As brilliant as it was, the Tomb Raider reboot was as much about Lara killing her way through a small army as it was about surviving the harsh, supernatural island she was stranded on. It served as a fantastic setup for the continuation of the series, but Crystal Dynamics was aware that there needed to be a bit more emphasis on the environments Lara would be exploring, and how they could be just as harsh as a loaded gun. Rise of the Tomb Raider has already learnt a lot over the past two years, making the open-world the greatest enemy.
The timed Xbox exclusive is the feature for this month’s Game Informer, meaning they’ve got all sorts of details about a game we have yet to see in action. Game director Brian Horton sat down with them to talk about how wildlife was rebuilt to feel far more organic and important this time around, and why wolves just really hate Lara Croft.
“We have a time of day and weather system that allows different animals to appear at different times. So if I want a recipe that requires an Alpha Wolf, and it only comes out at night, I’ll have to re-traverse to a location at that time to hunt him.
Tomb Raider has a rich tradition of wolves as an enemy, and there’s a certain intelligence to a wolf. That’s what makes them scary, and I think that’s what makes them a great natural predator for Lara.”
Upgrades will also factor in heavily this time around, with certain areas being completely sealed off until you have the right bow or ice pick attachment. Tombs even have Guardians, such as a massive, near invincible bear, which can only be taken down with the right gear.
“Some of our explorable spaces are protected by Guardians, and one of the Guardians we showed in our demo was this gigantic Siberian bear. Lara doesn’t have the right equipment to deal with the bear at the beginning, but when you come back – geared up, powered up – it’s still a very challenging fight…”
While Crystal Dynamics has only really shown off the snow filled tundra of Siberia, Horton once again emphasised that it’s only one of the areas that Lara will explore. The Oasis will bring about different elements and temperatures for players to deal with. For example, Lara won’t be able to follow animal tracks in the snow when there’s no snow at all.
“It isn’t completely permafrost. This oasis, which we’re not going into a lot of detail about – just now that different weather, different temperatures are important to make sure we’re not going with one single look throughout the whole game.”
I must admit, I’m becoming quite excited about Rise of the Tomb Raider the more I hear about it. Crystal Dynamics don’t seem to be reinventing anything here, but rather adding elements to a formula that wasn’t quite perfect the first time around. And considering these are neat, survivalist mechanics that fit in nicely with tomb raiding, this timed exclusive – infuriating as it is – looks like a major title this year.
Last Updated: February 12, 2015