So that didn’t take long. Before 10 hours had even passed after the release of this month’s digital issues of Gameinformer screenshots were already making the rounds over on Reddit. I’m not entirely sure if that’s legal, but I can’t say I wasn’t excited to look at all the pretty pictures. You’ll find a gallery of the images at bottom of this page if you want to have a look for yourself. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started!
Platforms & Player Count
Literally the first thing we’re told is that the game coming to both the Xbox One and Xbox 360. We already knew this, but later on in the article it touches on this topic. Basically, if you are at all worried that the Xbox 360 version may hinder the development process or quality of the Xbox One version – don’t be. Darrell Gallagher (head of western studios) assures us that this won’t happen, as Crystal Dynamics isn’t even involved with the Xbox 360 port. An entirely separate developer (Nixxes Software) is in charge of that project. “We’re wholly focused on Rise being an Xbox One title without limitation, without even thinking of the Xbox 360 version. But the existence of that game isn’t limiting our work on the Xbox One version.”
Right after that we’re told this game is completely single player. Hooray for no more tacked on multiplayer with empty servers and un-achievable achievements! It’s always good to test the waters when it comes to these sorts of things, but it’s also good to stay away from what wasn’t popular. Multiplayer just didn’t belong in a Tomb Raider game and I’m glad to see Crystal Dynamics going back to its single player roots.
Story & Settings
Details concerning build up from the last game and how the story starts off are discussed, but I’ll let you read the article for the detailed version. In short, Lara experienced things on Yamatai that still haunt her, and those things are making it hard for her to reintegrate back into society. “She’s being called crazy [and] her next expedition is a way of dealing with the trauma she’s been through, but it’s also a way of finding peace by chasing any shred of evidence that what she saw was real,” says Hughes. Lara spends the year after Yamatai researching immortality myths when she stumbles across the legend of the invisible city of Kitezh.
In the previous game, players were tied down to one location for the entire ride. This was something never before done in a Tomb Raider game and some fans (myself included) weren’t entirely thrilled with that design choice. Crystal Dynamics has recognized this complaint and promises that Rise of the Tomb Raider will feature “at least two different locations across the globe.” They didn’t say where the second location is, but during Gameinformer’s demo they were shown dusty landscapes, dense forests, and underwater caverns. There is also a picture of some unknown sandy ruins in the middle of the article. Crystal Dynamics also promised that Rise of the Tomb Raider will have greater breadth of terrain across its locales.
Characters, Crafting & Combat
So far the only characters that have been mentioned by name are Jonah Maiava and Lara herself. Without giving too much away, Jonah seems to be the friend that stuck with her the most and is helping her deal with her past. Trinity, a shadowy organization Lara has since become familiar with, is also mentioned and is made out to be the games main antagonist. If you collected all the extra trinkets scattered around the last game and the name sounds familiar, you aren’t crazy. Trinity’s existence was hinted at on Yamatai and it seems like they’re finally going to officially make an appearance.
Crafting was a big part of the 2013 reboot. Constantly collecting salvage to unlock upgrades for weapons and tools was an important part of the game, and Crystal Dynamics is taking that approach and expanding on it in a lot of interesting ways. Lara can collect everything from plants, minerals and metals to clothes, hides and “other rare relics.” These resources can then be used to create a variety of tools and gadgets such as grappling lines, traps, health packs, poisonous ammo, and even Molotov cocktails or grenades. She can still upgrade her weapons, but now she has multiple versions of each weapon to choose from. Each ‘version’ of a weapon has its pros and cons, and different upgrades will require specific resources which may only be available during certain weather or times of the day.
Combat is being adjusted in Rise of the Tomb Raider as well, with new movement options and techniques for her to exploit as well as improved AI and player-determined scenarios. Lara can now climb trees, hide in small brush and swim underwater to avoid combat, but once the alarm is raised prepare to hold your own.
“Our goals for combat are to give players as many opportunities as they can to engage combat on their own terms. The goal will rarely be for Lara to sneak past everybody, but there will be opportunities for her to sneak through a camp and gain a better lay of the land before engaging the enemy head-on. We wanted to give players more of those situations and more tools to use in those situations. You can lose guys once enemies are away of your location, but it’s usually better to fight noise with noise. We don’t want players to feel so dominant that they can always reset the guards to a dumb obvious state. There are repercussions for getting caught, and it’s harder to evade once the fight is on.”
It really sounds (and looks) like Crystal Dynamics knows what they’re doing and have an organized vision of how they want this game to play out. With the team taking everything they learned from the 2013 Reboot and using that knowledge to improve the game in almost every way, Rise of the Tomb Raider already looks like it’s going to be another major success. “We talk about games like Uncharted 2 or Assassin’s Creed II, series that in their first outing had a really inspiring new gameplay proposition, but didn’t fully realize that experience until the sequel. That’s what our team is aiming to do – really trying to outdo ourselves.”
- Crystal Dynamics focusing solely on Xbox One version
- Xbox 360 version being ported by Nixxes Software
- Single player only; no more multiplayer
- Story involves Lara struggling with her past; this expedition is a way of dealing with the trauma
- Setting will take place in Siberia and another unknown location
- Dusty landscapes, dense forests, and underwater caverns – desert ruins confirmed!
- Jonah Maiava is making a return
- It’s a race against Trinity to find the secrets of Kitezh
- Improved crafting components; collect plants, minerals, metals, clothes, hides and more
- Multiple weapon types for your preferred play style, upgrades sold separately
- Locations will have greater breadth of terrain
- Dynamic weather and day/night cycles will influence the environment
- Improved combat and AI scenarios
- Tree climbing, brush hiding and underwater swimming confirmed!