When Crystal Dynamics launched Tomb Raider in 2013, the legendary Lara Croft underwent a fundamental change. No longer a caricature of female action heroes, Lara instead became a real person: a person with scars, scratches, and an uncanny ability to slip down mountains. With Rise of the Tomb Raider, the developers aim to make her even more of a living, breathing human being.
In a behind-the-scenes featurette during Square Enix’s E3 press conference, director Brian Horton and Crystal Dynamics explain just how important the new consoles’ power gave them for Rise of the Tomb Raider. Unlike other video game heroes, Lara Croft is constantly vulnerable, screaming in pain as she is impaled with a spear or falls through a trap door.
To convey this, the developers have included scars on her character model to replicate injuries she sustained in the previous game. Scratches and cuts on her skin will appear as she sustains new wounds — which is a guarantee — but battle damage isn’t the only thing improved for this iteration. Pores on Lara’s skin, snow on her clothing, and even individual eyelashes have been crafted to make her appeal more real than ever before, and she now looks remarkably like her performance capture actress, Camilla Luddington. In fact, the character has been redesigned “from the ground up,” starting with a scan before the artists added their own touches.
For a game with “tomb” in the name, 2013’s Tomb Raider was remarkably light on actual raiding of tombs. That will change in Rise of the Tomb Raider. “We’re putting the tombs back into Tomb Raider,” says Brian Horton, mentioning that what was seen in the teaser trailer was only a “glimpse” of what the new tombs have to offer.
Rise of the Tomb Raider launches for Xbox One and Xbox 360 on November 10.