Update: It's all been rather quiet on the Tomb Raider front. Until now. As spotted by Kotaku, some concept art for the game appeared online over the weekend.
The art was part of a portfolio put together by a creative agency called TakeOff, known for its work in producing content for publishers. On its website (which is now currently undergoing maintenance), a section titled “Shadow of the Tomb Raider Logo and Key Art Exploration” appeared.
As you can see, the sketches are fairly early and this isn't a great indication of where the game is in its development. It is, however, an sign that a new Lara adventure is likely to be in the works.
Original article continues below...
After the rather unceremonious leaking of what will probably be the title of the next Lara Croft outing on a Montreal subway train, speculation has been rife about what exactly we can expect from Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Will we see a darker Lara? A more confident Lara? Or will the entire game be about a Peter-Pan-style quest to retrieve her shadow? Probably not the latter, but here you can find all the news, rumors and everything we know so far about Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The sequel to Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider
- When it is out? Early 2018, maybe
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider developers: Crystal Dynamics...or Eidos Montreal?
- SOTTR publisher: Square Enix
The tentative release date above comes from a quote in Official PlayStation Magazine: “Rumor squirrels tell us Shadow of the Tomb Raider could be released early in 2018.”
However, the game will not be at E3 2017, according to a Facebook post from Meagan Marine, the Senior Community Manager for Tomb Raider, who said “This will be a quiet E3 for Lara, but we’re looking forward to catching up on her new adventure later this year.”
Maybe we won’t be seeing Lara at E3, but it sounds like there could be trailers, details and more soon afterwards.
The title, and other snippets of information about the visuals, were leaked in November last year when an eagle-eyed Reddit user saw someone - presumably an employee of Square Enix Montreal, Eidos Montreal or someone from Crystal Dynamics on a work trip - open their laptop to have a look at a Tomb Raider slideshow presentation. The title on the slide, “Shadow of the Tomb Raider”, is now assumed to be the name of the game.
However, the fact that this presentation was seen on the Montreal subway is interesting, because the main developer of the last two Tomb Raider games, Crystal Dynamics, is based in California.
Could this mean that Eidos Montreal, who helped Crystal Dynamics with development on the last two, are taking the reins on this one? Eurogamer and Kotaku seem to think so, having the rumor confirmed by their (hopefully trustworthy) sources.
However, it looks like Crystal Dynamics isn't done with Croft yet, having hired Ian Milham in August of last year. Milham was the art director on Dead Space and Battlefield Hardline, and had this to say about his new role:
“Adventure games have always been my first love. When the opportunity came to join Crystal Dynamics, I had to jump on it. This is the home of Lara Croft, who is a legend in action-adventure gaming and a pillar of the industry. I’ve admired Crystal’s work for a while now, as they continue to deliver top notch narrative and spectacle, coupled with deep systems and player choice. I’m very excited about where the studio is headed and I’m eager to be a part of it.”
The last game Crystal Dynamics released was the 20 Year Edition of Rise of the Tomb Raider in 2016, which added VR-compatible DLC and the co-op Endurance mode to an already huge game.
There have been rumors that perhaps the studio working on Shadow of the Tomb Raider is Square Enix Montreal, but given that their focus has been mobile games like Hitman GO, Lara Croft GO and Deus Ex GO for several years, it’s unlikely that they’re making a shift to full console games.
Who's writing it?
Rhianna Pratchett wrote the scripts for Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider, winning awards for narrative at the Game Developers Choice Awards, the Writers Guild of America Awards and the DICE Awards, but she’s now working on “exciting/terrifying new things” instead. “I like to think we did some good things,” Pratchett said on Twitter as she announced her leaving. “Maybe shifted the gaming landscape a wee bit. And that feels damn good.”
Who’s in it?
Camilla Luddington has been the voice and mo-cap body of Lara Croft for the past two games, but having just had her first child in March or April of this year, it is currently unknown whether she will return.
What platforms will it be on?
After both Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider came out as timed Xbox One exclusives, many are wondering if Shadow of the Tomb Raider will also leave PlayStation fans out in the cold. Xbox head Phil Spencer spoke about the exclusivity deal with Eurogamer back when Rise of the Tomb Raider was in the works, saying that the deal “has a duration” but declined to say how long that duration was, exactly.
“It's not because I'm trying to be a headfake on anybody,” he said in the interview. “It's a deal between us and the partner. People ask me how much did we pay. There are certain things I'm just not going to talk about because it's a business deal between us and them.”
Just like the last two, Shadow of the Tomb Raider will end up on PlayStation and PC - we just don’t know how long that might take. What’s more, it may even be a game that prioritizes this new wave of mid-gen consoles such as the PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio. Only time will tell.
What will it be about?
The title implies a darker take on Lara’s journey so far, but it’s already been pretty dark, with supernatural goings-on, Lara’s struggle to become the confident raider of tombs we all know and love, and her troubled family history.
There is also a 2018 Tomb Raider film, which comes out on March 16, starring Alicia Vikander as the titular heroine and Dominic West as her deceased father (despite only being 20 years older than Vikander).
Walter Goggins, who has been cast as the villain of the piece, described the plot as “Raiders of the Lost Ark meets a genre version of the Joseph Conrad novel Victory: An Island Tale,” which implies islands, treasure, archaeology and intrigue. The film will focus on Croft trying to find her father.
Will the film play into the plot of Shadow of the Tomb Raider? Well, it’s likely to still be about family, as the new, rebooted series has been so far.
The last DLC, Blood Ties, released in October of last year, focuses on Lara frantically trying to prove her mother’s death to stop her uncle from taking the family manor. Safe to say her family might not be coming back any time soon, but Lara’s journey to make them proud continues.
What are you curious about with Shadow of the Tomb Raider? What are you hoping to see? You can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know!