The story of our current iteration of Lara Croft may be coming to a close.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider will mark the end of the Tomb Raider reboot trilogy. Taking Lara on a journey through South America to face the evil Trinity Organisation and her own personal demons, it's sure to be a thrilling conclusion.
Square Enix is calling this a "climactic finale" and "the end of the beginning". Of course, this doesn't mean the end of Tomb Raider entirely, but we imagine the next time we see Lara she'll be an older and more mature character.
Here's everything we know about the new game on Xbox One, PS4 and PC which will be released on September 14.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The sequel to Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider
- When it is out? September 14 2018
- What can I play it on? PC, Xbox One and PS4
Shadow of the Tomb Raider release date
We now know that Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be released on September 14 2018 on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider trailer
The latest Shadow of the Tomb Raider trailer gives us our longest look at the game yet, and focuses around the hub city of Paititi, located in the Amazon rain forest in Peru.
The video not only highlights how big of a hub city this will be - hint: it's bigger than any we've come across in Tomb Raider in the past - but it also spends a fair amount of time talking about the Paititi residents conversing in their native language. The latter is something that usually irks us about these games, and its inclusion in Shadow of the Tomb Raider will definitely up the immersion factor.
Before the Paititi trailer, we were treated to a action-packed trailer during E3 2018. Check it out below to see some story beats, new environments and more.
The very first teaser trailer below for Shadow of the Tomb Raider was revealed on March 15. It's a collection of quick shots but we can see Lara in a mountainous environment with plenty of ancient pyramids (Mayan by the looks of it). Sounds like Tomb Raider to us.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider news and rumors
It'll be the most difficult entry yet
Shadow of the Tomb Raider isn't going to be a walk in the park. According to director Daniel Chayer-Bisson it's going to be the most difficult game in the trilogy.
In an interview with Edge magazine, the director didn't offer too many details on how exactly the game would be more difficult but he does suggest the puzzles will be more challenging from the off and checkpoints will be key: “This will be, I would say, the most difficult Tomb Raider of all the Tomb Raiders. That is important because this is a more experienced Lara. This is going to be bigger, it’s going to be harder, and that tomb shows the first ever puzzle you’ll solve and it’s very difficult.
The checkpoints are not far away from when you die, so having these gruesome deaths make you feel bad to fail, and do everything to stay alive.”
Lara's dual pistols won't be appearing
Lara Croft is already an iconic character and her dual pistol wielding as long been a part of her famous image. Those weapons won't be coming to Shadow of the Tomb Raider, however. In an interview with OXM (via SirusGaming), the game's director Dan Bisson said that's not what he wants for this new Lara in this particular trilogy.
“No. I don’t want that. For us this is her defining moment,” said Bisson in an interview with Xbox Official Magazine team “We’re not going to put her in shorts with double-pistols, wearing a bikini; that’s not what this is.”
Bisson said he couldn't speak for future installments of course, but in this particular trilogy Lara won't be picking up the pistols for now. Instead, her bow will be her iconic weapon.
Square Enix is working with Nvidia on the PC release
PC players will be glad to know that Shadow of the Tomb Raider's performance on PC is a focus for Square Enix. To that end, the publisher has said it will be working with Nvidia on the PC release of the game. Having played this version of the game during E3 2018, we can firmly say that the game looks absolutely fantastic on PC.
The global reveal
After the game's official announcement, fans have been awaiting more information on Shadow of the Tomb Raider which came in abundance during the game's April 27 global reveal. A new trailer, brand new screenshots, and hands-on write ups all came together to paint an altogether clearer picture of what Lara's next adventure will bring.
What will it be about?
Shadow of the Tomb Raider will take Lara and her fight against the evil Trinity organisation to South America. Here she's racing against time to save the world from a Maya apocalypse.
It's an apt area of ancient history to explore for the final game in the trilogy.
