Tomb Raider FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions - Last Updated: September 3, 2013
Below you’ll find an archive of common questions regarding Crystal Dynamics and its products, answered by Global Brand Director Karl Stewart (KS) and Community & Communication Manager Meagan Marie (MM). This FAQ will be updated as new questions come in, so check back regularly.
Tomb Raider will be simultaneously released worldwide on March 5, 2013 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
Tomb Raider is rated M (Mature 17+) by the ESRB and 18 by PEGI.
Tomb Raider is now available for pre-order in Standard, Collector's, Survival and Final Hours Editions (region/retailer dependent). For details, visit TombRaider.com.
Tomb Raider's PC System Requirements have been officially announced - click here!
Tomb Raider's Achievements have been officially announced - click here!
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1) VaBanes: Would you consider to tell us more about Lara in common? Ordinary things like what's her favorite music or food or do you think this could create some sort of "fan wars"?
Noah Hughes: I think we will tend to do that through the writing itself in the game. Some things got cut, like the scene where Lara’s love of Jaffa Cakes comes through. But it is important to us that when we need to express some of her quirks and humanity that we have a framework for it. It’s best done in the context of a scene. I’m hesitant to release a “my favorite things” journal by Lara. So my hope is that we’ll reveal these sorts of things about Lara through the story we tell.
Part of it is, also, the more specific we get the more distant Lara can feel. Lara has so many universal traits that resonate with lots of people. So it’s not that she doesn’t have specific tastes, it’s just that we try to focus on the universally aspirational features of Lara. [From official forum Q&A session #17 (January 2014)]
2) TheNarrator: Is there anything Lara is really bad at / scared of? Or is she some sort of an all-round talent? Maybe even something rather rediculous like the Corgi of her aunt?
Noah Hughes: One of the things that Lara is afraid of at this stage in her life is…Lara’s opening sentiment in the last game. Wanting to make her mark. Lara is searching for her own identity, and part of that identity is being somebody, or making her mark, or discovering something important.
She has these big dreams and so part of her fears that she won’t realize these dreams. So without getting into specific phobias and stuff like that, at this stage she’s so caught up in trying to understand what her place in the world is, and part of that is believing that she’s meant to discover something and has significance in the world. [From official forum Q&A session #17 (January 2014)]
3) XylophoneDealers: Where does Lara actually live?
Noah: In a flat in London! [From official forum Q&A session #17 (January 2014)]
4) Chocolate: What happened to Yamatai after the events of TR2013 ? Was it claimed by the Japanese government?
Noah: The answer is that we may explore that in the future, but we’re not sharing what happened yet. Spoilers! [From official forum Q&A session #17 (January 2014)]
5) Shaikh: Since Tomb Raider Definition Edition is coming to next-gen consoles, does that mean the current Crystal Engine is powerful enough to make the future installment in the franchise? Or do we see another technological jump in graphics for the next game?
Noah: We made major overhauls to the Crystal Engine to make Tomb Raider, and then we made a lot of enhancements in the Definitive Edition. We’ll likely make some significant enhancements for the sequel as well. So we benefit from the robust and mature toolset and foundational technology of the Crystal Engine, but each time out we overhaul whatever is needed to make the game we want. [From official forum Q&A session #17 (January 2014)]
6) 220_Volts: So we know that the comics continue the plot of TR, but will what happens in the comics continue over to the games and vice versa?
Noah: They don’t play off each other so much that you’d feel left out if you don’t read the comics or vice versa. But, the hope is that if you do play the game and read the comics you’ll see connections in both directions. [From official forum Q&A session #17 (January 2014)]
7) JessyBrody: Why did Sam have two different voice actresses in TR9?
Noah: Sam was one of the characters that was iterated quite a bit early on. With Sam in particular when we got the first draft of the cinematics done we weren’t happy with her characterization. So it was less about the performance of the actress from a quality perspective, and more about capturing the Sam character that we wanted. We felt that it wasn’t quite Sam, and we found someone we felt sounded more like Lara’s best friend. We have both Sams in the game, though. We kept the first Sam as the voice of the Sun Queen when she’s speaking Japanese. [From official forum Q&A session #17 (January 2014)]
8) Cutoutgalaxies: In the TR9 concept art you had a really good-looking, realistic render of Alex. Did you base his looks on a real person? If yes, who?
Noah: Yes, we did photo composites for all of the characters, but I don’t know who he is. Good luck finding him! I can tell you it isn’t Daniel Radcliffe. [From official forum Q&A session #17 (January 2014)]
9) EVERYONE EVER ON THE FORUMS: Will Sam and Lara be together? Does one have feelings for the other?!
Meagan: OKAY GUYS. Noah has discussed at least twice now that Lara’s ambitions take priority over relationships in her life. He’s also stated that yes; Lara does have emotions like any other human, and the capacity to feel romantically for another person. We’re not getting more specific than this. And just for the record, if Lara did have feelings for another person, would you really want to find out about it in a dev Q&A? How is that romantic?! :P [From official forum Q&A session #17 (January 2014)]
Will a romantic relationship be considered for Lara?
Noah Hughes: I can answer this question in a general sense, as pertains to all friendships and relationships in Lara’s life.
Lara’s pursuit and journey to becoming a Tomb Raider is almost an involuntary obsession. It starts as her being an archeology geek, but it becomes an all-consuming passion that ultimately she’s willing to risk her life for. And so part of Lara’s journey is to struggle with balancing what it means to be a young person growing up, and what it means to have the responsibilities of a Tomb Raider. Lara has to prioritize. She doesn’t have room for a significant other in her life – she doesn’t have enough left over after archeology and what becomes Tomb Raiding. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have feelings.
So what we play with a little bit during her journey in these early years is the tension between the life she might have lead if she didn’t get sucked down this rabbit hole. We’re delivering on not the normal life, but the Tomb Raider life. She is so dedicated and obsessed and focused that she doesn’t have room for these other things.[From official forum Q&A session #14 (August 2013)]
Was underwater swimming considered during development of TR9?
A Big House asks: At any point during pre-prod, did anyone think that underwater swimming could have been incorporated into the game to create a whole new level of combat and puzzle solving? If so, explain everything?
Noah Hughes: In my mind and vision of Tomb Raiding, underwater exploration is an exciting facet of discovery. Really, our decisions to include or not include it – and we did think about it – is taken from a practical standpoint. It isn’t indicative of Lara not being able to swim.
We instead operate from a perspective that all the things Lara can do need to be done well. We’re adding to our set of fun and awesome Tomb Raider verbs, and when we take on something like swimming, it doesn’t leverage the other verbs. To just have underwater swimming loses some of it’s charm and takes the fun out of it. You want to explore and interact and even fight underwater. So that becomes a fairly ambitious mechanic set – it’s a whole new flavor of all the other gameplay bits.
So to reassure you, we do see Lara as someone that would explore underwater places and tombs and we never rule it out, but we do struggle with the scope and scale of really delivering the full suite of underwater gameplay.[From official forum Q&A session #14 (August 2013)]
Did Camilla do her own stunts during motion capture sessions?
Yansazonov asks: Is it true that Camilla really does the tricks for the game? How
many and what sort? (In the end Lara is carrying Sam, for example).
A Big House asks: During the start of the game, we see Lara hanging upside down before setting herself on fire. During Camilla's time in The Volume, was she hung upside down for that particular part?
Noah Hughes: We did a lot of game sequences that were not captured, for example, like hanging upside down in the den. We captured Camilla’s voice for it, but we didn’t capture her performance, so that was done primarily by the animators. Whereas with something like jumping to Roth in the opening trailer, we really did make her jump and land against a wall, because we wanted to capture that scene and we benefited by really capturing physicality.
Other places like when she’s gets blown over by the wind, we had her tied to a rope and we’d yank her sideways. Because if she just jumped sideways, it would look like a jump. So any place we could capture her performance, we did put her through her paces, and that included throwing her at walls and tugging her from ropes, and fighting – we actually had them flip her. In some cases we would get stunt doubles to do the pure action moments, but in most cases we’d get acting right into those action moments, and so when we were doing that it was best to use Camilla. [From official forum Q&A session #14 (August 2013)]
Will leveling and upgrading play a role in next games?
Adobe Artist asks: Since the new game was all about Lara growing and developing her survival skills, the leveling/upgrading mechanic was a great game play feature for the players to experience Lara's growth alongside her. So for the next game will we see a return of this game design?
But would that also mean starting over (level 1 again) to upgrade all over again, which in a sense would be undoing all the progress she made as a person in the first game (of this new timeline)? Or do you now feel a leveling/upgrading system is no longer necessary for the next stage of Lara's adventures, when she's at that point of already being fully developed coming out of the island experience?
Noah Hughes: We feel that leveling and upgrading still has a role in the future, and part of this is because we want to deliver on the longer journey of her becoming a Tomb Raider. [From official forum Q&A session #14 (August 2013)]
Will Lara look the same in the next game?
Noah Hughes: We’ll certainly be looking to take advantage of next gen technology, but right now it’s too early to say any more than that! [From official forum Q&A session #14 (August 2013)]
Klona: Sam was supposed to die, do you think keeping her alive was an incorrect decision since it was supposed to teach Lara about sacrifices she has to make by killing her own friend? (her talk with Roth)
Noah Hughes: On some level, it felt like a lot of Lara’s arc could happen with or without Sam dying at her own hand. There was some bold emphasis on that moment of sacrifice that could have been powerful. But Lara’s journey was generally one of endurance and sacrifice without that Sam moment. In the end, rising to that challenge is ultimately a personal sacrifice on some level. Having Lara give up on her old belief structure and be willing to believe that the myths on the island could be real was an important sacrifice for her. And ultimately, what she went through changed her. And that was the important piece of that story. Each of those things that she had to endure on the island may have seemed like scars at the time, but they helped forge her to the stronger survivor that we see at the end of that story, more capable of going to her future adventure.
It felt like Lara’s arc could be fulfilled with or without that moment, and the trade-off was more about the drama of that final moment, and how that related to a sense of, on one hand, victory, or on the other hand, sort of a sacrificial poignancy. Pushing the scene towards a sense of victory did feel better to more of our players, but didn’t necessarily break Lara’s arc. We felt that you could look at Lara at the end of the game, and see her as someone very different than who she started as, and see that as a sum of the things she’d been through, even without the death of Sam.[From official forum Q&A session #13 (June 2013)]
SpringAwaken: How did you come up with all the crew from the Endurance? they just came up, or you just got inspiration from something?
Noah Hughes: With Roth, we clearly drew inspiration from Shackleton. Not necessarily in terms of his visual characterization but we liked the way he represented that sense of expedition that Lara wanted to be a part of; but we also liked how he judged people based on their character rather than their résumé. So we saw Roth putting together this crew that was more about the fact that you could see the redeeming side of them, but they might not be the first choice in someone else’s crew. In some ways, we just fleshed out the crew under that vision for Roth. Sort of a motley bunch.[From official forum Q&A session #13 (June 2013)]
Valenka: Tomb Raider has had its share of original themes as well as "real-world" elements (Mjolnir and Excalibur, Hel and Valhalla, even Queen Himiko); do you have any plans to continue referencing real themes, such as the Croatoan mystery, as hinted to at the end of Tomb Raider?
Noah Hughes: I think we intend to still take our inspiration from existing myths. In the case of the Dragon’s Triangle, it’s not even a myth, it’s a phenomenon. We like the idea of having that “Google-able” starting point for a lot of these things. That’s part of how we ground Lara’s experiences in our world, rather than living in a parallel world with made-up things. She’s really able to find these secret hidden things that we’ve only heard about in stories. [From official forum Q&A session #13 (June 2013)]
AdobeARTIST: Now that Lara has escaped the island and become the woman she's meant to be, will we see a return to Croft Manor in the next game, or any upcoming installment of the series?
