Tomb Raider intended to be a direct sequel, launching in 2012

"It was an epic adventure; much like one of Lara's," said Darrell Gallagher Head of Studio at Crystal Dynamics, speaking at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco about rebooting the Tomb Raider franchise. "It involved changing major parts of how we did things at Crystal [Dynamics]."

Although the developers initially set out to create another Tomb Raider sequel, in order to bring the series back to life with a level of quality the team felt they needed they decided to "wipe the slate clean." Gallagher said he took inspiration from the successful reboots of both the Bond and Batman movie franchises, and decided to make the new Tomb Raider an origin story.

But an origin story needed a strong character, and to reinvent the character of Lara, the team looked to tales of real world survival, like the story of Aron Ralston, the hiker forced to cut off his own arm after being stranded.

"We liked the aspect of resourcefulness that we saw in these stories," said Noah Hughes, Creative Director. "By humanizing Lara, we were making her closer to you or I. We could take her on that journey and take payers on that journey."

"It was roughly a four year period from start to finish, and it wasn't always perfect."

The developers leaned on making Lara a resourceful survivor who would evolve over the course of the game into the Lara Croft we have come to know since the series debut in 1996.

"It came with challenges ... with 17 years of history," said Gallagher. "At a high level it was roughly a four year period from start to finish, and it wasn't always perfect."

With direction and story secure, the team then set off on the long quest of finishing the game and making it good. Key, according to Gallagher and Hughes, was approaching production with an eye for quality at every stage.

"One of the biggest thing we did was build our game with episodic chunks," said Gallagher. "Almost products themselves within a larger production cycle."

Building the game out of semi-complete pieces, which they called vertical slices, not only aided in ensuring quality, but also helped with promotion and marketing, allowing Crystal to spread word about their game and show relatively finished portions of the product at fairly early stages.

"When it came to doing things like demos, we didn't have to do very much, which was a good by-product," said Gallagher.

Each chunk would be polished and refined before being fitted together. This allowed Crystal Dynamics to ensure that throughout the four-year process, each aspect of the game was as good as it could be. From there, they simply stitched the pieces together.

The result: the "biggest" launch of 2013.

"We're happy with the outcome," said Gallagher. Although along the way the game slipped from an initial launch date some time in 2012 to March of 2013.

"Pro tip: Don't put your [shipping] date on the end of your first promo trailer."

More from Polygon

The horror of Five Nights at Freddy's

  • Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King Overview

  • Spacecom: a fast 4X built for multiplayer

  • Pillars of Eternity builds on role-playing classics

  • Tour the 1 KB hard drive built inside Minecraft

Latest Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.
Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5353_tracker