Following Square Enix's confirmation that, yes, there is another Tomb Raider game on the way and, even better, that it'll be here before 2018 is over, speculation has been rife about what exactly we can expect from Lara Croft's next adventure.
Should we expect a darker Lara? Maybe a more confident Lara? Will it revolve around her new interest in shadow puppetry? Probably not.
We're not actually even entirely sure the game will be called Shadow of the Tomb Raider, though some leaked documents detailed below say that it's likely that it will be. And it follows on nicely as a name after Rise of the Tomb Raider (but that's just our personal preference speaking).
Here you can find all the news, rumors and everything we know so far about Lara's 2018 adventure in 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? Mid to late 2018, maybe
- What can I play it on? Likely to be PC, Xbox One and PS4. No word yet on time-exclusivity
So, we know the next Tomb Raider is coming. What's less clear is when. We do have our suspicions that it'll be mid to late 2018, though.
The reason for this? Well, in the tweet which announced the game's existence, Square Enix said that "it won't be very long between the official reveal and when you can play."
The official reveal is set to be at a "major event in 2018". This makes us think the game will first be shown at E3 2018 and released perhaps around October/November time.
This is, of course, all speculation on our part but we do know thanks to the tweet that we'll be able to play the game at some point this year, and we imagine it'll be shortly after E3 in June.
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.
Crystal Dynamics also isn't done with Croft, 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.”
As yet, it's not clear who's writing the latest game.
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 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. At the very least, the title implies Lara is coming into her own and moving towards the fully-fledged tomb raider we know so well.
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.
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? We think it’s likely that the game will have heavy family themes as the new, rebooted series has had 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 email@example.com to let us know!