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Thread: Lara Croft: The RPG

  1. #1

    Default Lara Croft: The RPG

    As people seem to be pretty curious about this idea, I thought I'd set out what I mean by it in some detail, if for no other reason than I think it would make a good talking point!

    First of all, I am not proposing endless number crunching or Lara gaining levels of experience or anything like that. Those are often used parts of RPG systems, but they are not an essential part of what makes an RPG.

    RPGs are, in essence composed of three things: story, characterisation and player choice (Yes, JRPGs and ARPGs are something else, but bear with me!)

    What I would like is to incorporate the essence of choice, as well as bringing in a few more elements from normal RPG systems, such as a proper inventory.

    Lara has always had an inventory, but despite the backpack she wears everywhere, it's always been a bit basic. I'd like to be able to change weapons and outfits from within the inventory, allowing Lara to switch weapons or outfits as the player desires.

    This would allow Lara to carry more weapons, as in the older games, and allow picked up outfits to be found within the game itself. Because there would still be buttons for things like using health packs, the interference of the inventory with game play would be fairly minimal, for those who are not keen.

    Allowing for more inventory items also allows for new types of challenges, of course. Different outfits could be more effective in different areas (Heavy Arctic gear, swim wear, etc). Wear a bikini in the Arctic, and you'll freeze, etc.

    The choice element comes in with conversations, of course. Though most of Lara's adventures do take place in isolation, there are always times when she talks to someone. Having dialogue options would help the player play Lara the way they see her.

    It may also be interesting to give Lara a choice of routes (As was done with TR3. A very good idea, in a not very good game).

    Other possible choices could involve things like 'shoot bad guy who is begging for mercy' or 'spare bad guy who is begging for mercy'. A situation Lara sees a lot! Both options could have consequences down the line, and not always as expected.

    So I'm not really proposing to re-invent the wheel, here. Just deepen certain aspects of the game that have been there all along and give the player more choice in how to play 'their' Lara.

    This is what I think AoD was on the edge of achieving. If they hadn't put in the silly push specific block stuff and actually finished the game before releasing it, I think it may have been the closest TR game yet to what I am proposing.

    What are your thoughts, ladies and gentleman?
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    I would love to see an open-world Lara RPG with many of the aspects you just mentioned.
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    pretty much that as well. i liked these choices we had in AoD and it would be nice to see them as well in future games.

    you also gave me an idea how lara should use her clothing. like if she is in an colder area and has no choice but to swim across a freezing cold river, she should take them off (obviously wearing a swimwear or even a isolation suit), put them in a bag and swim across. start a fire, warm up, put on the dry clothing. ready to go.
    if she does not, she will be freezing for the rest of the way and it would stop her from moving properly and choosing paths she could reach if she was still dry.
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    I love the idea.

    It surely would deviate from the standard Tomb Raider formula, but I think this series will have to keep exploring new things - and isn't that what TR is all about? - to keep it fresh. I mean I think they can make the same game as TR9 with different settings and things for one or two more times, but then people and the press will start to complain that every TR is the same again...

    Incidently I was just talking to my friends about the possibility of Lara ever having a romantic affair. Not everyone seemed to agree on it, but my conclusion was that the only way to do this was to turn it into an RPG... If the storyteller would just decide for her who she's gonna get romantically involved with there would be too many people who wouldn't approve of that perticular person (if it were Sam, for instance) and there would be riots in the streets. That is why it should be the choice of the player: amongst the NPC's that can be talked to as was suggested earlier there should be at least three different guys with different personalities and backgrounds that can be potential boyfriends... And the fourth would be... *sigh*... Sam, for the ones who are into that... And for the ones who think that Lara should be single for all eternity, they can just romance nobody.

    Not only would that make sure that nobody is unhappy; it could potentially become one of Tomb Raiders biggest assets, as the romancing is one of Mass Effects biggest assets right now...

  5. #5

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    Thanks, guys

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    Metal,

    Clothing based puzzles would be cool, yeah. I kind of like pinching the 'combine items to get better/different items' mechanic common to adventure games, too. There's a lot that can be done with an inventory.

    ***

    Jurre,

    I agree that an RPG is about the only way to include romance options without the fan base exploding, yes. The trick is continuing the story through multiple games, with multiple romance options. Still, as long as the love interest is basically a support character, it's definitely doable. It's not like they would be with Lara for much of the game, after all.

