Tomb Raider. From its humble beginnings on the original PlayStation to its almost overnight success, the series has time and again been rebooted and reimagined in a variety of ways. However, none was more striking than the 2013 reboot that saw the classic version of Lara Croft retooled into a new younger version dubbed Survivor Lara by developers and fans alike. Although gamers embraced the new gameplay and tone of the series, one glaring aspect never sat well over the three games in this new iteration. Lara never became the familiar tomb raider that fans loved and that the developers insisted she eventually would.
While Survivor Lara was an incredibly tough and resilient hero, she never evolved into the classic character that had made the series iconic in the first place. With a new game on the way, and this most recent reboot trilogy in the books, now is the perfect opportunity to make Lara look and feel like the character of old for a new adventure. Here’s how developer Crystal Dynamics can bring back classic Croft while keeping everything that worked from the reboots.
The first step to bringing back classic Lara would be to make her look the part. The easiest way to do this would be to continue using the new model of the character introduced in the reboots while making Survivor Lara just a bit more fashionable. Although half-hearted attempts were made to reimagine her classic duds more realistically, it never worked and was never accepted by fans. Classic Lara should n’t just be more confident as a character, but she should look the part, and a return to Lara’s most iconic fashion choices would go a long way to making fans accept her as the dangerous adventurer that has become an icon.
Another design choice that could help usher in a more evolved take on the classic character would be to once again allow her to wield her weapons of choice, the dual pistols. Although the reboot trilogy turned Lara from a purely firearm-focused fighter into a world-class archer with her bow and arrows, it took away her iconic sidearms. The trilogy hinted time and again that Lara might return to these weapons, but she ultimately she never pulled the trigger on actually putting them back in her hands. Along with the aforementioned classic outfit, the return of the dual pistols is one of the fan community’s most requested features.
On top of looking the part, Lara needs to return to her roots in a new game by embracing her gymnastics. Although the Survivor Trilogy introduced Uncharted-like climbing mechanics, its version of Lara lost one of her most famous attributes — her ability to backflip, handstand and cartwheel with ease. A new game should keep the climbing, but allow players to embrace the gymnast in Lara and once again flip through the air, blasting dual pistols with abandon. Not only would this boost confidence in her characterization, but it would also further illustrate the classic identity of Tomb Raider as a series.
Finally, the most important way to bring back classic Lara is to make her feel like the confident femme fatale that she used to be. While current Lara voice actor, Camilla Luddington, always turned in a great performance, she often didn’t have much to work with as the character in the Survival Trilogy games didn’t end up having much real character development. After three games, fans have had enough of this version of the character, and even if the new game needs to feature a time jump, it should return with a more mature Lara who embodies the confident and capable character that fans fell in love with in the first place.
Ultimately, after a series of successful games that focused more on the world and gameplay at the expense of its main character, it is once again time to return Tomb Raider‘s focus on its most popular angle: its protagonist. Hopefully, with the series and developer recently acquired by Embracer Group, this will present an opportunity to finally merge the new and old into a truly unique take on the character that will not only revitalize the series once again but ensure it continues to be one of gaming’s most beloved series.
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