I'm not too crazy about the idea of infinite carrying capacity in a "magic backpack". I much prefer having a carrying limit, hence only 3 guns and 1 bow (the pistols have a belt holster working in that design). And the same should be for clothes.
Now I know some people are going to rebuke; "This is video games, not real life, Adobe". Yeah I know that games aren't supposed to be "completely" realistic. As I've often said, it's not so much about realism but rather verisimilitude. The best way to create the illusion of realism within the fiction, and in the case of games, within the parameters of the game mechanics.
So the idea that Lara can carry an entire wardrobe in her backpack is quite absurd. I know it's or the convenience of switching outfits for the situation, but still... her backpack isn't the TARDIS
If we're talking about RPGs, it should be noted that most do implement inventory limits, based on either slots or weight. Granted these limits can still be somewhat unrealistic where the character is able to carry around 4 swords and 2 spare sets of armor. But the limits of what the player can carry in the world are supplemented by a town stash. And that is the solution. Spare outfits and weapons should be held in a stash (like the base camps) so the player can have the outfits necessary for various exploration conditions, and they need to plan carefully what they'll take with them (Lara) before going into that new terrain.
The idea of having to replace clothing that got worn out with the resources of the environment would have deepened the survival experience, and visually fit in with Lara clad in a makeshift animal skin ensemble. You can see how it expresses her leaving behind the vestiges of civilization and adapting to the her surroundings.
It's not that I'm opposed to seeing the franchise adopt these kind of designs. Just stressing that it need not rely on them as a crutch as the only way it's possible.
Now I can already see where the counterargument is going; "other games have new characters that were already shown to have their love interests, whereas Lara is an established character with 17 years of history".
While you and others may see that as a prerequisite for why this aspect of Lara can't change, I would argue that it highlights the very point in why it should change. The very fact that she's 17 years old (IP age) and originates from 4 generations back when the gaming medium was at the beginning of the 3D era and in its infancy of cinematic story telling - games had yet to find their potential as story driven interactive experiences. And there's still so much more potential to b reached.
Lara is a product of primitive character development, confined by the limits of the tech and medium. Back then most characters were just avatars to jump and attack on command, where character story was very basic "comic book" material of "they are the hero and are born to be awesome" formula.
But this is now 17 years later and that simplistic character scheme just doesn't cut it any more. To keep Lara thriving today, she has to grow from her simple roots. People have been talking about evolution and that's the point. This is am opportunity to evolve her character development to the standards of modern game story telling. Lara in 2015 and onwards shouldn't still appear to be a product of 5th gen (PS1, N64, Saturn) game design.
I don't even see this as changing, but really expanding on the foundation of Lara Croft. This isn't to take away from what we expect from her (courage, wit, determination, thirst for knowledge, curiosity and sense of wonder, etc...) but to add to it.
This kind of character expansion is in the very same vein as what they did to her personality in making her more vulnerable and emotional. Remember how much outcry there was in the beginning? The protests along the lines of "OMG, they made her weak, she's a wuss now, she's not the brave adventurer we knew... THIS IS NOT LARA CROFT... etc...". BUT... over time and as players came to experience this new emotional side of Lara, many turned around and came to embrace this new found humanity. Sure not all but I do think the acceptance now outweighs the opposition.
With the right kind of writing to show she can have feelings for another person while still being the strong independent explorer, that she need not sacrifice that part of her to have some intimacy in her life, that gamers can come to welcome this as another part of Lara that enriches her life, not taking away from it.
Oh and to circle back to the RPG angle, with the comparison to Mass Effect (and other Bioware games) there's a reason player options work so well there, but not necessarily for TR. It's not specific to RPG's in the mechanics sense, but how in those games, the character is the players avatar, a product of our creation (even in so far as looks) and not the developers predefined character.
Lara is not our character, any more then Link, or Master Chief, Ezio, Kratos, Solid Snake, Marcus Feenix, Samus, Max Payne, Kasumi, Batman, and so on. She's a scripted character for the game makers to tell their story, so in that sense it's probably best to leave her character development in their hands. And to that end I advocate we the gaming community should be more open to allow them to expand her in new directions that allow her to grow from how we knew her 17 years ago, so she can remain relevant to the modern gaming space.
I know I know... "dammit Adobe WHY did you have to make another long-ass post?!?!?!?"