    And yes, Tomb Raider needs to keep evolving. I think all game franchises do, honestly.
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    the game drakan had a nice inventory system. you always had the option to select what weapon she should use and of course you had the option to select if she should wear her armor. just of course it took away a lot of space if you didnt wear the armor.
    but, what was a very good thing in this game, was that the swords cant be used all the time. the more you used it, the more they got damaged until she stood there without any weapon or automatically switched if she had one in her inventory.
    i can see this happening with laras cloths as well. the more it gets damaged, she either has to fix them or use other clothing or use anything like some old rags or what ever to keep warm or just to protect her self from more damage.

    and about the relationship part:
    yep, optional would be a great idea. and having an option for romance should be left for the player to decide.
    but generally he has a good point that it does need some changes to keep the franchise fresh and interesting.
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    Not keen on item damage in TR. It works great in Diablo 2, but I'm not really convinced it's something that would fit with TR. And moreso as it's rare for Lara to be in close quarters combat, so what would be damaging her guns, exactly? Plus, fiddly. Not sure TR fans would warm to too much fiddly.

    I probably play more RPGs than anything else (Except maybe RTS', but still), so I'm used to massive amounts of upgrading, number crunching, etc, don't get me wrong. I even enjoy it, which probably means I'm a masochist

    But - for me, Lara Croft the RPG should not move too far away from the basic idea of the game. Even at the expense of the number crunching!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Kane View Post
    Not keen on item damage in TR.
    But it won't be Tomb Raider

    I think some item damage is okay, like Armour and melee weapons, but ranged and artefacts no

    Also, to expand on fast travel, there should be a system like the one in Just Cause 2, where Lara would be picked up in a chopper and dropped off to a location instead of just zapping there. The chopped could cost some in game dolla' too?

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    @EK Yes, not full-on RPG, but a Tomb Raider game with various RPG elements. We've seen some of them in the previous game, now's the question what can be added to enhance the experience, not ruin it
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    Quote Originally Posted by d1n0_xD View Post
    @EK Yes, not full-on RPG, but a Tomb Raider game with various RPG elements. We've seen some of them in the previous game, now's the question what can be added to enhance the experience, not ruin it
    Absolutely, D1no, yes

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    ABH,

    Must admit, I'm thinking more in terms of 'improved Tomb Raider' rather than 'totally new game'.

    I'd want to bring over as many TR fans as possible, after all
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    lol, i think you misunderstood my meaning of damage. i just mentioned weapon damage from drakan. not laras weapons, but her clothing instead. the only weapon that could be damaged would be her climbing axe.
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    Yeah, that could work, Metal

    Could include sewing kits for clothing repair as well as med packs!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Kane View Post
    ABH,

    Must admit, I'm thinking more in terms of 'improved Tomb Raider' rather than 'totally new game'.

    I'd want to bring over as many TR fans as possible, after all
    T_T

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    Quote Originally Posted by a big house View Post
    T_T

    Dreams = Crushed
    Well, we could always go the complete RPG route: levelling, shops, loot drops, stat increasing, items that give Lara bonuses to various abilities, even give her recruitable companions to work with her... But would it still be recognisable as a Lara Croft game?

    Would any TR fan see it as being remotely recognisable?

    It's the kind of game I'd probably enjoy, sure (Reading my comic tells you that, right? ), but it's not really Tomb Raider.
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    But it doesn't have to be Tomb Raider, the two LC games we already have aren't exactly Tomb Raider. I think a fair amount of people (not necessarily fans) would be up for it, the Star Wars and LotRs franchises both have (MMO)RPG games, so there'd be some amount of interest there.

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    I think an important discussion about this transition is the demographic that like RPG's and if it's a wider audience than the TReboot has and/or will it put these new fans off the game?

    A lot of fans like the new action/shooter style of Tomb Raider. Not sure if they'd be on board for a slower paced game with non-linear gameplay (though I'd love that!)
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    Quote Originally Posted by a big house View Post
    Also, to expand on fast travel, there should be a system like the one in Just Cause 2, where Lara would be picked up in a chopper and dropped off to a location instead of just zapping there. The chopped could cost some in game dolla' too?
    This is essentially what one of my suggestions to the Wishlist thread, just with a campervan instead of a helicopter, that would work as a campsite +1, where you only can fast travel between campervan sites, while not being able to fast travel to or from regular campsites. The campervan would be were all the NPCs will be without having them turn into a Samsel in Distress, and can offer expert opinions that Lara may lack (such as geology, biology, engineering etc). In addition, it can be used as storage (let's say she can only take one large gun such as a shotgun or rifle with her, she has to choose at the campervan).