Noah Hughes: I think that’s a good poll for you guys. What do you think?[From official forum Q&A session #13 (June 2013)]
Blackrook: Which games actually influenced the development of Tomb Raider? Are there any newer games (Bioshock Infinite, Metro: Last Light, The Last of Us, etc.) that show off any storytelling or gameplay techniques that you would like to explore further in a potential sequel?
Noah Hughes: We look at games like Last of Us – Naughty Dog in general does amazing storytelling – Last of Us is no exception. Things like their companion AI and their story techniques are very admirable. Obviously as we talk about our survival system, we look at games like Far Cry and even some classics like Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater – finding inspiration in those more systemic expressions of survival gameplay. [From official forum Q&A session #13 (June 2013)]
Blackrook: The reboot featured an extremely focused story for Lara and her Endurance crew peers. Is it possible we'll see a more player-influenced narrative for the characters in a potential sequel?
Noah Hughes: People would probably expect us to tell a core Lara story that has a fairly deterministic outcome. Part of what we tried to do was make sure that the player has meaningful choices outside of the core story, and finding ways to wrap those in fictional outcomes in things like mysteries on the island that aren’t fully solved when you beat the game – more a narrative parallel to Lara’s core story.[From official forum Q&A session #13 (June 2013)]
1) Blackrook: The reboot was fairly unique in its level design, combining the linearity needed to craft a cohesive story whilst maintaining a more open-ended scope within the individual hubs to keep alive the spirit of exploration. Did the decision to go this direction pose a particular challenge for the team, and do you guys think you'll employ it for future TR games down the line?
Noah Hughes: I think it was challenging, but it was so central to our vision for a Tomb Raider game that we always committed to it. The scope of the hubs was a challenge for us to build as a team early on, and we had to overhaul our technology to even be able to achieve it. But it was such a part of our vision to be able to tell a very strong version of Lara’s story, and also be able to share that player-driven sense of exploration. So because we wanted to share both of those things, this game structure was essential. We hope it is something people expect from a Tomb Raider game moving forward – a strong Lara story and a world full of exploration and discovery. We’re gong to try and continue to deliver against those goals in the best way possible. [From official forum Q&A session #12 (May 2013)]
2) Gumi: Was there going to be more weapons? Instead of 4 guns, It would be like.. Idk.. 6 guns?
Noah Hughes : We settled on four guns early on. However, we had played with some portable weapons at one point. They were weapons you couldn’t carry in your inventory, but you could pick up in the environment. An example of that would be a scavenger flamethrower. You wouldn’t necessarily stow that and then climb off, but you could use it in the area you found it. [From official forum Q&A session #12 (May 2013)]
3) Ninja: In your own opinion what is Lara's most admirable quality and her biggest character flaw?
Noah Hughes: I think she has a number of admirable qualities. The one that we focused on in this story, because it is one of her most defining characteristics, is her force of will. Her ability to really endure whatever it takes to achieve her goals. In the context of life or death survival, it makes a lot of sense. If you take Lara into the real world though, it is a really inspiring trait. To go on because we must.
In some ways, and we haven’t played with this to the extent that perhaps we will, but the other side of that same trait is one of her biggest character flaws. She can be so determined to achieve her goals that she is ignorant of the risks. In the beginning of Tomb Raider she was so set on finding Yamatai. By the end she finds that caution may have best tempered that passion. I think as we look at Lara getting this taste of the unknown, and having such a force of will, it may play out a bit similar to the “curiosity killed the cat.” She might get herself into trouble because of that trait.
[From official forum Q&A session #12 (May 2013)]
4) Valenka: I've noticed that you've instilled yet another mystery into the deaths of Lara's parents. Can we expect another Legend/Underworld debacle or will it be something that's never explained in detail?
Noah Hughes: In Underworld it was more about making her family Lara’s primary motivation, and we don’t intend to do so again. Having said that, as the story goes on, we’ll continue to showcase aspects of Lara’s backstory and losing her parents is a part of that backstory. It is an element that defined Lara’s character, so it may be referenced. [From official forum Q&A session #12 (May 2013)]
5) Hunter Wolfe18: During development, was there ever a time when Lara actually got to *explore* Himiko's palace?
Noah Hughes : That area was always intended as Lara escaping the belly of the beast, so we never had that as an exploration space. Upon building it we realized it was such a cool place, we had this sort of wishful thinking that it’s too bad it gets destroyed. Our goal is to allow retraversal of interesting spaces, and that would have been a good one. Something we’ll consider moving forward. [From official forum Q&A session #11 (May 2013)]
6) Hunter Wolfe18: Were there any HUB's that didn't make it into the game?! I'd love to hear about what they were and what Lara had to do there.
Noah Hughes: Structurally it was always three hubs, but we had different flavors for them over development. One of the most distinct of them was a sinkhole. It was a sunken palace instead of the shantytown. The idea that the ground below had swallowed up the palace on the hill. It was intended to showcase the fall of the queen’s empire and it predated the scavengers. Instead, rather than showcasing the fall of the queen’s empire, we ended up showing the symbiotic nature between the scavengers and the queen. [From official forum Q&A session #12 (May 2013)]
Sunken Temple Concept Art (click image to enlarge)
Will there be another spinoff title such as Guardian of Light? Will Lara ever be featured in Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale?
LaraRocks2 asks: This may be a little early or irrelevant to ask but: Does Crystal have any further intentions of continuing the spinoff "The Lara Croft and:" titles? Will Lara ever be featured in Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale?
Karl Stewart: Although we loved making LCGOL, we currently have no plans in the works to make a follow up to the title. But as we say at Crystal ‘Never say Never’.
With regards to the PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale question. We love what the guys and girls over at Sony have achieved with ASBR, they even approached us about the possibility of including Lara. But to be honest to us it all boiled down to timing. We really set out to create a reboot where the first time you experienced playing as Lara Croft it was in our game on March 5th and nowhere else. We’ll see what happens in the future. [From official forum Q&A session #11 (January 2013)]
Does Lara have an Inventory limit in regards to how many weapons she can have on her at one time?
(Question by KnightStar2001.)
Karl Stewart: Lara has a limit of four inventory slots, and therefore four weapons. We’ve detailed them at various points in time so far the bow, a pistol, a shotgun, and an assault rifle. Dont let the limited number fool you, though, as all of the weapons can be upgraded and modified in meaningful ways that drastically change combat. [From official forum Q&A session #11 (January 2013)]
What is the Endurance DLC pack?
(Question by Klona.)
Meagan Marie: Freebee question! The Endurance Pack DLC is actually the Shanty Town Multiplayer Map. It was originally named Endurance DLC because wed not yet revealed multiplayer. Sorry for the confusion! [From official forum Q&A session #11 (January 2013)]
Can you give some examples of what the game contains that warrants the 18/M rating?
Tecstar70 asks: This is the first Tomb Raider that's rated 18/M. There may be younger gamers who love Tomb Raider and some people will be wondering what the game contains that warrants this rating. I understand that you cant go into too much detail but can you give us any further specifics of the content or themes that attracted this rating by way of guidance?
Can the Guerilla, Aviator, & Hunter skins be used in multiplayer as well as the single player campaign?
Levyjl1988 asks: Will the preorder skins (Guerilla, Aviator, & Hunter) be used in multiplayer as well as Campaign?
Joe Khoury: The pre-order skins are designed specifically for single player. Multiplayer has its own unique offering of characters and skins. [From official forum Q&A session #11 (January 2013)]
Does progress in the single player game level up your character or unlock goodies in multiplayer?
A Big House asks: Lara as a MP character is only unlockable at level 60. Does your progression in SP gain you these levels, or do you have to level in MP only? And, will completing special objectives in SP unlock goodies in MP?
Joe Khoury: While thematically similar, we look at the two experiences as unique. You’ll need to have MP fun to unlock MP goodies. [From official forum Q&A session #11 (January 2013)]
Can you send text messages in multiplayer? Can you play offline in multiplayer against AI?
Jurre asks: Can players send text messages to each other in multiplayer? And can an offline player play around in the MP with AI players?
Joe Khoury: No, they can voice chat instead. That’s more fun than text messages, no? In regards to offline MP with AI, that is also a no. For us to provide the best PVP experience we needed to focus all of our attention on the systems involved. [From official forum Q&A session #11 (January 2013)]
Do we have an option in multiplayer to customize the selected player?
(Question by Blackseed32.)
Joe Khoury: We wanted you to reconnect with the characters you met in the single player campaign, and as such you can’t customize their physical appearance. You can however customize your skills and weapons. [From official forum Q&A session #11 (January 2013)]
Is there split-screen multiplayer?
(Question by Darksaivan.)
Joe Khoury: No, and this was a very tough decision to make. In order for us to remain faithful to the way the game looks and allow the player to enjoy the same scenery they did in SP, we had to make a call not to include split-screen. As much as we would have loved to have it, it wouldn’t have done our world justice. [From official forum Q&A session #11 (January 2013)]
A Brand New Tomb Raider
What’s a reboot?
KS: “Tomb Raider is an entirely new game featuring a new Lara Croft. To us ‘reboot’ means that the past Tomb Raider titles (including the settings, story, and characters native to them) exist as isolated experiences and are not related to this new game.”
Is Tomb Raider a prequel?
KS: “While Tomb Raider stars a 21-year-old Lara Croft, it isn’t a prequel to her other adventures. Rather, it’s an origin story with completely new canon (see question above).”
Why is the game called "Tomb Raider" without a subtitle?
KS: This new vision for the franchise, and for Lara, is a definitive blank slate for the franchise. A fresh start. The simple and classic title mirrors this sentiment. This is Tomb Raider without question, just retooled for a more modern audience. No subtitle needed. [From official forum Q&A session #4 (May 2012)]
Why create a reboot instead of a prequel?
KS: "A fresh entry point to the franchise means so much. It means more than just making sure that from a fans standpoint or from players that who played the original and hold it in high regard. You know that was 15 years ago. We know that was a product of its time and that was a very strong game when it came out. It stood the test of time for so long that now when we come out with this Tomb Raider, audiences have moved on. A very large percentage of the audience fully never played a Tomb Raider game so our concern was if you give it a tag line, at what point do you start to actually confuse the new players because they feel it's just another part of the series. So to us it's the day 1. If you're going to go with day 1, it's literally just that. I think on top of that Christopher Nolan stole Begins. He used it so we couldn't say Tomb Raider Begins *laugh* you know, but ultimately what we are trying to say is that this is the beginning. This is day 1 and that we want people to understand this is not a continuation of any. So it was a risk but I think it is paying off. People understand it." [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #11 (June 2012)]
Why did Crystal Dynamics decide on a Mature rating for Tomb Raider?
KS: “In the very early stages of concepting the reimagining of Tomb Raider it became evident that we were toning down the experiences that Lara would go through in order to fit in a T-rated game. It belittled the themes we felt so pivotal to delivering a new experience. We took some time and did some soul searching and decided that we had to move into the M-rated space. If we didn’t, the player would feel like the game was soft and light and that it wasn’t believable. It was a tough decision to make because there are many things to take into consideration including the age of our fans and the partners we can work with and even the times we can advertise our game. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but we believe we’ve made the right decision.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #2 (August 2011)]
Is Tomb Raider a survival horror game?
KS: “It’s funny that the term ‘survival horror’ has been used by the press, because it’s something we’re not trying to be. Obviously we’ve only shown off so much of the game till now and there is a sense of horror to it. It will be horrifying because you’re coming across people and instances and a world that is completely unfamiliar to you. The situations Lara will find herself in will require her to fight to survive. It’s more survival-adventure in our eyes. Lara is still a treasure hunter and adventurer looking for something new.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #4 (September 2011)]
Is the new Tomb Raider inspired by The Hunger Games?
