Tomb Raider is definitely getting a sequel.
We first heard of it in August 2013, and even then it was well into development. The last we heard of it was during November, when it was reported that — somewhat obviously — the game would chart the next chapter of Lara’s development.
I can’t wait for this game, and I have very, very high hopes for it. So, with E3 starting tomorrow, and so many other Tomb Raider fans having voiced their opinions on what they’d like to see from the game, I thought I’d weigh in.
A MORE MATURE LARA
I get it. The point of rebooting the series was to allow us to witness Lara’s transformation into the hardened tomb raider we know and love, but I really don’t think I could stand another game with her so very naive. There were flashes of the woman I hope she becomes in the reboot, but they were few and far between. I’d like to see more of her.
I’m not going to dwell too much on this one, because I’m happy to follow Lara almost anywhere she goes, but a recent read-through of a review of the latest comic in Gail Simone’s tie-in series really freaked me out. Apparently, Lara returns to Yamatai. If that island ends up being the setting of the new game, I will be absolutely horrified. Perhaps it can return in a short prologue, allowing players to brush up on the controls, but nothing more. Please.
The reboot didn’t really feel like a Tomb Raider game to me. Recently, I had a chance to run through Underworld’s Xbox 360 demo, and it was almost painful how much I missed the more climbing-focused aspect of Tomb Raider. I wasn’t a fan of the reboot’s climbing mechanics — for all its gritty realise, Lara having the ability to jump up against a flat surface and somehow propel herself upwards was just plain odd. I’d like to see the exploration mechanics given a serious rejig for the sequel.
Also, like many, many Tomb Raider fans, I’d like to see less gunplay. Tomb Raider handled it well enough, but there was just too much of it. It may have been a necessity of Lara’s situation on Yamatai, but it was undoubtedly one of the factors that led a fair number of reviewers to claim Tomb Raider took a little too much inspiration from its contemporaries.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Tomb Raider’s semi-open world design. It was enjoyable, yes, but I missed the structure of former games. I’d like to see it make a comeback.
Please, no. I’m biased in this, because I’m just not a fan of multiplayer in general. The only reason I endured — and that word is putting it very, very lightly — more than ten minutes of Tomb Raider’s online component was because I really, really wanted the game’s Platinum Trophy. It was torture. For me, Tomb Raider’s multiplayer was awkward, unresponsive, and very poorly animated. Roth in particular ran as though he’d had an accident in his cargo trousers. The result was an experience that was seriously disappointing compared to the game’s campaign.
However, while thinking about what to write in this post, my brain handed me an idea that I think would work wonderfully if future Tomb Raider titles have to have some sort of multiplayer. As I said above, I’d like to see the Tomb Raider games return to a more level-based structure. If this happened, then I reckon a great online addition would be the ability to play through the levels in an attempt to do so faster than your friends. Sort of a time-trial deal.
You’d see a ‘ghost’ of your friend’s Lara on-screen with you, showing what they did during their playthrough, your goal being to stay ahead of that ‘ghost’ at all times. I’d be happy enough with something like that. Otherwise, I’d want Tomb Raider to return to a purely single-player experience. Developing multiplayer takes time and resources, and I’d much rather they were devoted to making the main portion of the game the best it can be, rather than to crafting an experience that, honestly, feels like an unnecessary add-on.
So, there you have it. Those are some — because I’m sure I will have overlooked something here — of my hopes for the next Tomb Raider adventure. I sincerely hope it turns out to be as good as I, and all Lara’s fans, are hoping.