Lara Croft to Receive the Gritty Reboot Treatment in New Tomb Raider
Square Enix bought Eidos Interactive in 2009 with the sole intention of making a dent into the Western gaming market, acquiring properties such as Kane & Lynch and the Hitman series. One of the biggest question marks surrounding the acquisition has been the future of the Tomb Raider franchise, the series that is often seen as the face of the 32-bit generation before losing popularity and relevance to other 3D platformers such as the Prince of Persia and Uncharted series.
While the release of Tomb Raider: Underworld in 2008 received generally favorable reviews and above-average sales expectations, it’s clear that Lara Croft’s dominance over the video gaming culture has long eroded. Since Square Enix’s acquisition of Eidos, Lara Croft has been seen in the downloadable game “Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light”, which served as a radical departure from the 3D action platformer of previous games to an isometric arcade title that emphasized multiplayer cooperation to solve puzzles.
As revealed on the cover of the new Game Informer, the new game will simply be titled “Tomb Raider” and will serve as a prequel to the series as we know it, featuring a younger Lara Croft as depicted on the cover of January’s Game Informer magazine. The game will take place after Croft is “washed ashore on an unknown beach” after a storm leaves her shipwrecked. Crystal Dynamics, the studio who has been tasked with the Tomb Raider series since 2003, will once again be handling development duties.
While it certainly feels like a long time since Lara Croft felt relevant, I was excited after playing this year’s “Guardian of Light” and discovering how much fun the character could be. It makes perfect sense for Square Enix to want to reboot the franchise, though several questions surround the project: will the game follow an action-adventure style more akin to the Uncharted series (which is, on one hand, a natural progression from the Tomb Raider series), or will the game feature a dramatic alteration to the game’s genre, possibly adding in RPG and stat elements akin to many Square Enix games? Only time will tell.