Throughout its history, Tomb Raider has had Lara traveling across the globe in search for all sorts of ancient relics. Unsurprisingly, these relics are usually found in ancient ruins surrounded by myths and protected by unexplained mysteries. What some might not know is that all of Lara’s adventures are all based on real lore.
This is by choice, as developer Crystal Dynamics likes to build its fiction off of real historical legends when building world and the story for their next game, and Rise of the Tomb Raider is no different.
We wanted to put Lara into a whole new location, someplace that still fulfilled the goals of survival, but had a whole new look than Yamatai. When we did the research, we found a myth that would take us to the mountains of Siberia, and that just seemed like a really cool hostile place, which became a great foundation for our story and gave us a landscape that was new, and required a whole new set of technologies. – Brian Horton, Game Director
Many details are taken into consideration when deciding on a myth to base a Tomb Raider game on. Location, culture, how it will shape the story, how it will affect the gameplay and of course, how it will affect Lara. The 2013 reboot reshaped the franchise in terms of narrative and storytelling. Now the story is a much more important factor than it use to be and Crystal Dynamics has to build off of where the last game ended.
“One of the things I love about Lara is her determination, but at this point it’s grown into almost an obsession as she chases the secret to immortality across the globe looking for any clue that can validate what she’s seen. She’s almost on the end of her rope at this point in the story. Some of these myths are true across cultures. There are echoes of this myth everywhere. But she alone is the one who connects the secret to immortality to the lost city of Kitezh. – Noah Hughes, Franchise Creative Director
If you’ve never heard of the lost city of Kitezh, you’re probably in the majority. This myth is unknown and isn’t extremely popular as far as adventure stories are concerned though it does ring at a familiar tune. You can click here for a more detailed account of the myth, but I’m just going to sum it up real quick for those who are mildly curious.
The lost city of Kitezh is based on a 13th century Russian legend that actually talks about the two cities Maly Kitezh and Bolshoy Kitezh. It begins after Grand Prince of Vladimir, George II, has founded the city of Bolshoy Kitezh off the shore of Lake Svetloyar which is said to be a “lavish spectacle full of wondrous secrets and cryptic knowledge.” In short, George II retreats with his army to Bolshoy Kitezh when a Mongolian prince invades. But rather than defending themselves, the whole city begins to pray and the entire city sinks into the nearby lake – taking everything with it. It’s said that only those who are pure in their heart and soul will find their way to Kitezh.
We’ll have to wait and see if Lara proves to be pure of heart when Rise of the Tomb Raider comes out on Xbox One and Xbox 360 this holiday season. Whether or not she’ll be exploring both cities has yet to be determined, but the Russian wilderness and hidden tombs should pose a formidable challenge regardless.