The Mayas were able to accurately predict solar eclipses hundreds of years in advance and the Dresden Codex shows this. According to Susan Milbrath, the curator of Latin American art and archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, groups of indigenous Mayas associated eclipses with end times and destruction.
The Ch’orti’, she reported in an article in the New York Times, believed “an eclipse of the sun that lasts more than a day will bring the end of the world, and the spirits of the dead will come to life and eat those on earth.” The Lacandón, on the other hand, thought that during an eclipse the Earth would split and that jaguars would emerge “and eat most of the people.”
The first stage of the apocalypse in the actual game is a tsunami which washes away an entire town. We're not sure where things go from there but if that's stage one we imagine it isn't good.
All of this ties in very well to a finale for Lara's journey. An eclipse means the end of an age and the beginning of a new one. It'll be interesting to see how this will all come together.
The title implies a darker take on Lara’s journey so far, but the games have 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.
This time around, we're seeing Lara face up to some personal demons. She's stronger and more grizzled as a result of her previous adventures but she also has moments of selfishness and petulance which have been exacerbated by her periods of isolation.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider we'll see Lara face up to the fact that her actions and her fight against Trinity is about more than herself and the lives of innocent people are on the line. The outcome of the game and Lara's final decision will undoubtedly have a massive impact on her character and any future games in the franchise.
Writer Rhianna Pratchett has recently said she'd like to tackle an older and more grizzled Lara, perhaps we'll see a set up for that in the end of this series.
What's the gameplay like?
Anyone who's played previous Tomb Raider games will be familiar with what's on offer here. There's a mix of combat, stealth and puzzle solving involved as well as some tense moments that depend on button mashing for survival.
The environment you're in will change your gameplay. In enemy infested areas in the jungle, Lara will use her surroundings to hide herself and stealthily take enemies out. When they're down to a manageable number she'll have the option to leap out of cover and start a shoot out. She could, of course, leap out and start a shoot out from the off but the chances of surviving this are slim and really you're only making things difficult for yourself.
Outside of this, there are exploration elements which involve climbing using a pick axe and rappelling down mountains.
Once in tombs, Lara is working against her environment rather than using it to her advantage. Here the game's puzzle solving elements come into play. Though the game isn't open world, Lara will have to look around her full environment and solve puzzles to move onto the next stage. There are also a myriad of times where Lara's exploration will take her underwater and it's here that time is of the essence.
You can pick and choose difficulty settings
While the previous Tomb Raider games came with easy, normal and hard settings, you'll be able to apply different modes of difficulty to combat, exploration and puzzles separately.
This means if you want tougher puzzles you won't need to ramp up the combat along with it, and can tailor the settings to your own preferences and play-style.
Generally, raising the difficulty will remove in-game assist features like markers to show your expected route or interactive objects, while choosing the ultimate 'Deadly Obsession' setting disables the quick save feature for that challenging / frustrating experience you've always wanted.
It’s taking cues from the community
We don’t know everything new in the game yet, but we’ve heard of some neat features inspired by Tomb Raider’s designers reading through online community forums – where Rise of the Tomb Raider players would post a text riddle and challenge each other to screenshot where in the game it referred to.
Lead game designer Heath Smith disclosed to TechRadar that this is becoming a formal in-game feature in the next game:
“If you remember the monoliths in Rise of the Tomb Raider, where you would read the monolith and then dig up some gold? Now the monolith gives you a riddle, and you have to go and find that location in the world and dig."
The official announcement
After leaks and promises aplenty, the official confirmation that Lara's 2018 adventure would be called Shadow of the Tomb Raider took place on March 15. The game's official website opened up to show the official release date as September 14 alongside a trailer.
It was also confirmed that the game wll be coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC on the same date. So no timed exclusives.
More information on the game will come on its official reveal event which will take place at several locations around the world on April 27. Pre-orders will also open on this date.
The title, and other snippets of information about Shadow of the Tomb Raider 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 known to be the name of the game.
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