How Rambo, Terminator and Aliens vs. Predator helped influence Rise Of The Tomb Raider

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It’s easy to see how various films over the years have helped influence video games. Assassin’s Creed 3 feels like a lengthy session of Mel Gibson’s The Patriot, specifically that one scene where he axed British redcoats a few questions, while Call Of Duty was clearly inspired by a highlight reel of explosions in Michael Bay movies. Rise Of The Tomb Raider is no different, and various movies helped influence the direction of that game. Various kickass films, that is.

When production began on the sequel to the 2013 reboot, Crystal Dynamics put together a fake trailer for the game, using scenes from various films to do so. Called a rippomatic, these trailers help set the tone and ultimate goal for the game. “We look at media as a place to start and give us ideas and inspire us to make something better,” Rise of the Tomb Raider director Brian Horton said to Game Informer. While the films themselves were varied, they all contained specific scenes and ideas that Crystal Dynamics wanted to incorporate into the sequel and emulate, according to Horton.

It informs the gestalt of what ultimately becomes our own idea. It’s basically a sketch.

So what movies helped create the direction and tone for Rise Of The Tomb Raider then? Rambo: First Blood 2 gave the team an example of proper stealth guerrilla warfare for Lara to use, while Terminator 2: Judgement Day made Crystal Dynamics realise that much like Sarah Connor, Lara was also in search of a truth that only she believed in. A truth that would require her to risk everything and put herself in great danger to discover.

The Edge is a 1997 film wherein Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin survive a plane crash, only to find themselves constantly hunted by a ferocious Kodiak bear. Crystal Dynamics used scenes from this film in their rippomatic, because they wanted to answer the age-old question of what it feels like to be hunted by a bear. According to me, it’s f***ing terrifying if you can’t run faster than your friend.

Other wilderness films that made the cut included Hanna and The Grey. Hanna featured a young girl in the Finland wilderness learning to survive using only a bow, which made for an easy choice and a parallel to Lara Croft. The Grey, which starred Liam Neeson and several hungry wolves, would help continue Lara’s training against the hungry canines. The Day After Tomorrow was another climate influencer due to scenes set in frozen tundras that would be echoed in Rise Of The Tomb Raider.

Then there was The Descent, a cult 2005 horror movie which featured spelunkers that had gone too far into a subterranean cave and were being hunted down by horrific creatures inside. Horton included this film thanks to the use of pickaxes and because it had been an influence in the 2013 Tomb Raider game. Lastly, Aliens Vs. Predator had been another key movie, even though it was terrible, but as Horton explained, the idea of a Predator stalking prey in a snowy environment, isolated from others, was a key factor here.

That’s a pretty varied selection right there. Although I’m kind of sad that Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back had no influence on the game at all.

Last Updated: February 20, 2015

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