Square Enix has given us another teasing taste of Rise of the Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics’ upcoming direct sequel to its fantastic 2013 reboot of the popular action/adventure franchise, and it’s a literal cliffhanger.
It opens with a montage of great explorers from history — Amelia Earheart and Robert Edwin Peary, among others — as Lara Croft waxes philosophical in voiceover about what drives people to explore the farthest fringes of our world. We then cut to Lara climbing a frigid, forbidding mountain with very little in the way of safety precautions. One poorly-placed axe on an ice wall leads to her near doom as the cliff shatters and tumbles around her. Being a video game protagonist, she of course survives (aside from those numerous deaths rendered non-canon by returning to a previous save point), and reaches a tomb which she will presumably proceed to raid of everything that isn’t nailed down.
Unlike the sweaty, tropical island of 2013’s Tomb Raider, Rise sees Lara exploring the frigid environment of Siberia to uncover its ancient secrets. The supernatural occurrences of the previous game have been covered up, and in order to prove her own sanity, Lara has gone on a quest to find more evidence that can be shown to the world. The environment will play a more active role in gameplay this time around, with a dynamic weather system and day/night cycle that affects both Lara and the various NPCs and animals sharing the world with her. For instance, in order to craft an upgrade for her coat to better endure the blizzards, Lara has to track down a white wolf that only comes out to hunt at a particular time.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was first announced at E3 2014, but no real gameplay has been shown yet — that will almost certainly debut at E3 2015. It has been revealed that the game would be a Microsoft exclusive, coming in holiday 2015 to only Xbox One and Xbox 360. It was subsequently clarified that the exclusivity would only be timed, with the game following on other platforms at some point thereafter, but no specific timeframe has been given.