She's the most iconic female character to ever grace a video game and now Lara Croft is following Batman and Bond in getting her own dark origins story.
It’s been five years since we last had a fully-fledged Tomb Raider, and now Square Enix is bringing Lara back, but she is not quite the gun toting, hot pant-clad adventurer fans remember.
“Forget everything you know about Tomb Raider, we are exploring things that have never been done before in the series with this game,” says Elizabeth Blackman, UK product manager at Square Enix.
“However, the DNA of Tomb Raider is still a part of the reimagined Lara’s journey. Adventure, exploration and combat are themes that will always be a key part of the series, but above all fans can expect a heroine who is charismatic, resourceful and courageous even in the gravest of situations.”
REBUILDING THE TOMB
After a storm wrecks the boat she is travelling on, Croft is washed ashore and left alone on a beach.
Players are then thrust into a battle of stealth, survival and deadly combat against enemies, both human and animal, that will transform the character into the tough gaming icon established back in 1996.
Square Enix feels that this darker approach to the reboot is key to the continuing success of the franchise.
“The idea of an origin story wasn’t so much of a choice then it was a necessity, the franchise needed to be relooked at,” adds Blackman.
“A darker, more mature tone is critical to ensure this franchise and game moves into a more modern era. The concept of being in a survival situation is something that anyone can understand and relate to and thus is a core weapon in delivering this new vision.”
A dark exploration of the orgins of iconic characters has worked wonders on the big screen, look at the success of Skyfall and The Dark Knight. Square Enix is aiming just as high.
“Tomb Raider is unquestionably the biggest game of Q1,” says Andrew Larcombe, UK sales manager at Square Enix.
“It’s a massive entertainment brand, a fantastic product and has an amazing campaign in place. We’ve no doubt that it’ll be in the Top Five games of 2013”.
THE PERKS OF PRE-ORDERING
Players can pre-order the game from a variety of outlets to receive different goodies. Tesco is offering the Combat Strike Pack whilst Amazon has the Shanty Town Map to use in multiplayer mode. GAME gives customers an explorer pack and ShopTo is offering a 48 page digital comic book called The Beginning.
A special Survival Edition of the game will gives consumers a double- sided map, a poster, The Art of Tomb Raider book, a 10-track score, weapon pack DLC and a survival pouch, perfect for some real-world tomb raiding. A Collector’s Edition adds a Lara Croft figurine and Survival tin.
MARKETING MS CROFT
Alongside online and social media campaigns, Square Enix has tackled TV and cinema screens to spread the word of Croft’s return. The game sponsored Sky 1 show Arrow and ads have played before big screen blockbusters like Django Unchained. The TV campaign includes an ad during the Man Utd vs Real Madrid tie.
Square Enix and Microsoft have teamed up to create a special controller for the launch of the Tomb Raider reboot. The controller was designed with help from Crystal Dynamics to mimic the worn, weathered appearance of Lara’s climbing axe and makeshift tourniquets.