Crystal Dynamics' Brian Horton Talks Tomb Raider Sequel

Crystal Dynamics' Brian Horton Talks Tomb Raider Sequel

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Lara Croft can't go back to the way she was, says Crystal Dynamics' Brian Horton.

Crystal Dynamics' Brian Horton spoke at Bradford's Animation Festival 2013, and let some information slip about the next Tomb Raider. Big changes are in store in the next chapter of Lara's development, says Horton. "Her life is changing," says he, "she can't go back to the way she was."

The team's well into development, and while Horton didn't say for which platform, or give a release date, the suggestion seems to be that a new game could be announced much earlier than we might expect. As for what it might contain, writer Gail Simone has already said that her Dark Horse comic will lead directly into the sequel, and will involve a lot more globetrotting.

Horton was keen to stress that Crystal Dynamics technology developed for the Tomb Raider reboot had been designed with next generation in mind. He was less keen to talk cost. Tomb Raider, despite excellent sales, didn't hit Square Enix's target, possibly because costs were so high that only unreasonable targets had any hope of making a profit.

"We don't talk about our budgets," Horton said. "We're not spending any more on a sequel than on the original game."

Source: Electronic Theatre

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Let's hope the sequel has less shooting and more tomb raiding, then.

Not that I'd want the shooting to disappear entirely, but I'd rather see the series focusing on the puzzle, exploration and danger-dodging aspects to keep Lara from being a murderous monster.

I hope they have more puzzles this time around. While the designs were fairly decent, I felt it was a shame they added all of these tombs to loot from, but they were cracked open within a couple of minutes. I'd also like a lot less "cinematic" moments and quick time events.

I did enjoy hunting the collectibles a lot more than most other games though.

I suspect they will make the story and game-play entwined a lot better this time around, although I suspect this will simply involve not making her quite as "innocent" in the cut-scenes, rather than lowering the violence.

Is it me, or are her boobs bigger in this picture than in the reboot?

Wouldn't mind a bit more Tomb Raiding, harder puzzles and preferably less talking in the next one. But if it has to be another shooter, please make a wider variety in enemy types, it gets old really fast when there's only 4-6 different types of almost identical enemy types :/. More stealth would also be nice enough.

Not so much 'talks' as 'mentions', as there's not a lot of info there really. I wonder if her life really will be changing in this new game, or if rather it has simply changed since that first kill in the last game when she became a psycho murderer.

The artist appears to have worked really, really hard on those boobs. (edit: that must be how her life changed! She 'blossomed'! Oy.)

I'd love another, but as everyone and their mother has said it would be nice to get more puzzles. I really enjoyed the tombs, but each one was so short. They were identical, too: Long slow tunnel - one puzzle - treasure chest with pointless rewards.

As TotalBiscuit pointed out with Shadow Warrior (classic), newer games keep getting crappier and rarer secret areas that hold pitiful rewards. I remember playing Jedi Knight and discovering that if you found all secret areas in one level you would actually earn an extra force power. The only way to max out your force powers was to find every secret in the game. TR's tombs gave us what, a little experience and scrap metal? The tombs were cool, but there were absolutely zero reasons to look for them, as by halfway through the game you unlocked every important upgrade for you and your weapons.

CardinalPiggles:
Is it me, or are her boobs bigger in this picture than in the reboot?

Not bigger, just a different position since she's hunched over like that.

Well, since they are making a sequel, lets look at my personal wishlist for that.

1: More Tombs and Puzzles. In the reboot, we had a few tombs alright, but the puzzles were basicly really simple, given only one was actually timed where as the rest were at best based on reflexes, but even then, it was one central puzzle per tomb. So more and longer tombs and puzzle sections, more jumping around in general.

2: Less fighting humans. The focus of the reboot was to maker her into a survivor against a crazy cult on an island, alright fair enough. But there were simply too many, enemies should be much rarer. Unless you are somewhere close to civilization or something it makes no sense to mow down hundreds of enemies. I mean seriously the island had the population of a small town, which seems very strange because there's also the undead japanese samurai which kill everyone. The island had way more inhabitants than it needed, and animals were very rare, i mean how many wolves do we see? About 12 or so, yet humans we fight much more often.