KS: “No, it wasn't inspired by the Hunger Games. We had begin doing the re-imagining, and Lara having a bow, before the book came out in...late 2008, I believe? So Katniss has got similarities, without a doubt. I'm sure some of you have read my tweets. I was going through a state of listening to that, I think it took me like 48 hours or something on audiobook from my drives back forth, some stupid time... I love it, I think it's awesome, I can't wait to watch the movie. I actually tried to get my midnight tickets for IMAX. I'm excited to see where they've taken it. I've been reading some of the reviews over the last couple of days and I think they've put it in a good position.
"I have no doubt that over the coming months there will be a lot of comparisons drawn. We saw that way, way back when we had sat down with all of our visions, and kinda thought about the future of the franchise. And then not too long after, the Hunger Games book came out, which was relatively unknown for quite a while. People were talking about it, but it certainly didn't get anywhere close to where it is now with the movie being signed. I just think now, it's in the spotlight and people are making comparisons, but... No, I think it's great. Female characters, strong leads, bring 'em on. I think it's great." [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #8 (March 2012)]
Will the goal of this game be an artifact like all previous Tomb Raiders, or survival?
KS: “Lara has landed on an island that is shrouded in mystery, so obviously we want her to uncover that mystery. First and foremost she has to survive. There is a core discovery to be made, and that core discovery will unlock the mystery of the entire island and answer a lot of questions for you. There are items and artifacts that you have to pick up and find around the island, but everything points to this big discovery.” [From official forum Q&A session #1 (January 2012)]
Tomb Raider and previous Tomb Raiders
Will Tomb Raider feature Croft Manor or Lara’s butler Winston?
KS: [Laughing] “There won’t be a mansion on the island unless her parents had the foresight to send an architect there and build it without her knowing. And no, there aren’t any butlers in the game to lock into freezers.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #1 (July 2011)]
Will Lara ever wield dual pistols?
KS: “Everyone wants me to spoil it for them! You’ll have to wait and see. What I will say in relation to dual pistols, braids, and locking people in freezers, the idea is that as you play the game you’ll come across situations that become iconic and define the future of our heroine. If we decide that she will have dual pistols, then you will remember that moment for the rest of your days. You were there this time.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #6 (January 2012)]
Will the Doppelganger or Kurtis Trent make an appearance in Tomb Raider?
KS: [Laughing again] “No and no. I could sit here and try and elaborate, but neither of those characters play a part in this vision of Tomb Raider.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #3 (September 2011)]
Is Lara able to do acrobatics moves (jumps, flips, rolls, etc.) like in previous games?
KS: “While Lara is still extremely athletic, her moveset is more grounded and believable than in past Tomb Raider titles. Her impressive ability to traverse through rough and formidable terrain is still intact, however.” [From official forum Q&A session #2 (March 2012)]
What elements of past Lara incarnations do you still hope to bring out in this Lara?
KS: To us classic Lara and this new, younger Lara share more than a passing resemblance. Despite her inexperience, this Lara is intelligent, ambitious, adventurous, and loyal. She’s got real grit and determination, even if she hasn’t been put to the test just yet. Her affinity for archeology and ancient cultures remains of the highest importance, and it’s worth noting that Lara remains very physically fit. While a gymnasts’ flair may not be at the heart of her traversal, her physical endurance and fortitude are enviable. [From official forum Q&A session #4 (May 2012)]
Do you see TR1 as something you want to match up to or something you want fans to disconnect with?
SteveSpiral1 asks: There have been many posts questioning CD’s attitude towards the older games since the ‘forget everything’ line so I ask, do you see TR1 as something you want to match up to or something you want fans to disconnect with?
KS: In saying “Forget everything you know about Tomb Raider,” our intent wasn’t to disrespect the legacy franchise, nor to wipe the memory of Lara’s past adventures from existence. Rather, the message is representative of this new vision, and that we’re starting from scratch to rebuilding the character. It was intended to emphasize that there would be no cannon carried over from past games – this is a blank slate. In spirit, yes, we absolutely want fans to connect this game with what they loved about classic Tomb Raider. It should feel fresh, as our intent is to modernize and update the experience, but still familiar at the same time. [From official forum Q&A session #6 (July 2012)]
Is Lara’s birthday still February 14?
KS: “Let me see if I can answer this in a very constructive way. When we went back to look at this new vision of Lara, we tried to make sure that we positioned the character looking to the future. We had to be very cognizant about dating our character. In the past Lara’s birthday has been February 14, Valentine's Day. And in all of the characters that I've been studying really closely, we’ve found that there are certain personalities and certain things that you don’t need to get into that level of depth. It starts to break down that fourth wall a little bit too much. Look at James Bond. He doesn't have a birthday. Batman doesn't have a birthday. The Incredible Hulk doesn't have a birthday. So it's looking at characters and asking, ‘What is the rationale for having a birthday?’ So despite the fact that a lot of people will probably be a little bit peeved with us for not calling it out and saying, "Hey, February 14!", we look at it and kind of go, ‘Does she need to have a birthday? Is it something that we need to bring to her personality?’ And I think that the answer is no. Really, from our perspective, we don't want to date Lara. But we still keep her in our hearts.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #7 (February 2012)]
Will Lara still have her dark and sarcastic sense of humor from previous games?
KS: "we've been very careful to sort of make sure we present Lara as this young and ambitious character. She hasn't been out in the world and done this before. So she's kind of wanting to learn and evolve and... She was ambitious enough to want to get on the ship and go on this journey in the first place. We want to make sure that the character is of today, this is her first time. In past Tomb Raiders, there's been a sort of... An amount of arrogance or sarcasm in her voice when she says certain things. That's not a trait that you'll find in this Lara, and certainly not a trait that we currently have in the plans to shine through. We want the player to have an emotional attachment to this character, sort of see a personality which they feel is relevant to today. It's a bit, you know, again, it gets back to what I've given in the past about IPs. What James Bond said in the '60s is not what James Bond says today. If you were to take what he said 40 years ago and imply it to a character of today, people would look at it and go, "I don't understand. Why or how or... How relevant is that to today's audience?" We were very careful about the character expiration in development. Again, we're not going to get into spoilers and telling you what she does and doesn't say. But we made it very clear in the press demos that we've given, we show a side to Lara where even she doesn't believe that she's a Croft. She has to grow and she has to become somebody." [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #9 (April 2012)]
Will there only be one ending, or will we have different ones?
KS: As we’ve mentioned before, we have a very specific story to tell in Tomb Raider. Conversation trees and diverging storylines don’t have a place in this strong narrative. Therefore, there will be a singular outcome for everyone to experience, and enjoy. [From official forum Q&A session #4 (May 2012)]
How many hours is the Single Player game?
KS: "10 hours is the goal that we’ve set, to say that you could play the game in… That’s not replayability and it’s not all the other fun stuff, so in terms of the 10-hour thing, you have to put a number around it. We’re not going to lie and say it’s 16 hours plus or it’s five hours… You have to put a number around it. And all of our testing comes in around the 10-hour mark."
Kyle Peschel: "We’ve already had the focus testers we had to kick out of the building, right?"
KS: "Everybody has a different type of play style. So we have to get the aggregate and say… If you bring in X amount of people to play it and they decide to sit there and just play the game from start to finish in their own style, we have to find a benchmark of what we’re aiming towards. I think compared to many action-adventure games, single-player… 10 hours is pretty good. I’ve played a lot of single-player games and gotten through them in five and a half or six hours, and I feel like… Wow, that wasn’t very long at all. I think before you add in replayability and being able to go back into the hub spaces and re-traverse them, straight playthrough, I think 10 hours is awesome." [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #11 (June 2012)]
"12 to 15 + depending on your play style." [From official Tomb Raider Twitter (Nov 24, 2012)]
What was the thought process behind adding a multiplayer component to a franchise that has always been single player?
Joe Khoury: I’ll say it right out. I am one of those guys that doesn’t believe that every single game needs multiplayer. But this one felt like, with the theme of surviving together…
Daniel Bisson: There was some success with Guardian of Light. People loved it. I loved it. I played Guardian of Light at the time and loved playing with my friends and things like that. We said, “Hey, one idea is that…” A lot of games out there right now, when you finish the game, you’re like, “Okay, I’d like to continue in this universe. I’d like to continue in that world.” Because it’s a very rich world. When you play this game, the single-player, it’s a very rich world. There’s a lot of detail attached to it. A lot of things that you feel connected with. You’re like, “I want to continue!” A lot of people are talking about the game among each other. They share in the experience. We said, “How can we push that into Tomb Raider? How can we do what we did on Guardian of Light? How can we expose that rich universe and extend it and make sure that when people play it, they can share that experience and say, ‘Hey, that was pretty cool’?” One of the most important things for us was doing that. Let’s be able to play that experience, that unique universe, with friends. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #17 (January 2013)]
The multiplayer component of Tomb Raider was developed by Eidos Montreal. Was there a reason to have another studio develop it?
Darrell Gallagher: "It's something we talked about when creating the initial design for Tomb Raider, but it was very important that there weren't any distractions from our focus on delivering a great single player experience, so we parked the idea of creating multiplayer at Crystal Dynamics and looked to our sister studio, Eidos-Montréal. For me, the multi-player has to fit and it has to be fun or no one will play it. We’ve worked hard to make multiplayer fit seamlessly with the single player game and its key themes and we’ve play-tested the hell out of the multi-player game, it’s working well and gamers are enjoying it. Now we’re all just eager to get Tomb Raider into gamers’ hands in March so they can experience the entire game for themselves." [Eidos Montreal Community Blog (January 2013)]
Why is Lara the hardest playable character to unlock in Multiplayer?
Joe Khoury: "Because it’s Lara Croft. She is the coolest character. Not to take away from the other characters we have, which are also pretty cool, but let’s get real here. Lara Croft is the character that you’re going to want to play. There is a level-up system in the game. You progress. You get XP. You get salvage, which is basically our currency in the game, to upgrade and stuff like that. But at the same time, we want the players to aim for something. Lara Croft is aiming pretty high.
"The ramp-up is pretty quick. You’ll get good quickly and you’ll be able to unlock Lara quickly. At the same time, you’ll feel like you’ve aimed for something, something that’s rewarding, the pillar of this franchise. For us it was important to let the player know that Lara is special and that you’ve got to work your way up to get her." [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #17 (January 2013)]
The New Lara
Who is the voice actress for the new Lara?
Camilla Luddington is the English voice and performance actress for the new Lara. Additionally, Lara will be voiced by many actresses in other languages:
Why does Lara have a modern phone in the Turning Point trailer?
KS: “The reason Lara has a modern phone in our debut trailer is because Tomb Raider takes place with Lara at age 21 come launch day.”
Does Lara still study archaeology, and is she an aristocrat?
KS: “This is a very grounded Lara. She is still smart, she is still in college, and yes, she is still studying an element of archaeology. Is she an aristocrat? In this game we need to veer away from placing her in a social structure. She’s got a little bit of a back-story, but we don’t go into detail. Lara primarily wants to be accepted by her friends and by people in general. Her getting a job is more about wanting to socially convene with friends and be a team player rather than an issue of her not having any money. I don’t think we’d ever say ‘by the way, now she’s poor and from a broken home!’ That’s not Lara. Again, it’s not so much about financial status as it is the fact that she wants to gain experiences. That’s what Lara Croft is all about – gaining new experiences.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #4 (November 2011)]
Rhianna Pratchett: The word “aristocrat” doesn’t really exist as much in England as it used to. Certainly not when Lara first came out… I think people sort of mistake “aristocrat” with “royalty” and things like that. It’s not really used in that way anymore. So for example, we wouldn’t necessarily say that every lord is an aristocrat. I wouldn’t say that Lord Alan Sugar considers himself an aristocrat. My father is knight, he’s a Sir, but I don’t know if he considers himself an aristocrat. So Lara definitely comes from money. Her father is titled. At the start of the game her parents are missing. They’ve been missing for a number of years. That side of things is not touched in the game. Her parents don’t appear. So she technically has access to that money, but she doesn’t want to touch it for a number of reasons. For one, she very much wants to stand on her own two feet. She’s very… I don’t know about stubborn, but she wants to make her own way in the world on her own terms. She puts herself through university. She works several jobs in order to do so, one of which she mentions in the game. She talks about a late shift at the Nine Bells. She doesn’t use her family’s money to do that. She does it herself. Also, because her parents are missing, she doesn’t want to touch that money, because it would sort of be tantamount to admitting that they’re really gone, that they’re not going to come back. We explore this a bit more in the promotional comics. She actually ties up that wealth in trusts and all kinds of things so she can’t touch it, even if she wanted to, at this particular moment in the game. That’s not to say she won’t change her mind about it. But where she is now, we didn’t want that to be a factor. I wanted her to feel about it differently. I wanted her to feel something that I think modern audiences would accept a little bit more than the sort of throwing-money-all-over-the-place, gadgets-up-the-yin-yang, fancy this, fancy that… I think that’s hard to relate to, and a little bit crass in this day and age. She might get there one day, but this is how Lara feels at 21. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #15 (October 2012)]
Is the new Lara a "weak" character?
