Ah, but there's a 'but'. And it's a pretty big but
After the constant radio chit-chat of Tomb Raider Legend, it was quite a relief to go solo in Tomb Raider Anniversary. But with Tomb Raider Underworld threatening to give Lara back her headset, we asked the game's senior producer Sarah Van Rompaey whether there would be any nattering in the new game. And her answer was: "Zip and Alistair will be present but to a far lesser degree than they were in Legend."
Hooray! That sounds good to us. Although the voice acting was of a generally high standard in Legend, we do kinda prefer it when Lara's unable to communicate with the civilised world - that feeling of isolation was what made Tomb Raider so awesome in the first place, after all. From Sarah's answer, we're expecting some radio blackouts when Lara goes into the 'underworld' areas of the title. There aren't many radio towers in places of the undead, after all. Mwahahahaha etc.
After the solid, progressive steps forward of Legend and Anniversary, is Underworld the ultimate, fully-realised Tomb Raider game? Why?
We think so, definitely. Underworld is definitely a realization of with new technology what we can do with Lara. Lara’s got new features in terms of looks and abilities. The goal was to make Lara feel three dimensional in the way that she looks, behaves and also how she looks within the world she’s operating in. She has new facial expressions, cloth movement, hair movement and superfine detail on clothing, expressions. She is completely reactive to the environment. The locations and story in the game take her on a new adventure taking her to the depths of the underworld. All the environments were influenced myths surrounding various ancient cultures. Crystal Dynamics have spent a lot of time studying cryptids (these are animals believed to be extinct) and ancient machines. They also sent photographers to various continents to capture reference material. The Mayan Ballcourt and pyramids for the demo are authentic replicas. The team are really excited by the challenge of being able to realise their vision of the game ad build environments to a scale that has never been possible before.
Will Lara be on her own or will there be the intercom to keep her company?
Zip and Alistair will be present but to a far lesser degree than they were in Legend.
Will this game continue the plot of Legend - or is it a stand-alone title?
We’re only revealing information about what we showed in the presentation at this stage, but what we can tell you is that Crystal Dynamic’s goal has been to create places that Lara has never been to before and that the player will find surprising. We’re sure the game will appeal to newcomers and will definitely satisfy the fans!
Does 'Underworld' in the title mean the series is going 'dark' again?
No, not at all. This is related more to atmosphere. If Tomb Raider: Underworld comes across as darker it’s not deliberate, it’s more to do with the fact that she is travelling to Underworlds, places of the undead, therefore it has a more mature tone and naturally will feel darker. More will be revealed soon!
What did the team think of Uncharted: Drake's Fortune?
Drake’s Fortune was great, but if you’ve played it you’d probably agree that, other than the story premise, it is a very different game to Tomb Raider as it is essentially a shooter. It is good to see that it has attracted another demographic to the genre and we welcome that.
Source: gamesradar.com, by Justin Towell, GamesRadar UK