It's been five years since a more naive, less-seasoned Lara Croft reappeared across video games. In the years since, the landmark reboot has been ported to current generation systems, gotten a Microsoft timed-exclusive sequel, her own Barbie, a film adaptation starring an Academy Award-winning actress, and now, a third entry to the saga is coming this September. Today, publisher Square Enix and developers Eidos Montreal have shown the first trailer, screenshots, and information about the game.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara is tackling her biggest challenge yet: helping stop the Mayan apocalypse. It's a far cry from the past entries, where Lara chased after her dad's legacy and dealt with other troublesome family-related matters. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, it looks like Lara's vying to carve out her own destiny at last, in exacting revenge on series-villain criminal organization Trinity once and for all. Plus, she's also wrestling with her own narcissism and the destructive consequences of her brash actions in the process. And that's the most intriguing aspect about Shadow of the Tomb Raider's reveal: that it's bunkering down to question the negative side of Lara looting the tombs of ancient cultures.
Contrary to the past two games in the series, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is being developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix, with Crystal Dynamics assisting. The past two games had the relationship switched, with Eidos Montreal assisting with developing things for Crystal Dynamics' games, such as the Challenge Tombs in Rise of the Tomb Raider and the multiplayer for the 2013 Tomb Raider. For Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Eidos Montreal are in charge while Crystal Dynamics is currently developing an unnamed Avengers game as well.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider features the gadgets familiar from past games, from the rope arrow to climbing cliff sides with the dual climbing axes. Most notably, Shadow of the Tomb Raider will bring back a series staple: underwater exploring. It will also feature the largest hub areas in the series, as we were told in a group interview with other members of the press. Some hub areas will also feature NPCs, as in actual in-game people to interact with in a "non-violent way." During a presentation Thursday night at the reveal event at The Mayan in Los Angeles, Narrative Director Jason Dozois noted that players will become "one with the jungle," where elements of the environment are just as likely to kill you as they are to maybe help you in a situation.
Tombs, as well, have undergone a major redesign and are an even bigger focus than they were in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Tombs will primarily be underground with grimmer atmospheres. They'll have deadly traps and tricky traversal to reach them, making Lara have to really prove herself for the right to raid a tomb. Sometimes, as I was told during a group interview with Dozois and Lead Game Designer Heath Smith, Lara may not even be as alone as she thinks in the tombs.
Players won't have to wait too long for Shadow of the Tomb Raider either. The game will be released on September 14, 2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. If you want to stay tuned to more about Lara Croft's next big adventure, then be sure to check out our Everything We Know guide for Shadow of the Tomb Raider.