    In terms of a damage system, the best one I have seen for clothes is The Sims Castaway (Wii), in which clothes, especially normal ones from civilisation, get damaged to the point shirts and trousers become boob tubes and hot pants, however, a sewing kit can repair clothes (as well as shave and give haircuts), but not to the original state, but a repaired version of the state it is in (tears are sewn closed, etc). However, this may be too in depth for Tomb Raider.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by a big house View Post
    But it doesn't have to be Tomb Raider, the two LC games we already have aren't exactly Tomb Raider. I think a fair amount of people (not necessarily fans) would be up for it, the Star Wars and LotRs franchises both have (MMO)RPG games, so there'd be some amount of interest there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Weemanply109 View Post
    I think an important discussion about this transition is the demographic that like RPG's and if it's a wider audience than the TReboot has and/or will it put these new fans off the game?

    A lot of fans like the new action/shooter style of Tomb Raider. Not sure if they'd be on board for a slower paced game with non-linear gameplay (though I'd love that!)
    True, both. I'm not sure how popular RPGs are outside of the PC, to be honest, which could be a problem. Consoles do get a lot of JRPGs, sure, but all the best CRPGs - Baldur's Gate, PS:T, etc - are PC only. Whether that's because they are impossible on console or a lot less popular, I don't know.

    While I think a lot of us would really like a full-on RPG with all the trimmings (I know I would!), there may indeed be demographic problems.

    For something like that, there would certainly have to be a new series name, to differentiate it from the actual Tomb Raider series (I kinda like 'The Adventures Of Lara Croft').

    My original, more modest, proposal would be a Tomb Raider game, just with a few tweaks I feel would deepen the experience. This would be something else.

    But what the heck, right? The more ideas the merrier, IMO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Kane View Post
    For something like that, there would certainly have to be a new series name, to differentiate it from the actual Tomb Raider series (I kinda like 'The Adventures Of Lara Croft').
    Damn I was just about to post that!
    I really like RPG games, but I don't want that the reboot games are going to be a RPG, and sure they can add some things, but not that much. I think they should make a new serie of games for that.


    (Little bit OT, but does anyone knows about the RPG serie dragon quest? ((it's sooo good imo.))
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    I think we can all agree that a franchise must keep evolving to stay fresh. But to me this is just empty platitude, really. It's all about how you do it. Not all changes proposed by fans (myself included) are necessary "good" and "fresh" and will not necessarily help to move a franchise forward, just like keeping everything the same is not always good

    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Kane View Post
    Lara has always had an inventory, but despite the backpack she wears everywhere, it's always been a bit basic. I'd like to be able to change weapons and outfits from within the inventory, allowing Lara to switch weapons or outfits as the player desires.
    Switching weapons at will - TR already does that.

    Switching outfits at will - this doesn't necessarily make the game an "RPG". There are RPGs in which you can't change your outfit until you are home. Which is something TR already did in previous games. In fact, in TR9 it was even easier to change outfits; you just had to find a camp site.

    This would allow Lara to carry more weapons, as in the older games, and allow picked up outfits to be found within the game itself. Because there would still be buttons for things like using health packs, the interference of the inventory with game play would be fairly minimal, for those who are not keen.
    I don't see your point here, really. Lara can already carry as many weapons as they exist. In fact, I've seen people even complaining about weapons disappearing from her body when they switch. Which IMO is not a problem at all, but there you go...

    Allowing for more inventory items also allows for new types of challenges, of course. Different outfits could be more effective in different areas (Heavy Arctic gear, swim wear, etc). Wear a bikini in the Arctic, and you'll freeze, etc.
    Didn't we already have a thread on this? I remember people posting all kinds of outfit suggestions together with entire lists like health +10, armour -20, etc.

    The choice element comes in with conversations, of course. Though most of Lara's adventures do take place in isolation, there are always times when she talks to someone. Having dialogue options would help the player play Lara the way they see her.
    I don't see TR becoming heavy on dialogue options. I think the level of options like in AoD were as much as could be workable in a TR game. And even those were pretty much meaningless; if you chose the "wrong" option, you simply died. There was no significant alter outcome from choosing different dialog options.