Rhianna Pratchett: I know that some people have felt that we’re breaking down Lara in this game. That we’re taking a strong character and sort of breaking her down through the events that happen. But that’s really not the case. What we’re doing is taking her back to a time when she didn’t have the answers to everything. She didn’t have the guns and the gadgets to deal with every situation. She was seeing everything with fresh eyes and she didn’t know she was capable of doing these things. So she’s on that mission of self-discovery. All those traits that she strengthens throughout the game are in her, absolutely in her, but they’ve not been brought out in such a way. That was really interesting from a writer’s perspective, to be able to do that. We haven’t really taken away from her. We’ve just wound her back. Everything is still there. It’s still embryonic within her. She’s discovering it at the same time as the players are. That’s delightful, when you can get players and player characters discovering everything for the first time. That’s a real sweet spot. That’s been very important. Particularly where her bravery comes in, that was something I wanted to look at. The fact that we do see her being scared and sobbing at certain points and turning to Roth for help… Yeah, she does seem a little bit helpless. Not necessarily what you want to do with a strong female character. But… That’s important. You see her grow. You see her actually having to face up to things. She’s utterly scared, but she realizes that she’s going to have to get herself out of this. That realization is powerful. I think it was a little bit shocking to players, to see Lara being scared. You rarely see characters being scared, especially when they’re usually seen as so strong and capable. I think that was a bit of a shock for people. But we’re playing a long game with Lara. When you see Lara scared and asking Roth for help, that’s very early on in the game. You see her basically having to pick herself up and say, “Okay, I have to do this one step at a time. If I get knocked down, I’ll get back up again.” It’s that character evolution and discovery of things inside herself… And discovering the magic in the world. Not necessarily supernatural magic, but her love of tombs and her geekiness about archaeology, that comes out as well. It’s not all doom and gloom. She gets excitable and almost bubbly… That kind of geeky archaeology student really comes out in certain places. That was a lot of fun to do. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #15 (October 2012)]
Now that Lara is more humanized, is there a potential for her to be involved in a relationship?
KS: “I’ve read and fed into the script now on many, many occasions, and I can tell you that there is no love interest in this game. She is trying to survive. She is busy. Surviving the situation is all she can cope with right now; surviving a relationship would be a bit tough. In one of the next releases we could possibly see this more human Lara meet someone, but that is way over the horizon.” [From official forum Q&A session #1 (January 2012)]
Will Lara talk to herself throughout the game as in the E3 demo? How do you balance self-narration with a sense of isolation?
KS: “When you try to reposition a brand and showcase a new vision, you have to go through a strong character arch. As we’ve stated, Lara is 21 years of age and straight out of college when she ends up in this situation. Just like anyone she is afraid and alone and most people would talk to themselves for hours on end just to keep their sanity.
“The goal as we move through the game is to see this huge character arc for Lara. Every day and every experience will make her stronger and make her closer to the Lara Croft we want her to be. So in the early stages you’ve seen her talking to herself or wincing or moaning, but won’t continue to the same degree. It’s a very serious thing for us, hitting that growth correctly. At the end of the game we want people to sit back and say ‘that’s Lara Croft.'” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #2 (August 2011)]
Is the model we’ve seen of Lara in the 2011 demos finished?
KS: “What you see right now is very early for Lara. We have artists working around the clock to get things like fabric and hair moving properly. This is one of the problems with showing content as early as we have been. There are certain things that will take the back burner until the game is finished internally and we get into a phase of polish. Lara’s hair is probably 40 or 50 percent of the way. The face of Lara and clothing of Lara is locked and won’t change, but details are still in flux. She’ll get much better.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #4 (September 2011)]
Why does Lara's hair look different in different screenshots?
Dark7Angel asks: "In the two screen shots we got this week it's possible to notice some differences, specially on the hair - in the one where Lara is on the tree, her hair looks amazingly polished but on the screen where Lara is using her bow, while definitely better than the screens from last year, it doesn't look as detailed as the other one.
So my question is: are these screens from different stages of development or is the screen of Lara on the tree from a cutscene and the other from gameplay??? Or some other explanation as to why they look different?"
KS: Both screens in question are taken from active gameplay and from the same build. In fact, we gathered a large batch of screens just last week in anticipation for our E3 presence. If you’re noting some discrepancies in her hair, it’s most likely due to different lighting and angles, and not an issue with the actual model. [From official forum Q&A session #4 (May 2012)]
Does Lara's watch function as a game mechanic, or is it just decorative?
Rai asks: We can see that Lara has a hand watch, which obviously sets time. Is there any other applicable-playable use for this or it's just decorative? (since she is not the only one who has one)
KS: In this instance the watch is purely decorative. Meaning, it’s not tied to any gameplay mechanics. That being said, the utilitarian nature and design gives even more insight into Lara. She’s less concerned about form than she is function.
[From official forum Q&A session #9 (November 2012)]
Is there a significance to Lara's jade necklace, and how come Lara isn't wearing it in the Turning Point trailer?
KS: This jade necklace is something we toyed around with quite a lot is to try and figure out how it played a part and it does play a part. It's not an integral part of the story but it has some symbolic value that you will see start to play through so we've had it in and out of in render out render. It's not an asset or an element that you will feel “Oh my god. I needed to know how she got that” but certainly there is a story behind it and we will flesh it out. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #11 (June 2012)]
MM: There’s a special meaning behind the necklace. It’s something that you’ll find out at some point. When we did the initial trailer, we hadn’t quite decided when it was going to be on yet. So I know that there’s a little discrepancy. People are trying to work out when she gets it, and there’s a little bit of a discrepancy in the resources… It’ll make sense in the final game, but I know it’s missing from some of the renders. And is it in…? Yeah, it’s in Crossroads, because it’s all gameplay. It’ll make sense in the game! It just doesn’t quite make sense in the context of the renders at the moment. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #13 (August 2012)]
How important do you consider secondary characters from now when compared to previous titles?
Even C asks: How important do you consider secondary characters from now when compared to previous titles? Are these secondary characters heavy enough to make a constant progression within the new Tomb Raider universe, but without making a central appearance in future Tomb Raider Games?
KS: We’ll be introducing you to the rest of the cast and crew in the coming months, but what I can say is that we’ve positioned this first journey for Lara as a pivotal one. In this regard alone, all the characters will leave a mark on Lara for better or worse. We’ve been fairly transparent about Roth in this regard, stressing that he’s in a position to push her and challenge her to live up to her family name. So yes, these secondary characters are very important to her growth, more so than in past games. Instead of simply interacting with a cast of support characters, they will have a direct influence on how she evolves. [From official forum Q&A session #3 (April 2012)]
Is the fate of the crew pre-written in the script or will you have the ability to influence that during the game?
KS: We’re aiming to tell a very specific story in Tomb Raider, and as such the script plays out in a authored fashion. It’s worth noting that this doesn’t negate the freedom of exploration we’ve detailed through the hub and basecamp system – I’m talking specifically about story progression in this capacity. [From official forum Q&A session #3 (April 2012)]
How intelligent is the AI?
Andrashi asks: Is the artificial intelligence in the gameplay parts able to scan its surroundings, track the player, and adapt on a variety of player’s choices? Or is the AI going to be the “industry standard” AI, that means heavily scripted with limited variety of behavior, as we have seen in the E3 presentation?
KS: You’re right in noting that encounters during the E3 Microsoft presentation were scripted – the time constraints and pressure of debuting combat on stage makes it important that we highlighted as many unique mechanics as possible in that limited window. That being said, it’s not indicative of the final gameplay. The team is working really hard to ensure the AI is believable, and not heavily scripted at all, quite the contrary. I often play through scenarios repeatedly to see them unfold in a different manner – one time an enemy rushes forward. Another time he hangs back and creates his own cover by flipping over a piece of salvage. We’ll talk more about enemies and AI later, but that’s at least a taste of what we’re up to. [From official forum Q&A session #6 (July 2012)]
Are the scavengers Russian guys or are they different people?
(Question by Pidipidi39)
KS: The scavengers on the island have come from many different backgrounds and cultures. They all speak English, but sometimes they speak their native tongue. So while you did hear a Scavenger speaking Russian, there is quite a bit of diversity in terms of their nationality. [From official forum Q&A session #7 (August/September 2012)]
Will the Scavengers (Human Enemies) only be Male? Or will there be Female scavengers as well?
(Question by Brand.Seph)
KS: The scavengers are exclusively male. That isn’t to say that everyone shipwrecked on the island is male – Lara and Sam are evidence that isn’t true. There is a very specific reason for the gender uniformity amongst scavengers, but you’ll have to find out why yourself! [From official forum Q&A session #8 (October 2012)]
Are the enemies just islanders and animals, or will there be more variety, such as any mythological creatures and/or boss battles?
KS: “I don’t want to keep giving away spoilers. There is obviously an element of mystery to the island that you have to play to properly experience. I can say that there are plenty of people on the island, and lots of diversity in your encounters. I look forward to fans seeing the bow in action, and to hunting. That’s what you do on an island, right? Hunt.” [From official forum Q&A session #1 (January 2012)]
Will there be a large variety of environments on the island?
KS: “One of the most important aspects for us when we started working on this game was to set up the island as a character. In order for us to accomplish this, you can’t just have a one-dimensional character; you have to have a multifaceted character. Therefore, you’re going to come across situations on the island where, yes, you’ll be in dark, dank tombs. But you’ve also seen the ships in the bright bay. Imagine traversing your way down to them. There will be places on the island that blow your mind. Beautiful vistas and more.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #7 (February 2012)]
How different are the environments?
D1n0 xD asks: Can you tell us a little more about the environments we’re going to traverse? How different are they?
KS: That’s a tough one to answer without ruining the mystique of the island! We’ve showcased several diverse locations already – a cliffside vista, a dense forest, and a dilapidated Japanese village. We’ve also shown slivers of concrete wartime ruin, a scavenger city made of salvage, and even teased some beach exploration. That’s what we’ve shown so far. What we’ve yet to reveal is even more impressive. What’s great about the island is that it’s got a lot of unique spaces, both modern and ancient, and a variety of altitudes and climates. The island has loads of personality, and we can’t wait for you to explore it. [From official forum Q&A session #6 (July 2012)]
Will you reveal some of the mystery of the island?
Klona asks: Will you reveal some of the mystery on the Island or do you want us to find out all about it ourselves?
KS: Nope – we’re not going to reveal much about the mystery at the heart of the island other than what we’ve already shown. You’ve got to wait and learn alongside Lara. That being said, we’ve got lots more to talk about before launch. You’ll be hearing about traversal and combat before the end of the year! [From official forum Q&A session #8 (October 2012)]
Are there any industrialized/civilized area on that island?
(Question by Shaikh)
KS: Depends on what your idea of civilized is. The scavengers are far from civilized, but the island has layers and layers of history. You’ll certainly come across some spaces that have been carved out for living, like the Scavenger Hub we teased at the end of the Microsoft stage demo. [From official forum Q&A session #8 (October 2012)]
Is there electricity or a power supply on the island?
