copeland, writing for Continue Play, rather enjoyed it, despite acknowledging that it came very close on a number of occasions to being an outright failure. “Tomb Raider narrowly avoids a death sentence. On one hand, there are faults that make it laughable – and not in the way fighting a T-Rex is,” he wrote in his 8/10 Tomb Raider Review. “On the other, it makes up for its faults and leaves the player feeling immensely satisfied and like they’ve experienced something brilliant.”