Latest Tomb Raider reboot game is like an action film, say cast and crew at Tribeca Games Festival
Kate Middleton actress Luddington reprises her role as the archaeologist out to save the world in the third instalment of her origins story. The game is heavy on cinematics and the gameplay has been tweaked to include rappelling and wall running
Shadow of the Tomb Raider – the third (and reportedly last) instalment of the three-game “origins story” that features protagonist Lara Croft – will play like an adventure flick, says the video game’s production team at this year’s Tribeca Games Festival in New York.
Camilla Luddington, who reprises her role as Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider reboot game series that debuted in 2013, discussed the skills performers need for acting in games at the event, which also featured a lengthy video of the upcoming release published by Square Enix.
The team also talked about what motivated their characters, how they bonded with other performers, and how they brought heightened moments of drama to the small screen.
Tomb Raider lead writer Jill Murray spoke about developing the story arcs of the game. Only some on-set video footage, which featured the actors wearing the tech gear needed to film them for the motion capture process, gave it away.
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Luddington, who once played Kate Middleton, wife of Britain’s Prince William, in a TV film, said that she has become so immersed in Lara Croft’s story, “she has become part of me.”
The Shadow of The Tomb Raider video, which promotes the third part of the new Tomb Raider series (the original game debuted in 1996), unspooled like an action film. Games like Tomb Raider have cinematic moments positioned throughout the game that the players see after accomplishing certain tasks, and these enlighten the gamer about the story details.
Shadow picks up Croft’s story where 2015’s Rise of the Tomb Raider left off. The promo includes a bar scene which introduces Croft’s enemies, a dramatic hilltop argument between Croft and her partner, a spectacular cliff climb, and the requisite fight scenes featuring flaming arrows and various other weapons.
The new game features Croft battling Dr Dominguez, the leader of an organisation named Trinity, in the Mayan ruins of Mexico and the jungles of Peru. The plot revolves around an attempt to save the world from a “Mayan apocalypse” that Croft’s tomb-raiding activities have accidentally initiated. Luddington says that Dominguez has his own tragic story: “You can side with him. You feel like you could be on his team.”
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New gameplay includes rappelling, wall running, and underwater swimming which, say the game’s producers, was much requested by the game’s fans.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is supposed to be the last of the three-part Lara Croft adventure that began in 2013. (It’s not, the producers add, the end of the lucrative Tomb Raider games franchise.)
“We see Lara really fighting not to become the enemy that she hates – in many cases she can’t see that the enemy is herself. She makes a lot of mistakes. She has to decide what she is going to do with her powers – which way she is going to go,” says Murray.
Although the producers choose to play up the cinematic elements in the game’s publicity, they stress that there is a lot of room for gameplay.
Senior brand director Rich Briggs says that Croft begins with a full array of powers so that players won’t have to spend time assembling them at the start. “We take Lara to a place where those skills are not enough. She has to grow them to survive the deadliest place on earth,” says Briggs.
Murray notes that gameplay is still the most important element and says that stealth – hiding and sneaking – is a big part of Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
“A lot of the experiences come from the gameplay itself. The game has a lot of room for free exploration and a lot of characters to react to. It’s not only cinematic and it’s not only linear,” Murray says.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is scheduled for release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on September 14.