The newest Tomb Raider games have been quite action heavy experiences, but the game that ends the "origin trilogy" for Lara Croft won't have quite as much gunplay as you might think. While the early trailers for Shadow of the Tomb Raider has shown Lara dropping out of trees like a jungle Batman, I spoke with Creative Director Daniel Chayer-Bisson at PAX West 2018 and he explained to me that while the two previous games in the series were as much as 60% combat focused, with the remaining portion split between puzzles and traversal elements, Shadow was designed to be more of an even split between the three major gameplay pillars. The reason for this was because, as the end of Lara's origin story, Shadow needed to better resemble the classic Tomb Raider games that inspired the new trilogy. According to Chayer-Bisson...
We knew that [Shadow of the Tomb Raider] has to be the most Tomb Raider of all three of them and one thing, when you're looking at the previous classical ones, they have a more even balance between... combat, traversal and puzzle.
While both the 2013 Tomb Raider and the follow-up Rise of the Tomb Raider were well received by fans, both games were, without question, more combat heavy that the previous generation of titles. While there were certainly combat elements then, the stealth takedowns and the massive firefights against waves of armed aggressors weren't part of those old titles. Therefore, if Shadow of the Tomb Raider is supposed to be the final chapter of Lara's origin, the last step before she becomes that character, then the new game had to feel the most like the classics.
There certainly is no lack of combat, one look at the trailers that have been released promises that, but if you've been turned off to the new adventures of Lara because there was so much gunplay, then the new chapter might be something more your speed. Senior Producer Mario Chabtini explained that part of the reason for this shift away from combat was specifically because fans wanted to see more of other things in the game.
One thing that was important [to the community] was to bring back the tombs, and also the underwater was something that was really, really, important. By bringing back those things it kind of balanced the overall experience.
What's more, the new game will also be much more customizable to whatever play style you want. There will be three different difficulty selections, one for each pillar of the game, combat, puzzles, and traversal. That way, if you're not into combat, you can drop that difficulty down, while even increasing difficulty on puzzles and traversal, in order to challenge yourself in different areas. If you want to amp up the combat, you certainly can.
With not much time left at all until Shadow of the Tomb Raider is here, the end of this chapter of Lara Croft's life will come to a close. Though, exactly how she will become the character we know remains to be seen.