3: Cut out the weapons. And by that i mean remove the weapons which are barely useful, give Lara a bow and a pistol and call it a day. She shouldnt be able to carry around all those weapons realistically if the whole game is essentially a big puzzle-platformer at its core. Or if you really need more guns, do what The Last of Us did, have them be on her person and you have to pick and choose your loadout, Underworld did this as well by the way.

4: Less paranormal plot. Lara Croft is essentially a glorified relic hunter, she is Indiana Jones with boobs and without nazis. So her goal should be to find some really rare, old or epic artifacts rather than stopping yet another "demigod" or "sorceress" or something supernatural. Its fine if enemies like that are included, but they should not be the focus or the ultimate "big bad" of the game. In the reboot Mathias was a better "big bad" than the Sun Queen was and yet we got told more about her than him, even though he was essentially the central antagonist of the whole game.

What turned me off from the Tomb Raider reboot was that it seemed to suffer from an identity crisis. Instead of having a consistent tone and focusing on and exploiting a few selected mechanics, the game opted to try to do practically everything;

It's got action, grisly body horror, adventure, survival elements, 'splosions, stealth sections, climbing, Uncharted esque running through crumbling building sections, shooting, open world sandbox, collectables, puzzles(but not too many), competitive multiplayer, shooting, quick time events, references to older Tomb Raider games,'splosions, resource management, serious, dramatic, and cliched story, over the top, ridiculously contrived, and cliched action set pieces, more 'splosions, more shooting, even more collectables... it all became a blur to me less than half way through.

Some games can do the jack of all trades approach to design well, but it just didn't work for me in this instance. It felt as if the developers/publishers included all of the above aspects for the sake of appeal, and not for the game itself. Either make it a dark, serious, and realistic tale of survival, or make it a fun and dramatic adventure. The Tomb Raider reboot had a lot of potential, if only the people who made the game had bothered to make up their mind about what they wanted the game to be, it could have been great.

This shouldn't be too hard: A much more cocky, confident, and capable Lara Croft needs to be in the next Tomb Raider game. I don't have my hopes set very high since Gail Simone specializes in writing just the opposite.

A-D.:

4: Less paranormal plot. Lara Croft is essentially a glorified relic hunter, she is Indiana Jones with boobs and without nazis.

Though every Indiana Jones story out there has been about an artifact of legend - Ark of the Covenant, Sankara Stones, Grail - that turned out to be as paranormal as the legends said. With which I'm fine, by the way.

Also I'm a bit disappointed that Rhianna Pratchett doesn't seem to come back for this one. I quite liked her previous work. Guess she's getting ready for everything Discworld...

Is he saying Lara can't go back to before she was a naive kid or the series can't go back to gameplay that focuses on tombs and the raiding of them?

TheCaptain:

A-D.:

4: Less paranormal plot. Lara Croft is essentially a glorified relic hunter, she is Indiana Jones with boobs and without nazis.

Though every Indiana Jones story out there has been about an artifact of legend - Ark of the Covenant, Sankara Stones, Grail - that turned out to be as paranormal as the legends said. With which I'm fine, by the way.

Also I'm a bit disappointed that Rhianna Pratchett doesn't seem to come back for this one. I quite liked her previous work. Guess she's getting ready for everything Discworld...

Well, yes a plot which involves paranormal or otherworldly objects or artifacts is fine. Tomb Raider had basicly all that, the Indy Games did as well, the Grail and Atlantis for example, where as Tomb Raider had essentially every popular mythology, Atlantis, King Arthur and Norse Mythology in general to name a few. Its not so much the plot, but its the opponents in it. Consider that Indiana Jones always fought against enemies which tried to lay claim to some artifact, rather than try to fight some supernatural entity and yet fighting was essentially not the maingoal, you tried to get the artifact before the bad guys did, rather than say in the Indy example, Indy taking on the third reich.

