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Games of 2012: Tomb Raider

Drawing inspiration from James Bond and Batman as it treads the dark path to reinvention...

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LICENSE TO CROFT
That's not to say all traces of the original Tomb Raider are gone. "We took inspiration of course from the new Batman, but also from the new James Bond," explains Stewart. "Those are two stories that are new, but have very firm pillars - we know who Bruce Wayne is, we know what he's about for example. If you look at James Bond, you know he's a British agent and that he has a license to kill, but if you look at the different time periods of Bond: they always delivered something exciting, and something you look forward to going to the movies to watch. But you can't give those older Bonds to today's audiences".

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In contrast, Tomb Raider 2012 is very, very relevant. "Bond used to be this guy who travelled to exotic places and saw the world - but anyone can do that now by hopping on a Rynair flight for less than £100. Just having a movie set in the Algarve just doesn't seem that exotic any more.

"So what they did was they made it more of an emotional, more visceral experience and allowed you to get close to the character. That's how we've approached Tomb Raider. It's not about how big we can make an explosion, it's about how close we can get the player to a character, and how closely they can take the journey with them".

While we've seen Lara struggling to survive during the E3 2011 demo, we've also been given a taste of how she'll navigate the mysterious island she's shipwrecked on. She moves much like Nathan Drake, and the camera tracks her dynamically as she leaps and climbs, heightening the scale of bigger scenes and emphasising the claustrophobia of tighter areas.

With the emphasis on making Lara feel like a real, believable character the animations need to be spot on - and they are. She moves like a realistic object within the world - again like the Nathan Drake of Uncharted 3 - tripping over rocks that jut out of the ground, pushing her body through tight spaces, leaning against objects as she struggles to regain her breath.

So far, we've seen her interact with elements like fire and water (she can light torches, and in turn set things on fire, but conversely water will extinguish any flames she creates), but haven't yet found out how she'll cope with things like extreme cold, or cloying vegetation and extreme darkness - all of which are prevalent on the island she's stranded on.

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