KS: The island itself has loads of history, some of it slightly more modern that you might initially expect. As we’ve showcased through the shipwreck vista, vessels from air and sea have washed upon the beach for centuries. Scavengers, doing what they do best, have lifted fuel from these derelict crafts, and in some cases put them to use in generators. I don’t want to go into it much deeper than that, as we’re always conscious to avoid spoilers. But this again speaks to our promise of diversity in environments and experiences on the island. It’s much more than meets the eye. [From official forum Q&A session #3 (April 2012)]
At a later stage of the game, is it possible to explore the beach with planes and shipwreck?
KS: We said early on that one of our goals was to let you explore the extent of what you can see. We’d be remiss to highlight the shipwreck vista, but never let you make your way down to the beach itself. I won’t say anything further! [From official forum Q&A session #4 (May 2012)]
Game Features & Options
Will there be a hardcore/purist mode for experienced TR players, where all helper icons, Survival Instinct and other visual hints will be disabled?
KS: “We’ve already discussed that Tomb Raider will boast multiple difficulty settings to make the game accessible to a wider range of players. A “purist mode” isn’t necessary in that regard, as hardcore players can choose not to use the optional survival instinct system if they want to keep their experience challenging. Our goal is to ensure that the game is challenging even for the most seasoned Tomb Raider players.” [From official forum Q&A session #2 (March 2012)]
Is there a New Game + option?
Tillymander asks: Once you have completed the game and you can roam around the island and still do things, will there still be enemies and wolves on the island? Or will it be empty.
KS: There isn’t a new game + option, but once you finish Tomb Raider you can re-traverse through the island to find any relics you may have missed, or tombs left undiscovered. And yes, the island will still be populated with animals and natives. Don’t think you’re being sneaky and deriving anything related to the story from this tidbit though – this is a gameplay addition for hardcore Tomb Raider fans and completionists. It isn’t a hint at how the narrative ends! [From official forum Q&A session #9 (November 2012)]
Will the game's difficulty settings affect puzzles or traversal?
SamKain asks: What is the difference between Normal and Hard difficulty? Will it only change the damage Lara sustains, or will it have any deeper effects?
KS: At this time we’re looking at difficulty settings only influencing combat. Traversal and puzzle properties will remain the same through all difficulty settings. Optional resources such as Survival Instinct are available should a player get stuck on a puzzle or need guidance as they move about a map. [From official forum Q&A session #7 (August/September 2012)]
What kind of save system does the game have?
KS: The game features an auto-save system. [From official forum Q&A session #3 (April 2012)]
Will Tomb Raider feature trophy and achievement support?
KS: “Yes, we’ll have achievements and trophies. Obviously we don’t know what they will be right now, because that process doesn’t begin until you can go in and play it fully and say, ‘Oh, that’s cool! Let’s make a reward for that!’ So it’s in the back of our heads. I can also comment that we’ll be very cautious about making sure the names of the achievements aren’t spoilers.“ [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #7 (February 2012)]
Is there an option to invert the camera axis?
AireTam asks: Will the player be able to customize the control scheme? Specifically, will there be the menu option to invert the horizontal and vertical aiming axis as well as the camera axis?
KS: Yes, there is an option to invert the camera axis! [From official forum Q&A session #10 (December 2012)]
Is there any option to turn automatic aiming on (like it was in old games)?
(Question by Ivana KC.)
KS: There is not an option to turn on automatic aiming. We want to utilize free aim from this point forward to ensure combat feels like there is something at stake. [From official forum Q&A session #10 (December 2012)]
Where can I find the list of trophies and achievements?
Tomb Raider's achievements were announced on the official Tomb Raider Blog!
Will PC gamers be able to choose between playing with a keyboard and mouse or a controller?
KS: “I used to be a big PC fan and I appreciate that individuals want to play with a mouse and keyboard. We’ve already started talking about the PC and keyboard layout, so yes, our goal working on the PC version is to allow for play with the controller or keyboard and mouse. We’ll keep you updated.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #3 (September 2011)]
Can we request Portuguese subtitles for Tomb Raider?
MM: “We’ve had an outpouring of support from the Brazilian community and the desire for Portuguese subtitles has most definitely been heard. We’re looking into the prospect very seriously and are in the process of meeting with various export market representatives. It’s a bit too early to confirm Portuguese subtitles, but keep an eye on this space for news as development continues.”
Experiencing the Game World
Will the camera be unique from past Tomb Raider titles in the upcoming game?
KS: “Yes, the camera will be unique from past Tomb Raider games. We realize that in some ways it always felt a little hard to control. We were very happy with the games we shipped, but we realized we needed to create a whole new camera to add a whole new experience. We needed to immerse the player in the experience and help them feel each different tone. When you Lara going through the tunnel in the scavenger den, obviously you can’t do that with a ten-foot camera off the back of her shoulder. You need to be up close and personal and hear her in your speakers and have the intimacy to see what she is seeing.
“When you get into situation such as combat you need to be able to pull the camera back and allow the player to see more around them and evaluate the situation Lara is in. The same is true when she is climbing through the dynamic traversal. You need to be in that space with her. So we class it as a ‘dynamic camera’ and we’ve brought on a whole team just to ensure that experience is unique and different. As the campaign unfolds you’ll start to see some very bold and innovative ways of showing how we’ve tailored the camera for each experience. It really is phenomenal.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #2 (August 2011)]
Will the camera show Lara's whole body, or just half of her body like most of the time in the E3 demo?
KS: “As with most third-person action/adventure titles, you’ll be able to see all of Lara’s body the majority of the time. That being said, we’ve got a dedicated team that made it an explicit goal to retool the camera to be more dynamic and cinematic. In claustrophobic areas the camera will close in on Lara so that the player feels what Lara is feeling. In vast, open spaces the camera will pan back so the player can get the lay of the land. The first part of the E3 demo unfolded mostly in tight, foreboding corridors, which was the reason for the mid-thigh view. The escape sequence from the collapsing cave panned back to a full-body perspective, though. Rest assured, our goal is to ensure the camera never detracts from playability.” [From official forum Q&A session #2 (March 2012)]
Why can't we see Lara's face? Every time that someone rotates the camera to see her face she turns it!
(Question by Pidipidi39)
Brian Horton: We designed Lara so her head tracks where the camera is looking, making the camera more connected to Lara herself. In that version of the build, when looking at Lara’s face, she would try to look to the left or right as far as her skeleton would permit. Since this build, we’ve modified her head tracking so the player can look at her without her head swinging from side to side! Thanks for the question! [From official forum Q&A session #8 (October 2012)]
How do hubs work? Can you walk from one hub to the next, or do you have to use fast travel between hubs?
KS: “Hubs are large, opens spaces on the island that are ripe for exploration. Lara can carve her own path through them, unless a particular area is blocked off through gear gating and requires returning once she’s better equipped. In these hub spaces are basecamps, which we’ve touched on briefly before. Basecamps will allow Lara to fast travel between hubs that she has already visited. This mechanic gives the player the option of retuning quickly to tackle a challenge or area that was previously inaccessible. That being said, you won’t be warped between hubs as the story progresses – slightly more linear paths lead you from hub to hub as the narrative unfolds.” [From official forum Q&A session #2 (March 2012)]
Are there any hub spaces that are just for exploration, without any combat?
Awestruck asks: Will there be any hub spaces that you enter where combat doesn't factor in? In other words, are there any hubs that’s' sole focus is exploration and traversal?
KS: The frequency varies, but the hub spaces all have some degree of combat. The night hub, for example, has a few stray scavengers that you’ve seen, augmented by a pack of roaming wolves that have taken advantage of the near-desolate location. This area is ripe for exploration and traversal. We’ve teased bits and pieces of the scavenger stronghold hub, and it’s fairly intuitive that combat will be much more frequent when infiltrating the base of the enemy. That’s not to say you can’t find pockets of peace while behind enemy lines. They did build their base on ancient ruins, after all. [From official forum Q&A session #10 (December 2012)]
Is it possible to revisit areas without the base-camps, like walk all the way back?
(Question by Klona.)
KS: Yes and no. Some areas you can traverse backwards to basecamps you’ve already visited. Others you’ll need to fast travel back to in order to access them. For example, Lara uses a zipline to descend from the radio tower after the end of the preview build we recently toured. She can’t zipline back up to the tower and then the basecamp at its foot, but rather would need to fast travel back should she want to explore that area. Sometimes the terrain just doesn’t allow for Lara to move backwards. [From official forum Q&A session #10 (December 2012)]
Is Tomb Raider an open world game?
KS: It is not a completely open world. We tried to make that clear. I think our communication of our hub system has maybe confused people a little bit and the best way for me to explain it is that we want the player to be able to explore, we want the player to be able to follow the story line. You want the player to be immersed into this sort of experience and to do that tell a linear story of sorts. You have to have the player go from A to B to C. To build an open world game would make it very hard to say you got to be at the beach to capture the next piece because you can do what you want. It's a very different game having Assassins Creed open world game vs Tomb Raider emotional story driven game. So for us we built these hub systems and the hub systems allow us to be able to enlarge spaces and give the player freedom to move around but also allow us to have connectors that take you to the next part of the game and have this larger hub system so you can explore. So we have these systems all over the island that are the major locations but you wouldn't be able to say I'm going to walk from here to the north of the island to the south of the island and east and west. You will still have to play along that narrative to make sure we keep you in the experience. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #11 (June 2012)]
Are all tombs so easy to find, are they marked with chalk on the rocks nearby, or was it just the one during the new demo?
(Question by TranceTrouble.)
KS: Most tombs aren’t as easy to find as the first we showed off in our preview build. We need a learning curve that gives players a taste of what they should be looking for later in the game, so that one is a bit more visible than others. [From official forum Q&A session #10 (December 2012)]
Are the locations on the map shown from the beginning or only when she visited that place already?
(Question by AoD Fan.)
KS: You can see the size and scope of the island via the map from the very beginning, but specific areas like hubs and basecamps only become visible as you uncover them. [From official forum Q&A session #10 (December 2012)]
Interacting with the Environment & Weather
How will Lara interact with water if she doesn’t swim?
KS: “Obviously we want to make sure that Lara feels a part of the world. So when she interacts with water we’ve pushed really hard to make sure that physics is paramount. You’ll see bubbles around Lara and ripples in the water as she moves. I even saw a level yesterday that has some oil on top of it from a leak. And you can see the glistening and the colors of the rainbow. It’s beautiful. As Lara interacted with it you could see it break off and form its own pool.
“Lara will also wade in water, and water plays a huge part in some of the survival situations she finds herself in. You’ve seen in the demo how buoyancy plays a role in her escape.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #6 (January 2012)]
Can we expect a reaction of Lara’s clothes with the environment?
KS: Both Lara and her clothing will react to situational and environmental factors. While I won’t go into too much detail, we’ve already shown Lara with various states of dirt and grime, and with both wet and dry clothing. It’s important for us to make Lara feel a part of the environment, not removed from it. [From official forum Q&A session #4 (May 2012)]
Will weather be scripted in Tomb Raider, or will there be a day and night cycle?
KS: “You will not stand in one place and over time watch the sun set and the moon rise. That being said, you will feel like there’s a persistent weather system. If you play in night hub and it’s raining and you fast travel back to another area, it will be rainy there too. It won’t feel like a dynamic weather system where you can stand on a cliff for hours and watch the sun moving across the sky. We have smart systems in place to help present it so that as you move around it will be the same time of day and weather as contextual to the narrative.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #4 (November 2011)]
KS: "When you come in to an area, such as the night hub, for instance, where we meet Roth, for the first time, it’s raining and it’s nighttime. When you leave that space and you move on to, let’s say, the World War II area, and you get to a base camp and you think, “I have a piece of gear, I want to go back and unlock some things,” if it’s daytime where you are there, when you use your base camp to fast travel back to the Roth area, which was called the night hub, it will now be daytime. It’s persistent in the sense that you’ll be able to move around the world, and whatever you’re in, you’ll be in when you fast travel. It’s not dynamic in the sense that it’ll turn from day to night in front of your eyes. That’s not going to happen. But as you move around the world, because we’re trying to tell this story of the days and the week after Lara crash-lands on the island… The story is tailored to be driven around the thematic of the situation she’s in and the nighttime or daytime, whatever it may be. As you use fast travel, you will land back in that space at the same time and day state as you had last." [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #16 (November 2012)]
Will weather-based events, such as a flood, mudslide or avalanche, permanently affect the island?