    It may also be interesting to give Lara a choice of routes (As was done with TR3. A very good idea, in a not very good game).
    TR3 was one of the best TR games ever. The alternative routes were a nice way to make the player feel more free, but at the end of the day it really wasn't that much different from having just one straight path, which the majority of the game was made of.

    And if I'm not mistaken, TR9 actually had similar amount of alternative paths.

    Other possible choices could involve things like 'shoot bad guy who is begging for mercy' or 'spare bad guy who is begging for mercy'. A situation Lara sees a lot! Both options could have consequences down the line, and not always as expected.
    This one I like

    I can see a scenario where for example Lara spares more than 50% of people begging for their lives, a crew mate make some comment about Lara being merciful. And if Lara kills more than 50% of people begging, then she'd get some nasty eyes from her crew mates

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Kane View Post
    Well, we could always go the complete RPG route: levelling, shops, loot drops, stat increasing, items that give Lara bonuses to various abilities, even give her recruitable companions to work with her... But would it still be recognisable as a Lara Croft game?

    Would any TR fan see it as being remotely recognisable?

    It's the kind of game I'd probably enjoy, sure (Reading my comic tells you that, right? ), but it's not really Tomb Raider.
    I posted something similar in that other thread, all my good ideas aren't in this thread But yeah, it would be recognizable, IMO. It was recognizable in the previous games, right?
    And believe me, RPGs are popular on consoles too, especially Dragon Age and Mass Effect.


    Quote Originally Posted by Driber View Post
    This one I like

    I can see a scenario where for example Lara spares more than 50% of people begging for their lives, a crew mate make some comment about Lara being merciful. And if Lara kills more than 50% of people begging, then she'd get some nasty eyes from her crew mates

    Yep, that would be nice, but it adds the question of how much it changes the story or something, is it only getting nasty eyes from her crew mates (maybe they don't want to interact with her anymore, closing off some side-content) or different endings? Not sure how much would people go for different endings, but changes within a single game would be cool, thus increasing replay value
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    Quote Originally Posted by d1n0_xD View Post

    Yep, that would be nice, but it adds the question of how much it changes the story or something, is it only getting nasty eyes from her crew mates (maybe they don't want to interact with her anymore, closing off some side-content) or different endings? Not sure how much would people go for different endings, but changes within a single game would be cool, thus increasing replay value
    Relatively small changes, yes.

    Anything as big as completely different endings I don't see happening in a TR game any time soon.

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    You know, Elliot Kane - and others - the more I think of this the more I believe we are onto something... With a longstanding game like TR and a fanbase that is made up of several different groups - old fans, new fans, even newer fans - who have different ideas of what Tomb Raider should be - less action, more action, more puzzles, less dialogue, and so on - and who Lara Croft should be - more girly, less girly, evil, nice, more friends, no friends - I think the RPG would be the natural way in which this game would evolve.

    That way all those people can more or less shape the experience in the way they want it to be. That way we wouldn't have to argue whether Lara's eyeliner is waterproof or not, the ones who want eyeliner on her just put in on in the character costumization and the ones that don't don't. The ones who want more action do the action sidequests and the ones who want puzzles do the puzzle sidequests.

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    Nah, you'll always have people arguing and complaining about every little thing, even with RPG elements to the max. And in a way, that is what makes this TR community so fun - having these endless discussions

    As long as they stay civil, that is

    I do like the idea of some RPG elements, and it certainly makes for interesting hypotheticals, but at the end of the day I just want TR to focus on what's important - raiding tombs.

    The only thing I passionately advocate in terms of making things optional are UI things, like them bloody hints/helper icons/pop ups

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    Quote Originally Posted by Driber View Post
    I do like the idea of some RPG elements, and it certainly makes for interesting hypotheticals, but at the end of the day I just want TR to focus on what's important - raiding tombs.
    Agreed.
    I wouldn't want Tomb Raider to become Skyrim of sorts...well, actually that would be cool. I don't want TR to become a total RPG, but some elements could do it justice. Open world, for starters, with being able to walk around and talk to different people, choose what Lara says, etc. similar to Angel of Darkness and Mass Effect.
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