Tomb Raider

Rebooting a beloved franchise is always a tough business. How does one change enough to make it feel fresh, but keep enough to be sure the core of the character survives. This is what Crystal Dynamics had to figure out with Tomb Raider. The studio wanted to put a fresh spin on the iconic character in the new decade, and while some aspects of the original character did not survive, Crystal Dynamics Brand Director told me there were some things they knew they had to keep.

There are things that are just intrinsic to the franchise that you cannot let go of Laura as a brilliant archeologist, the puzzles, the tombs, fast-paced combat, the sense of discovery these are things that are just part of the franchise. Even though we're bringing it to a modern, gritty, survival action feeling we can't let go of those things.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Rich Briggs, the Brand Director with Crystal Dynamics. During the interview, he spoke about the process of trying to decide what aspects from the previous games to keep, and which to move away from. While fast paced combat and exploration survived, other memorable things, like Lara Croft's acrobatic jumping ability and dual pistols, were left behind, replaced with a character who relies more on a bow and arrow than guns. While some of these changes were quite drastic, it appears that fans have embraced the new Lara Croft.

The Tomb Raider franchise is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. As part of that, the PlayStation 4 version of Rise of The Tomb Raider is being released alongside new DLC for the existing editions of the game. Blood Ties is once again a unique take on the series, as the mission is focused on exploration of Croft Manor, with little to no combat. The combat has been saved for the other new piece of DLC, Lara's Nightmare. Blood Ties will also be Lara's fist foray into virtual reality, via PlayStation VR.

While the new content may wrap up Rise of the Tomb Raider, it's hardly the end for Crystal Dynamics and Lara Croft. A new film starring Alicia Vikander in the lead role is in pre-production, and it will use the new version of the character as its focus. In addition, a new Franchise Director has been hired to handle Tomb Raider directly, meaning that there are certainly plans to do a lot more with Lara Croft in the future.

What do you think of Lara Croft? Are there other aspects of the character, or the game mechanics that you wish they'd kept or anything else they should have done away with? Let us know in the comments.

Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration will be out October 11.

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