AireTam asks: I think I read or saw an interview that said something about how day/night and weather conditions are going to play a role in island exploration. Would it be correct to assume that weather-related events that permanently change a hub will take place? Such as a flood, mudslide or avalanche event, for example?
KS: We’ve worked hard to make the island feel very alive, and as such there will be instances where it’s permanently changed after important events. One example involves the “slide of insanity” clip showcased near the end of the Crossroads trailer – the one with plane debris crashing after Lara down a cliff. The bulk of the plane ended up elsewhere, and you’ll see it if you revisit that space. So will the scavengers – if you go back, they are likely looting it.
[From official forum Q&A session #9 (November 2012)]
Will wind play a role in the game other than just as a visual effect?
LaraFan25 asks: Can you explain in which ways wind will play a role in the game other than as an aesthetic feature?
KS: Hmm. That’s a difficult one to answer without solving a puzzle for you. Fire behaves as you expect it would in reality – you see a barrier made of wood and cloth, chances are you can burn it out of your way. Water puts out fire, and can be used to transport buoyant objects. In a similar vein, strong enough wind can create movement. That’s all I’m saying for now! [From official forum Q&A session #8 (October 2012)]
Game Mechanics - Lara
Why doesn't Lara put on a jacket when she's cold?
KS: You know, there’s not really a valid reason as to why she does or doesn’t. It’s just one of those things. When you build a character, you don’t want her changing halfway through, changing clothes… We just made a decision that there’s no real need for us to have to go and do jackets and scarves and hats and, “Oh, it’s cold, put some gloves on.”
And also, the Aviatrix and the Hunter skin, those all have jackets and bits and pieces. You’ll be able to wear a jacket if you want to wear a jacket. [laughter] [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #17 (January 2013)]
The different outfits for Lara that are available as pre-order bonuses - can you switch clothes at any time?
KS: You can choose when you want to wear it. You can go into a menu and swap it out at any time. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #16 (November 2012)]
What's the difference between XP points and Skills Points?
(Question by Pidipidi39)
KS: This is an easy one to answer, so we’ll consider it a bonus question. A set amount of XP will create a single skill point. Once you’ve acquired a point, you can allocate it to unlock the particular skill you want! [From official forum Q&A session #8 (October 2012)]
Will we have a health bar, or regenerating health?
(Question by Metalrocks)
KS: We’re not quite ready to get into the specifics of the health system, but as the community noted during our “Descent” demo, Lara’s health will regenerate during combat if she takes cover or gets out of the action. More on that at a later date! [From official forum Q&A session #7 (August/September 2012)]
Will Lara need food, water, or shelter in the new Tomb Raider?
KS: “Yes, because she’s not a robot. We’re actually deep in that now and fine-tuning it in terms of how much water and how much food; how long she can go before consciously you’re like ‘I’d be starving by now.’ We’re also exploring what it means to collect. I’m not going to detail it too much and spoil it. What I will say is that this is not a simulation game. You’re not going to be picking berries and drinking your own wee in order to survive, but there will be a sense of realism in that she will have to scavenge food to keep herself going.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #4 (September 2011)]
Will players be able to gain all the experience upgrades in one play through?
(Question by PomeranianPuppy)
KS: We’re still in the process of balancing both the Survival and Salvage systems, so we can’t answer that question definitively just yet. That being said, we can clarify that the experience systems are used in a manner to allow players to prioritize a degree of the gameplay to their liking early on, while ensuring that no single path will restrict eventual exploration of the island. [From official forum Q&A session #6 (July 2012)]
Is the game playable from beginning to end without the need to use the RPG skill system?
Andrashi asks: Can I ask please if the game is playable from the beginning to the end without the need to use the RPG skill system?
KS: "There’s probably one or two things that you get close to having to do. But I don’t know why you’d want to do that…
"Let’s just say, if somebody did that, they would be scratching the surface of an awesome experience. That rich tapestry that we’ve built inside of Tomb Raider…" [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #16 (November 2012)]
Why does Lara's bow disappear sometimes?
KS: That’s purely just an engine thing. That’s not because we wanted to have no bow. When she comes into tight spaces, such as… There’s the radio tower. Between the time where she realizes the lever is broken and she gets to the outside radio tower base, she goes through that steam channel. One of the things that bugs us is that when she’s crouched down and trying to shimmy through… When you have the bow on her, it actually disrupts the animation to have to then get her to bend in a really awkward way that the camera doesn’t like because the bow has to not clip stuff. Before you know it, because she has a bow, you’re having this almost… She’s lying on the ground doing the shimmy to crawl. So for us, there’s situations such as that where we decided to take the bow out. As soon as you hit the D-pad up or down, it pops back, depending on the machine. Also, from an aesthetic standpoint, we didn’t want you playing from behind Lara and having a bow, a climbing axe, and a shotgun and everything there. It’s just natural for us to be able to say, look, let’s let them disappear. They come back instantly as soon as you hit the D-pad. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #17 (January 2013)]
Game Mechanics - Combat
Since Lara is inexperienced, will the combat reflect this by being "unresponsive" or "awkward" to a degree?
KS: “We wouldn’t want to penalize the player with underdeveloped or awkward controls. Rather, Lara’s inexperience and character arch will be fleshed out through the narrative and increasingly difficult encounters as she grows into the woman we know she can be.” [From official forum Q&A session #2 (March 2012)]
How will stealth interactions work? Isn't Lara too young and weak to choke her opponents?
Sam_Kain asks: It is said there will be Stealth Interactions in TR, how would they be like since Lara is quite young and weak?!, I can't see her choking a grown up man.
KS: Lara may be young and inexperienced when it comes to combat, but she’s also very resourceful, and very motivated to stay alive and save her friends. We try to keep combat (and stealth) scrappy for this reason. Lara’s used a bow before, so stealth kills from a distance aren’t too difficult for her to pull off. Other times she can use a rock, or her axe to take out an unsuspecting foe. With the element of surprise on her side, they often don’t have the time to fight back. I wouldn’t underestimate Lara, though. The scavengers already made that mistake. [From official forum Q&A session #9 (November 2012)]
Will there be a lot of freedom in melee combat, such as being able to equip the climbing axe in one hand and a pistol in the other?
Brand.seph asks: How much freedom do we get during Combat Melee wise? By freedom, I mean, for example, using the Pickaxe in one hand and a pistol in the other, or something like that.
KS: We’re really proud of the flexibility in our combat system, including melee. We have clarified that Lara won’t be kicking and punching, Instead, she’ll have a more scrappy move set including the ability to shove enemies away, blind them with dirt, use the bow or axe for a stealthy takedown, or dodge counter by planting an arrow in an enemy’s leg. I don’t want to break down all the melee moves, as they are fun to discover on your own. [From official forum Q&A session #9 (November 2012)]
How does the automatic cover system work?
JaxGames asks: I was wondering if we can crouch whenever we want or is it just scripted events?
KS: The cover system is actually something we’re immensely proud of. Lara will automatically crouch down next to waist-high objects whenever she’s in the presence of enemies – whether they are aware of her or not. When there’s no imminent threat then Lara will not take cover. This not only facilitates stealth play, but keeps the player from having to pop in and out of cover and instead focus on combat. [From official forum Q&A session #10 (December 2012)]
Game Mechanics - Other
Can we search enemy corpses and boxes for items?
KS: Some fans noticed and commented on the random ammo pickups in our demo last year. We addressed that acquiring salvage and ammo would be more organic in the final experience. Scavenging bodies and ammo boxes would be one such application. [From official forum Q&A session #4 (May 2012)]
When an enemy is killed, does the body stay there or it disappears in a couple of seconds?
(Question by Blackseed.)
KS: Bodies stay in the area until Lara leaves a space – animals and humans alike. [From official forum Q&A session #10 (December 2012)]
Will the axe interact with fixed climbing points, or will we be able to free climb with it?
KS: “We have a very wide range of fixed points, guaranteeing you’ll have freedom of movement. There are limitations, however, like not being able to jump off the side of a cliff and hook onto the side at random to free climb. The real world doesn’t work like that. Like real life you can’t just walk up to a cliff and assume you can climb it. It may be too steep, or too rocky, or jagged. But then there will be other areas perfect for climbing. It will feel organic and natural. The path won’t be screaming at you.” [From official forum Q&A session #1 (January 2012)]
Will the game have a stealth system, or will it be focused on action?
KS: “We’re working very hard to ensure our combat system has a variety of different play paths and play styles. Melee, ranged, and stealth interactions all play a huge part in this world. We’re looking forward to showing you our combat system around E3, when we’ll be unveiling it. [From official forum Q&A session #1 (January 2012)]
Fans have mixed feelings about Quick Time Events. Will Tomb Raider have too many of them?
Shaikh asks: Recently Resident Evil 6 gets a negative review for having too much action and quick time events. Will Tomb Raider have too much action and quick time events as well?
MM: I think I can answer this one without giving too much away! I recently completed another full playthrough of the game, and never felt that there were too many quicktime events. To answer someone else’s question, no you can’t turn off the QTEs. In regards to the amount of action, the game is balanced really well among combat, traversal/exploration, and puzzle solving. If you don’t want to explore the island it may feel a bit more action-heavy, but I often spent an hour or two exploring a new area at my leisure, enjoying the isolation and beauty of the environment, and hunting down relics and secret tombs. [From official forum Q&A session #8 (October 2012)]
Will there be artifacts and relics, like the previous Tomb Raider games, to reward players for exploration?
KS: I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I can confirm that there will be artifacts for you to find and collect as in past Tomb Raider titles. We’re keen to keep exploration and discovery a pillar of the game. [From official forum Q&A session #3 (April 2012)]
Will Lara always have an objective or a mission, and if so, will she still be free to explore? Are there load times between areas?
Lara Rocks 2 asks: Will there always be an objective at hand, or does the player get to free roam and decide to do the missions at a later time? Are there load times between areas, or levels?
KS: We’ve sort of touched on this one before, but I’m excited to answer the latter part of the question. Yes, you’ll always have an objective, be it to find food when Lara gets her first bow, or to track down Sam. That being said, you can choose to stray from the critical path and explore quite frequently. In regards to load times, yes, there is one. At the very start of the game. That’s it. ? [From official forum Q&A session #9 (November 2012)]
Will you be revealing a more detailed look at all the gameplay mechanics?
Rai asks: Will you be talking/showing more about gameplay mechanics later on, rather than concentrating on Lara’s story?
KS: The funny thing is that I’ve read comments from fans saying we’ve shown too much! It’s a fine line – trying to give a solid grasp of what the game has to offer, and not spoiling launch day. But yes, we will show more gameplay content leading to launch. Until now the campaign has focused on Lara herself, and building her into a survivor. We’ve only teased combat, and have shown little in the way of exploration, traversal, and puzzle solving. You’ll be treated to content highlighting those aspects as we move toward March 5. [From official forum Q&A session #7 (August/September 2012)]
Will Tomb Raider take advantage of Square Enix's new Luminous Engine?
KS: "You know, what the guys have been doing on Luminous, as I believe you saw, is absolutely phenomenal. They’ve been working on that for so long. I think as a company that shows the vision of where we want to go. It shows the vision of how every single studio is looking at the technology that we’ve got. Whether we as a studio ourselves use it has yet to be seen.