It should be more about relics and archaeology rather than fighting the next best supernatural thing and her henchmen. Its too much action-adventuring and too little puzzle-platforming. The fact that Lara is set up as some kind of hero against whatever mythical thing comes next doesnt exactly help that, hence i'd want less of it. For a reboot, Tomb Raider 2013 did very little going back to the roots as it were.

Captcha: swirling vortex of entropy

That can't be good.

The Real Sandman:
What turned my off from the Tomb Raider reboot was that it seemed to suffer from an identity crisis. Instead of having a consistent tone and focusing on and exploiting a few selected mechanics, the game opted to try to do practically everything;

It's got action, grisly body horror, adventure, survival elements, 'splosions, stealth sections, climbing, Uncharted esque running through crumbling building sections, shooting, open world sandbox, collectables, puzzles(but not too many), competitive multiplayer, shooting, quick time events, references to older Tomb Raider games,'splosions, resource management, serious, dramatic, and cliched story, over the top, ridiculously contrived, and cliched action set pieces, more 'splosions, more shooting, even more collectables... it all became a blur to me less than half way through.

Some games can do the jack of all trades approach to design well, but it just didn't work for me in this instance. It felt as if the developers/publishers included all of the above aspects for the sake of appeal, and not for the game itself. Either make it dark, serious, and realistic, or make it a fun and dramatic adventure. The Tomb Raider reboot had a lot of potential, if only the people who made the game had bothered to make up their mind about what they wanted the game to be, it could have been great.

Damn you. You ninja'd me. While overall I had fun with the reboot and would look into a sequel, my big problem with it is exactly what you just said.

I might add that I HOPE TO GOD that they nix any plans for MP. The only MP that Lara Croft needs is couch co-op, if at all. I have to paraphrase Jim Sterling on this one, "nobody bought Tomb Raider to play Gears of War."

Rather, focus on a more robust storyline, richer puzzles and tombs, and varied gameplay (ie less FPS tropes...this isn't Battlefield).

JediMB:
Let's hope the sequel has less shooting and more tomb raiding, then.

Not that I'd want the shooting to disappear entirely, but I'd rather see the series focusing on the puzzle, exploration and danger-dodging aspects to keep Lara from being a murderous monster.

Agree, while I enjoyed the action in the new Tomb Raider, I wish there was more of the wonder that was in earlier games. Character development and exploration, and I'll buy a sequel no problem.

I really hope they fired whoever wrote the 2013 one. The story/characters were beyond awful.

My absolute favorite part of Tomb Raider was the night time stealth portion. It was executed exactly how a stealth game should be, and considerably better IMO than Metal Gear Solid IV. It wasn't, however, suited to a Tomb Raider game at all. I would absolutely love to see the gameplay and level design style found in that portion of the game to be expanded into something entirely new, to give Metal Gear and Splinter Cell a run for their money.

P.S. Thanks

Having bought this game the day it came out, I only finished it yesterday. Good timing for this discussion really. The game was at its core and action/survival game rather than leaning towards the action/puzzle/exploration I usually so enjoy. Nonetheless I liked the game's mechanics and story a lot. Given the 'nostalgic' development of lara towards the end of the main story, my only concern would be that the character develops awkwardly in its current genre that is less surrounded by discovery than mass murder. I would hope that any sequel progresses more towards the aforementioned puzzle/exploration side. Herald to the old days where a jumping or floor puzzle stumped me for an hour.

If anything, I really hope they bring a focus back on puzzles and tombs. I liked Tomb Raider so much that I played Anniversary, Legend, and Underworld after, and the amount of puzzles in them compared to the reboot was pleasantly surprising. I actually came to prefer those games over this one, and I didn't think Laura was portrayed badly either despite everyone saying the reboot "fixed" her. So yeah, more actual tomb raiding please.

 

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