After completing the Tomb Raider reboot for the second time, I am throwing myself back in Tomb Raider mythology, excited once again about one of my favourite classic franchises in gaming history. This has also got me thinking about possible sequel ideas. There will definitely be one, as there has been a new Dark Horse comic series that have been connecting the dots from the reboot to the future game, and also because… of course, there is going to be a sequel. It is freaking Tomb Raider!
However, I am getting worried that the rebooted style of Tomb Raider has got the writers trapped in a corner. Once you have decided on the tone of where you want to take your new Lara Croft, the rest was easy. The reboot acts as an origin story and origin stories have the advantage of pretty much writing themselves. Sure, there are still twists and turns and I am not sure I would call the game predictable, but, once the style was confirmed, the rest must have been pretty easy to follow through with. The sequel will be much harder to put together and I have compiled a few features I think will help the process along.
3 – MORE LOCATIONS
I liked the idea of Yamatai. While I missed the globe-trotting style of the older versions of Tomb Raider, I enjoyed the trapped feeling of the island. Also, the setting was fairly imaginative and varied, with Himiko being able to change the layout and weather at will. One moment, we were going through a thick wooded area, rife with wolves, and next we were in a snowy blizzard, getting thrown around by the gale. However, it will be tricky to write up a similar island for a second game. I think the location will be one of the key factors about the next game, as Tomb Raider’s story has always revolved around the setting or the ‘tomb’. Most of the fans are excited to see ‘where’ Lara will be going, rather than what she will be doing when she gets there.
I want a range of places this time around. I would like to start the game in Egypt, but then get dragged off to Peru, via China and Africa, like the old games. I want each level to feel like a glorious change of pace, refreshing the experience every so often. At the same time, I understand that the game has evolved from those days and if I am to remain a fan of Tomb Raider, I need to learn to adapt with it. The open world side of gaming has broken into Tomb Raider and the developers want to have you return to the world when the game is done and take part in little challenges to boost your Gamerscore. It would be a little clumsy to have Lara jump across several different locations when the game was done, in order to burn some posters. Clumsy, but not impossible. Nonetheless, I would settle for one setting, but several locations from that area. For example, the entire game could be set in Egypt, but why just one part of Egypt? Can’t we have Lara go from the Valley of Kings to the outskirts of Cairo? Anywhere along the Nile? Please can we have somewhere that isn’t fixed, trying to replicate the last game?
2 – MORE ANIMALS
In the very first Tomb Raider game, I remember being terrified of the enemies. That seems laughable now, but the tension dripping when you knew that there could be a wolf around the corner was very clear. It was one of the best things about the game; its ability to scare the living hell out of you, feeling as if you were actually in a tomb. The Keeley Hawes trilogy didn’t quite manage that. The animals felt a little more obligatory than vital; another box to be checked off the ‘making a Tomb Raider game’ list. However, the reboot came along and the wolves were terrifying. They were almost as deadly as the humans were; they were quick, silent and surprisingly strong. When you heard that howl, you knew you were in trouble.
However, the reboot didn’t use the wolves to their full potential. They were lost in the narrative and while they could have been used to break up the monotony of fighting the Stormguard and Solarii, they were abandoned, as soon as the writers moved on with the story. It is a shame, because I would have rather had a side-mission with the wolves, rather than an annoying trip to the Endurance to save Alex (people say Sam is the most annoying supporting character on the crew, but at least her character makes sense as a person; Alex’s character is frustratingly hard to emphasise with or even like). I want the second game to make use of wolves more. Or maybe use more than wolves. I want to see Lara take on crocodiles, bears, all kinds of animals. Cough cough… dinosaurs… cough cough.
1 – LARA AT HER PEAK
I appreciate that the reboot was an origin story. While at first, we all argued that we had lost the original spark of Tomb Raider and that Lara Croft was no longer that strong bad-ass female role model we all remembered, eventually we came around to the idea that we were all talking out of our asses. Lara was as strong as ever. Replaying the game made me appreciate just how awesome this new incarnation of Lady Croft truly was. Of course, she is nervous around tombs, because this is her first adventure. We would have had rioted if the developers had her origin story with her just shrugging at her captors and then proceeding to kick their asses without so much as breaking a sweat.
That being said: she needs to evolve as a character for the sequel. She is no longer that woman starting from the bottom and working her way to the top of the Tomb Raiding ladder. I want Lara to still be put into that tense kind of situation, but handling it a little like Batman does in the Arkham games. The stakes are raised, really high, but I want to see Lara take it all in her stride. I appreciate the origin story, but now I want to be thrown back into the classic Lara. I want the original costume, the original soundtrack, the dual pistols being used as more than a passing reference.