"We have our own fantastic engine. We’re excited to see the company pushing with Luminous, but we have our own, and you know, we push our engine pretty hard. Everybody has seen that with this new Tomb Raider." [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #12 (July 2012)]
Does the Crystal Engine support dynamic lighting?
Phaid asks: Lara seems to not cast any shadow in these pics: pic1pic2pic3. Does the engine support dynamic lighting?
Brian Horton: “The engine supports dynamic shadows on multiple light sources, the shots you pointed to have shadows but they were not clear in those angles. Thanks for the question, hope that clears it up.” [From official forum]
Will cutscenes be pre-rendered by Visual Works, like the Turning Point trailer?
KS: “The pre-rendered work we did with Visual Works was purely a one-off. Everything in game will use the Crystal Engine. We haven’t pre-rendered anything and we intend to keep it that way. Not to say we’re sitting here in the studio making every single cinematic. We gave our engine to a partner company in LA and they aid with mo-capping and capturing VO and all that stuff, and then help build out our cinematic sequences. They have worked on Avatar and are also working on Hitman. The world’s best people are working on it.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #4 (September 2011)]
Is Toby Gard still involved with the Tomb Raider franchise?
KS: “At this time, no, Toby Gard is not associated with the Tomb Raider franchise. As we've mentioned in many, many conversations and interviews in the past, Toby is a friend of the studio, so he has been up and he's been a part of what we're doing for a little bit, but at this time, no, Toby is not. He's off doing his own venture. We talk a lot, Toby's a good friend, he's a good guy. But he's got a lot of creative juices that he wants to keep working on. He's going to appear somewhere else, doing something else, and we're going to be jealous, I bet you.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #8 (March 2012)]
The Development Process
Why is the lead up till Tomb Raider’s release so long?
KS: “The reason we’re taking our time with the game is first and foremost to ensure we deliver the quality game fans deserve. Additionally, the longer campaign gives fans and newcomers time to properly digest and acclimate to who this new Lara Croft is. The reimagined game and character are a departure from the legacy franchise, and as such time is needed to properly set the stage from both a narrative and character development standpoint. It will be worth the wait, I promise!”
Why was Tomb Raider's release date changed from Q4 2012 to Q1 2013?
KS: “Okay, so this week we announced that we were moving the release of Tomb Raider from Q4 2012 to Q1 2013. And really, that was to give us the time to take it to the polish level that we really want to achieve with this particular title. As we said in the statement, we think that we're creating a truly unique piece of content, we think it's very special, and we want this to be one of the games of our careers. We're at a stage right now where we feel like we need a little bit more time to achieve that, but it'll be well worth the wait.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #10 (May 2012)]
Most developers make a game for one platform and then port it over to another for release. What is Crystal D doing?
KS: “The game is currently being developed for all three platforms simultaneously. Generally studios push from the PC to 360, and then keep PS3 as close as possible in the development timeline. We’ve been demoing the game to Microsoft and then Sony the same week. The goal is to make sure that they are running as close as possible, and then we optimize to play to the platform’s strength.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #6 (January 2012)]
How do you come up with the box art?
A Big House asks: Is Brian designing the box art, or is someone else? When do you plan on revealing the box art?
KS: Designing box art is always a collaborative effort, as it’s a difficult task to distill a game down to a single, iconic image. We’ve been working through the final box art iterations, though, and think we’ve achieved that under the guidance of Brian as Art Director. No date set for the reveal just yet, but I can say that it’s a new image, and we’re very excited to show it off. [From official forum Q&A session #7 (August/September 2012)]
Trailers, Promotions & Extras
Why did Crystal Dynamics partner up with Beats by Dre, Speck, and showcase Lara with an iPhone in the Turning Point trailer? Will product partnerships continue throughout the game?
KS: “What I’d say about those products is that from the very early days when we started concepting out the trailer I really wanted to make sure that we positioned the trailer in modern day. I’m not big into pulling in product just for the sake of it. I don’t like doing deals just for the money. Everything we do has to make sense with the character and the world.
“For me it was about trying to find items that would help ground Lara in the world and tell you a little about her. If you pick up someone’s iPhone or iPod you start to understand more about that person. So for us the earphones stood for something. They are the earphones of today. We didn’t pay them and they didn’t pay us. It just fit the character we were creating.
“As far as longer-term partnerships Tomb Raider has been around for fifteen years and has many partnerships with many companies. We’ve pulled many of them back and decided not to continue with them because they don’t live beside the brand that we envision over the next five to ten years. But then there are partnerships that make perfect sense. Over the course of the campaign you’ll see some, but every partnership we have will fit within the world of the game.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #2 (August 2011)]
What happened to the geocaching partnership?
KS: We had been working on an idea for quite a while, and due to time constraints, we decided not to go ahead with that particular geocache opportunity. We started looking at the idea we had originally and… Things evolve. A mechanic that may have worked two years ago may not be a mechanic that works now. So we have a subset of that which we’re going to be announcing in the very near future, that we’ve been working on with our team down in LA. I look forward to talking to you more about that when we’ve made the announcement, but at this time, we are actually not going to be working directly with geocaching. The situation and the mechanics just didn’t work out in the way in which we felt we needed to be able to deliver the experience to the fans. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #16 (November 2012)]
Will there be a demo?
KS: So… There actually will not be a demo. There’s a very good reason for not having a demo. When we made the decision to tell the story from day one, it’s all about the experience you have from the very beginning of the story. On most games that have demos, they can just dump you straight into a portion of the game and you can play 30 minutes and you can say, “That’s a great experience.” But for us, if we were to dump you for 30 minutes inside the game, it would actually have to be far enough along that you will have gone past the first kill, gotten a weapon, and now you’re fighting people where you have no idea who they are or what your motivation is. The decision not to do a demo was one based on… It’s an origin story. We want players to be able to experience it from day one, all the way through those first big loops of the character arc. That’s the actual reason. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #17 (January 2013)]
Is there any chance of seeing cut footage from the Turing Point trailer?
KS: “If I had my way from the very start the trailer would have been much longer. In one of our first brainstorming sessions I pitched an eight minute version to Visualworks. I had Lara walking up to the ship and saying hello to Roth and putting her bag in the room and going for dinner. VisualWorks looked at me and said ‘you’re off your trolley.’ So the final trailer is about four minutes and ten seconds. There is probably about a minute on the cutting room floor.
“I’d love to think we’d put it all together some day, but the way in which it was built isn’t that we left scenes on the floor. It’s more that we were looking to get a specific level of emotion. For example in order to capture the scene where Lara nearly drowns in the escape hatch, we had to shoot it from many different angles. We captured an entire scene from inside the escape hatch and an entire scene from outside the escape hatch looking down. Then you start editing it together. So a lot of the stuff left on the floor isn’t necessarily something we can bolt onto the end and call it the ‘extended version.’” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #4 (September 2011)]
Are you making another CGI trailer? When will we see the full version of Turning Point Trailer?
(Question by Fear Effect.)
KS: Free question, as I don’t count questions that answer with “no.” We’re not going to feature any new CGI trailers moving forward in the campaign – that was an incredibly ambitious and lengthy collaboration with Visual Works which allowed us to make a big splash in announcing the game. As to the “full version,” I assume you’re speaking of the cut bits from the Turning Point trailer. They weren’t so much scenes as small slices of visuals that didn’t fit in the trailers narrative. As such, we couldn’t just pop them back in and release an extended cut of the trailer – It wouldn’t make sense. [From official forum Q&A session #10 (December 2012)]
Will the music in the trailer be the Main Theme?
d1n0_xD asks: The music in the trailer is so awesome, is it going to be the Main theme?
Alex Wilmer: “It is indeed the theme. It was very important for us to reveal it in this way.” [From official forum]
Will we ever see some behind the scenes content, such as motion-capture and voice-recording sessions?
KS: “Yes, we intend to show lots of behind the scenes content, but are working to ensure that it isn’t delivered in the same old vein as developer diaries. We’re going to do something very special in not-so-distant future, although I don’t want to give it away right now.” [From official forum Q&A session #1 (January 2012)]
What kind of behind-the-scenes materials will we get to see?
Foundered asks: Will the game have extras like interviews, making of, bloopers, and so on? And will unlocking achievements/trophies open up extras?
KS: We’re really proud of the work we do here at Crystal, and want to show off all the effort that went into making the game. That’s part of the reason we partnered with Geoff Keighley for The Final Hours of Tomb Raider. While we’ve not nailed down how all of the content will be presented just yet, it’s safe to say that you’ll be seeing lots of behind-the-scenes stuff both leading to launch, and after. [From official forum Q&A session #7 (August/September 2012)]
DLC, Unlockables, Modding & Future Games
Will the Hunter Skin, Aviatrix Skin, Challenge Tomb and other pre-order bonuses be available later for purchase?
DarkAngel asks: Will the skins that are part of the pre-order incentives like the Hunter Skin and the Aviatrix be available in all locations later via DLC?
KS: As of this moment in time pre-order incentives are retailer specific and exclusive. If that changes at a later date, we’ll be sure to fill you in! [From official forum Q&A session #8 (October 2012)]
Will there be DLC (console-exclusive or otherwise) for Tomb Raider?
KS: “Obviously it’s not something I can get into detail about right now. We will look into DLC and we’ve done DLC in the past, but it all boils down to experience. We need to make sure it fits. We also need to make sure we have time to build it, and we’re focused on the core experience right now. As far as exclusives, again, there is no real comment on that because you never know what’s around the corner. We try and keep as agnostic as possible, but I can’t even say if there will be a repeat of the Xbox exclusive for Underworld. If we do DLC, what’s the story? How does it fit within the game? That comes first.
“We will build our game from start to finish and we want people to experience that 100 percent. When you pick up a copy of our game we want you to feel like you started and finished something. The story ended. If there is a piece of DLC, it may continue on a different trail from something that was hinted at in the game, or it might take something out of left field. DLC will give you a different experience, however, it’s certainly not something that has been removed from the game in order to make more money. That is completely against what we’re all about. Especially in regards to Tomb Raider it’s more important than ever that we do DLC right. The end of the game has to feel definitive. You don’t see a movie in a theater only for the big finale to be reserved for the DVD. That doesn’t happen.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #4 (November 2011)]
Will there be unlockable outfits in the game, or just Lara’s default clothing?
KS: “Of course Tomb Raider has been known throughout the years to have unlockables and ways to interact beyond just the core game. We take that to heart. All I can say is ‘watch this space.’ We love unlockables and we love items as much as you do. That isn’t a yes or a no, but it’s a “worth thinking about.’ We’re still so far out it isn’t a decision we need to make next week.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #2 (August 2011)]
Will you release a level editor for the engine to allow people to mod and design levels?
KS: “We have no plans to do that right now. I love harking back to the old Tomb Raiders where you can mod your own little story, but at this time there are no plans to a level editor for our newest game.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #6 (January 2012)]
Are you going to allow mods?
(Question by JohnReiner)
KS: We don’t have plans to release official mod toolkits at this point in time. [From official forum Q&A session #9 (November 2012)]
Will there be more Tomb Raider games after this newest release?
KS: [Laughing] “Let us at least get this one out so you can play and tell us what you think! Of course though, we’re reimagining the entire franchise and this is step one. Enjoy it, play it, and we’ll tell you later what our plan for the future is.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #1 (July 2011)]
Do you aim at keeping the same model for Lara for the next games after this one?
Priscillia asks: Since Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness, Lara’s face and model have been changing for each game. Now that you are starting from day one with the franchise, do you aim at keeping the same model for the next games (like it is the case for Nathan Drake within Uncharted for instance)?
KS: As we’re starting fresh with the franchise and laying the foundation for the future of Tomb Raider, it’s important we maintain that vision moving onward. I can safely say that the core of Lara’s physical appearance has been (very carefully!) established in Tomb Raider, and if it evolves in the future it will be a natural evolution that is contextual to the new narrative. Continuity is important moving forward. [From official forum Q&A session #6 (July 2012)]
Collector's Edition & Merchandise
Will there be a Tomb Raider Collector’s Edition?
