Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light will be available to download from Xbox Live Arcade on 18th August and from the PlayStation Store and Steam a month later. To celebrate Larry's return, we have for your viewing pleasure an exclusive new trailer, lovingly displayed below.
We also pinned down brand director Karl Stewart and producer Forest Large to discuss her (isometric) new perspective. Read on for Crystal Dynamics' thoughts on sex, modernity, and what's next for our beloved English rose.
Eurogamer: Describe Lara Croft in one word.
Karl Stewart: Iconic.
Eurogamer: Even after all these years?
Karl Stewart: Even after all these years she's still an icon in the videogame industry. Lara has seen her ups and downs and ups again. No matter what happens, when we talk to gamers and the press she is still without a doubt held in extremely high regards because of what the title has stood for from the very first days of Tomb Raider 1 on the PSone.
It can only get better. Guardian of Light is a classic example of us looking at the IP with the same respect it should be given even after all these years to being able to try and come up with something new.
Forest Large: The first thought that came into my mind was iconic, actually. So Karl took the word right out of my mouth. I would say unafraid. She tackles everything head on. She deals with things straightforwardly. She's brave. For me, she is unafraid.
Eurogamer: Would you agree that Crystal Dynamics rescued the franchise from mediocrity?
Karl Stewart: We view it as being given the opportunity to get back to something iconic. When we took over the helm of Lara Croft after Angel of Darkness we had the opportunity to take her in a new direction with Legend, bring a new engine and whole fresh new team.
I wouldn't say rescued. Extremely fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to work on such a big franchise and IP and look at it with a fresh set of eyes. We made some big investments. We built a whole new engine, the Legend engine, when we released our first game at Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider: Legend. Ultimately, we feel proud of what we've done over the last few years. I don't know whether rescued is the right word, but certainly given it a breath of fresh air.
Forest Large: We're grateful for the opportunity to be working with Lara Croft, who is such a strong character. It's a massive opportunity for us and we have done our best to be true to her character.
Eurogamer: Tomb Raider sold on sex. Is Lara Croft's appeal still to do with sex? Does sex still sell in games?
Karl Stewart: When Lara Croft came on the scene she was right for that time. The character that appealed to people came through in that interpretation. As time's gone on cultures have changed. Our perception of new videogame characters has changed. We're looking for different things. We're looking for a bit more realism, a bit more emotion, depth and storytelling.
So naturally we've had to evolve the character. We've moved away from the blatant use of sex to sell the game. She's still sexy, she's still beautiful, but there's a lot more depth to her character than there was 15 years ago.
Going forward, the same thing stands for any other iteration. You cannot rely on one attribute to sell a videogame. If you do, you do it at your own peril. Games are becoming more and more involved and deeper and more emotional. You have to be willing to make those changes.
For Lara, we understand that, first and foremost. We would never rest on the fact that it was sex and sex appeal alone that would sell an IP. That's clearly evident when you look at the evolution of the character over the last three games. She's become more hardened. She's changed physically and mentally. We start to look at the character in a different perspective in terms of bringing her into a space such as an arcade isometric view.
It's not a focus on the physique of Lara. She still has her gymnastic abilities as you can see in the game with her running and jumping and rolling. But it's more about bringing a creative aspect of having a character like Lara working with somebody else. They're things that are natural progressions within the videogame space that you have to make, otherwise you'll fail time and time again if you keep resting on that one laurel.