Meet the new Lara Croft in Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

3 min read


If 2013 left one lasting impression on me, it was that this was the year that several remakes of popular games finally got the formula right. DmC: Devil May Cry tops my remake list, but Tomb Raider deserved and won plenty of love as well. And now the remake is getting a remake for next-gen consoles.

Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics is bringing back the first lady of gaming for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, that’ll see their series star get a fresh makeover.

“Having a chance to test the waters with next-gen console tech and doing a new Lara was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. For us, we always want to push the boundary on excellence and that means never settling,” executive producer Scott Amos said in an Eidos forum Q&A.

I’d say Lara’s looks are just the start for what we will continue to evolve for all future iterations of Tomb Raider on next-gen.

Part of that update includes a redesigned Lara Croft (AGAIN), which Crystal Dynamics reckoned needed to be more than just “a few extra polygons” on next-gen hardware.

“We’re excited about both this new step in upgrading Lara with her new TressFX hair, new sub-surface scattering on skin, and overall new look,” Amos said.


Lara wasn’t the only game character that got a makeover, but she did get the best possible treatment, being the star of the game and all that according to Amos:

We even added special materials that dynamically change for her when she wades through mud, or gets blood on her, or when in rain/wet so it ties her more into the world’s state as she goes. TressFX was custom written and optimized for Lara this first-time out for us on Next-gen as we hadn’t ever done it before on consoles.

We now have a new particle system, new lighting work and enhanced shadow-casters, tons of more visual storytelling elements (more debris, more details on walls, more density in the environment for vegetation).

A few of our engineers were dedicated to improving physics both on Lara and in the world. A few quick examples – Lara has equipment on her that she acquires as she goes through her adventure. The climbing axe, her radio, her bow and a quiver of arrows, etc. All of these now have subtle but simulated physics on them so as she runs, jumps, falls, stumbles, they react accordingly giving her more grounding the world.

Then the world itself – we added so many objects, plants, trees, and then wind and weather effects that also have physics simulation built into them to react with each other. Wind will make trees and leaves sway or flutter; cloth flaps against light or heavy winds accordingly; particles and Lara’s TressFX hair will drift according to the directional wind impact. All-in-all it adds a great additional depth and realism to the world.

As far as a frame rate goes, there’s no word yet on whether or not Croft can raid a full 60FPS, but Amos did confirm that the PS4 and Xbox One versions would be rendered in full 1080P. Essentially the pimped out PC version that had all those lovely visual effects, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is expected to launch sometime in 2014.

Now I really have no excuse to not play the game.

Last Updated: December 18, 2013

Darryn Bonthuys

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