KS: “Of course! I love collector’s editions and personally designed sets for Batman: Arkham Asylum and Age of Conan. I’ve done loads and loads and I’m a big fan of them. So yes it’s on my list and I’ve already been doing a lot of exploration so I can say with certainty that there will be a collector’s edition. The editions may be unique to specific territories however, because some areas have restrictions and so on.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #1 (July 2011)]
Will Crystal Dynamics ever opt to have their own online Tomb Raider store? We want Lara goodies!
KS: “And I want to sell Lara goodies! Yes, one of my roles is to be out there making sure that we bring together all of the merchandise, all of the licensing, and all of the extensions and partners together in one place. Everything from online stores, to collectibles, to you name it. We've been busy. You'll see pretty soon. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #8 (March 2012)]
What Tomb Raider merchandise will be available?
LaraRocks2 asks: In the coming months, are there plans to release merchandise (other than what has already been released) ie. phone cases and other things?
KS: In the few months left to launch we’ll announce a slew of cool partnerships and merchandise offers, trust us. We can’t get specific just yet, but there are some cool items over the horizon. [From official forum Q&A session #8 (October 2012)]
Where can I get the game's soundtrack?
Jason Graves (Composer): "Really, REALLY excited about this one. This is the Collector's Edition CD, with 37 minutes of music. Included free with special editions of the game. There's also a full soundtrack, sold separately as a digital download or physical CD, 74 minutes total.
"The 74 minute CD will be sold pretty much anywhere you can buy CD's. (remember those?) Digital distribution will be all the standard places (iTunes, Amazon, etc)." [From Jason Graves Music page on Facebook (January 20, 2013)]
Will you release a full-sized artbook for the game?
KS: We will. We’ve actually had a big kickoff meeting with our partner on that last week, who we’ll be working with. Brady Games. Brian, when he moves over, which I think he actually has yesterday or today, to our department… Brian’s going to be taking that as one of his core projects and seeing it from start to finish, because Brian is, as you know, the art director. He was a part of every single asset from the beginning. So Brian will be leading the charge and I’ll be reviewing and jumping in to give my two cents on it, but I’m a big fan of artbooks. I really am. So we’ll be doing that. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #14 (September 2012)]
PC System Specs, Steam & Other Platforms
Will the game be available to pre-order or purchase on the Steam platform?
KS: “Square Enix has had a fantastic relationship with Steam in the past, with the majority of our catalogue available on the digital platform. We can’t foresee any changes to that relationship in the future!” [From official forum Q&A session #2 (March 2012)]
Will Tomb Raider on the PC be a Steamworks game?
KS: "Yes, there’s a plan to use Steamworks. We’re going to make an announcement pretty soon on exactly to what extent, but yes, it will. We love the idea of cloud-based saves. If I play it at home on my laptop, when I come into work I want to be able to continue it. I want to have all of the benefits that offers. More on that soon, but yes, it will incorporate Steamworks." [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #16 (November 2012)]
How come the PC system requirements haven't been announced yet?
KS: "... there’s a period of time when we have to lock off our console versions. We have to submit them to either Microsoft or Sony, and they have to review the game. Then there’s a back-and-forth. Generally that takes anywhere from six to eight weeks, all’s said and done. Could be shorter, could be longer. We can put the PC version up on Steam 72 hours in advance.
"... With the PC version… You’re kind of afforded a little bit more time, and as a result of that ... we come back to the PC and say, “Okay, here we’ve afforded ourselves this much time. Let’s up-rez all the textures. Let’s get framerate running smoother. Let’s do lighting a little bit more detailed, because we have ourselves some time.” That all comes back to specs. We need to make sure that the game is running optimally first before we turn around and say, “Here’s the CPU you need. Here’s the graphics card you need.” We are working very closely with our partners at AMD to make sure that some of those questions are being answered sooner rather than later. We want to make sure that people can go out and not only pre-order the game, but also pre-order their new graphics card from AMD that we’re working with them on, to be able to make sure our game’s optimized for it. I love all that stuff as much as the next person, but I want to make sure that it’s right. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #16 (November 2012)]
Will we see Tomb Raider on the Wii U or any other Nintendo Platform?
KS: “At this time no. When we started developing the game we made a conscious decision that it was all about building the game for a platform and making sure the game was specific to that platform. Given that we’ve been working on the game quite a while before Wii U was announced I think it would not be right to try and port it across. If we started building a game for the Wii U we would build it very differently and we would build it with unique functionality.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #3 (September 2011)]
Will there be a Mac version of Tomb Raider?
KS: “We’re in the middle of discussions with a company looking to do just that. I’d love to be able to see it day and date with the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC release, but there is a technological aspect to it as well that we would need to achieve. I want a Mac version because I love my Mac.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #1 (July 2011)]
Regional Release Details
How come there isn't a physical PC release in North America?
KS: We are responsible, as a studio, for developing the game and making sure that we position it correctly as a franchise. We’ve spent a long time doing that. But once the game is developed, we have publishing departments all around the world. We have Square Enix LA, Square Enix America. We have Square Enix Europe, which has an export department catering from Russia to China to you-name-it. Then we have Square Enix Japan, who look after those territories. When we develop the game, we then ask those territories to help define the best way to be able to position that game in the market. I work very closely with all of the teams around the world, myself and the teams here, the brand team. We have daily calls with serious amounts of follow-ups, hence I’m up until 3:30 most mornings doing conference calls at midnight from my office at home. But those teams are tasked with coming back to us with the decisions that have to be made about the best way to put our game out and how to sell it. In the case of the PC side, we looked at it from a European and a US perspective. In Europe, the game is still very much widely a retail PC SKU. It holds up very strongly in sales. You have to have it. It’s part of the DNA. Whereas what we’ve found in North America is that PC sales have slowly but surely started to move into the digital space. There is a fine line between producing a boxed copy at a certain quantity before it actually starts eating into its own costs. You think, “Is it worth producing?” There’s distribution costs. There’s production costs. There’s all these things coming into play that… You have to make a decision as a business. I believe the decision was right. The decision to turn it into a digital PC version and distribute it that way means it’s accessible to more people. Like I said, it’s a tough decision to make, because we’ve always done a PC version of the game, but we believe that this is the right decision, and it’s one that… I have to support my teams around the world in whatever they decide they want to do. [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #16 (November 2012)]
How come the Collector's Editions are different for different regions?
KS: "It’s for many reasons. It’s down to the amount of units being produced, the cost of shipping, and the cost of creation, all the way down to consumer likes and dislikes… Generally a lithograph that works in one territory might not work in another. A free giveaway in one might not work in the other. What I try and do from a brand standpoint is make sure we lock down some of the key things. With this collector’s edition, I was very sure on… One, I’ve been working with Play Arts Kai for a number of months -- probably 18 months in total – to create this new Lara Croft statue. I always had it that that was going to be in the collector’s edition. Irrespective of where you bought it and who you bought it from, that was in the collector’s edition. The second element is the survival tin. I always had this story in my head where… When I did Batman I created the Batman case. It looked like the Batarang and you opened it up. With Conan I created this huge book that was almost the book of Conan. You opened it up and there was this one page that told you the poem, and when you opened that everything was under it. To me it’s about telling a story.
"That’s the main thing. And then after that we just left it up to the territories. I had many calls back and forth where we looked at costs and timings and production schedules and if we wanted to do X item, how long it would take… Then Ops gets involved. From an Ops standpoint we had to have everything delivered to a certain place at a certain time. And then also… We’re so close to the game. I need to be able to let the marketing teams around the world also give their input and have something to be a part of. It’s a team effort, as Brian had mentioned in one of our previous chats about the cover. Everybody should be able to come back and say, “Hey, you know what? This is the territory I live and work in. This feels right for us.” The difference is only because there’s many different moving parts. It’s a decision that gets made as a team, as to what is the best thing. I’m sure I want to get the European one because I love the idea of the dry bag. This survival dry bag is a cool little thing. It just didn’t work out to be in the North American ones for a couple of different reasons." [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #16 (November 2012)]
FAQ: LEGACY TOMB RAIDER TITLES
Will the Xbox 360 exclusive DLC for Underworld ever come to PS3 or PC?
KS: “Unfortunately it will not. That was a deal we had with Microsoft as a worldwide exclusive. At this point, the team has been disbanded and is working on other projects so we wouldn’t even have the staff to work on it.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #4 (November 2011)]
Are there plans to remake any other Tomb Raider titles such as was done with Anniversary?
KS: “No, there are no plans right now or in the future to develop any other Tomb Raider title besides what we’re currently working on. You can still play the original games on your PlayStation or PSP. As you know our goal is to start from day one with the franchise. This is it. This is Lara’s new adventure.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #3 (September 2011)]
FAQ: TOMB RAIDER MOVIE
What can you share about the new Tomb Raider movie thus far?
KS: “I can’t share anything apart from what we’ve been telling you. Of course there’s a lot that goes on behind closed doors and when we’re ready to talk we’ll talk. We’re great partners with GK, but a lot of movie stuff will come directly from them. We’ll be privy to it beforehand and we’ll discuss what gets said, but GK is managing that process.
“I can tell you that we have scriptwriters – Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus – but we haven’t got a director associated with the project just yet. Normally the process is that you get concept approval, script writers, director, and then you hire the actors. I can also say it’s not Olivia Wilde as reported. She confirmed it!” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #4 (November 2011)]
Will the new Tomb Raider movie and game follow the same narrative?
KS: “Our goal is yes. We’ve been working very closely with GK films. You cannot compress the size of a game into 90+ minutes without making some changes, but what we’ve said so far and what we’ll continue to say is that yes, we will take the same survivor element on an island. Apart from that I can’t go into too much detail, because it’s up to Mark and Hawk to decide how they envision the story. We’re close to it, but it’s their baby.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #6 (January 2012)]
FAQ: CRYSTAL DYNAMICS
How many projects is the studio currently working on?
MM: “Crystal Dynamics is currently working on three titles – Tomb Raider, and two unannounced, original IP.”
When will we see the next Legacy of Kain game?
KS: “I can’t answer that because we’re not working on a Legacy of Kain game. The studio is focused on our three projects at the moment. One is Tomb Raider as you know, and the other two are new IP. Again, we’re not working on a Legacy of Kain game here at Crystal Dynamics.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #1 (July 2011)]
What’s the best way to secure a job at Crystal Dynamics? Do you need extensive experience? Is picking a specialty the way to go?
KS: “Have confidence and be awesome! We take people into the studio from all different levels – straight out of college, contract positions, sourcing people and so on. It all depends on the requirement. Take something like combat – which is very important to us. We needed individuals with specific experience in that area. But we have artists who have worked on only one other game and those guys are rock stars. I think if you’re really talented in whatever field you apply for, that will shine through. We wouldn’t pass up on someone just because they are fresh out of college. If you’re good, you’re good.
“If you have the benefit of going into college now and knowing you want to work in video games, that’s great. You’ll have the upper hand. But I’m a classically trained animator. There is an organic element to it too. When I finished college I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had this great opportunity to work on animation and then I moved into marketing and then moved into brand. Now I blend the two together and I understand two fields. So I wouldn’t say that just because you didn’t study it in college means you’re stuck. I guarantee if you asked one or two people in the studio what they used to do, they started in finance or the like.” [Transcribed from Crystal Habit Podcast #3 (September 2011)]
Last edited by Driber; 06-04-2013 at 02:52 AM.
And if you want a chance of seeing one of your questions up here in the official FAQ, we're holding monthly* dev Q&A sessions here on the forum where every month you can ask your most pressing questions and 5 of them will be picked after every session and gets answered by a Crystal Dynamics crew member.
For archival purposes, here are the links to all our forum Q&A sessions: