TR10 Weekly Q&A / FAQ

Posted: Apr. 1, 2015
Updated: Jun. 2, 2015
Every week, we receive Tomb Raider 10 Rise of the Tomb Raider Q&As that we can share. Most of the Q&As come from the CrystalD Fansite Newsletter and Community Manager Meagan Marie. We'll also be getting into Forum Q&As, in which case the person asking the question as well as the person answering the question is noted. Newest Q&As will be listed at the top and the article date will be updated every time a new Q&A is added.



Meagan Marie (Senior Community Manager): You don't have long to wait now! We'll blow things out at E3. Trust me, you won't miss Rise of the Tomb Raider, and the trailer revealed that you'll get a look at gameplay during the show. Just as exciting is the fact that we'll keep up the pace once E3 concludes. We've got a big launch planed for Holiday 2015, and will be showcasing Rise of the Tomb Raider online and around the globe in a big way.


Meagan Marie (Senior Community Manager): Lara's experience on Yamatai left her a changed woman. Not only is she struggling with the loss of her friends and coming to terms with what she had to endure, but she also glimpsed something she couldn't explain. She saw evidence of immortality, and her worldview has changed entirely. So while Lara has struggled mentally and emotionally, this journey is more about finding herself through her first true Tomb Raiding expedition in the wilds of Siberia.


Meagan Marie (Senior Community Manager): Lara's passion for archaeology is undeniable, and was fostered by both family excavations and excursions with Roth as a child. In the Tomb Raider reboot Lara was thrust into a situation out of her control, and it was all she could do to survive. As mentioned above, Rise of the Tomb Raider marks Lara's first great Tomb Raiding expedition - she's proactively hunting the truth through threads of myths only she has been able to tie together. So yes, her passion for the past, archaeology, and the truth are very prevalent.


Meagan Marie (Senior Community Manager): We wanted to immerse players in Lara's world while playing, so the team created what Noah referred to previously as the 'system-based reflection of damage on Lara.' This means that if Lara is hurt, it will show on in certain ways. This goes as far as to her physical appearance and her animations, so there's not only a visual layer but a behavioral one as well. For example, Lara may shiver while trekking through the snow, and then warm her hands when she steps near a source of heat.


Meagan Marie (Senior Community Manager): We'll get into this topic more fully in the future, but I think the size and scope of hubs is one thing that will excite the community. Hubs will remain home to challenge tombs, which will be more numerous and diverse. There is also much more to do in these spaces - caves to explore, crypts to locate, resources to scavenge, texts to translate - even side missions. If you're into hitting that 100% mark, there will be many reasons to revisit and replay.


Meagan Marie (Senior Community Manager): While there are individuals tasked with implementing the final list into the game, it's also a group effort. Even you guys help. For example, "Crab Cakes" was a direct result of the community naming and adopting Fifi as the reboot's mascot.


Meagan Marie (Senior Community Manager): Yes, tombs on the critical path (main story) are certainly a part of Rise of the Tomb Raider. We've tackled them on a grander scale, often featuring what we refer to as nested puzzles. This means that when you enter a huge and ancient space, you are immediately aware of where you need to go within that space in order to progress. However, there are multiple puzzles that need to be solved to get you there, with combat, traversal, and exploration peppered in. These grand spaces balance out the side challenge tombs nicely.


Meagan Marie (Senior Community Manager): I like to think of Jonah as a real person rather than a fictional character, and from that lens, Jonah chose his own role. He wouldn't let Lara go this journey alone. He is fiercely loyal, and his easy-going spirit is a great contrast to Lara in many ways, who is struggling with understanding herself and the world at large. Jonah on the other hand, doesn't need all the answers. He's happy to take some things on faith.

Was the "Discover the Legend Within" trailer CG or in-game footage?

Meagan Marie (Senior Community Manager): The CG in the trailer was created by the highly talented team at Digital Domain, using our models for Lara and the environment. Stay tuned for the first gameplay reveal at E3.

Who are the explorers from the "Discover the Legend Within" trailer?

Meagan Marie (Senior Community Manager):

- Amelia Earhart: American aviation pioneer, and the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
- Captain John Weller: Attempted to cross the Atlantic in a motor boat in July 1911
- Tenzing Norgay: Nepalese mountain climber, with the photograph taken by Edmund Hillary. They were the first two individuals to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
- An unknown Tuskegee Pilot


sonecaboss: I would love to know if you're planning to make adjustments to the amount of ammo that you can gather. In the last game I didn't like the fact that I could find lots of ammo everywhere I go. I don't remember ever being out of ammo. In a game with a theme and a setting like this, where there're few resources, we should feel the need to save ammo and think about smart ways to finish the enemy, like stealth kills. I think at least the hard mode should have something like that and not just tougher enemies.

Brian Horton (Game Director): We're balancing ammo placements throughout the game as we develop, so we try to find the right balance of where to put ammo boxes. We've tended to stray away from dedicated ammo boxes and we're relying more on enemies dropping ammo. So if you search an enemy you've killed, you can get more ammo that way, more often. We're also balancing all the different modes, as ammo scarcity becomes a factor and you get less ammo as you move into the hard modes.

LaraCroftRox: Is Lara's character model the same as in 2013 Tomb Raider, If not, why did it change?

Brian Horton (Game Director): The model you're seeing in Rise of the Tomb Raider is completely brand new, built from the ground up. We haven't utilized anything from Definitive Edition or Tomb Raider 2013, but we've evolved from those as a foundation. We did early prototypes of the Definitive Edition model and reconstructed a new character model with Kam Yu as our Principal Character Artist. It definitely has upgraded tremendously - everything from its surface quality to materials to the way the facial animation works. We have a brand new facial animation system driving her facial breakages. We're going to do a full "Making of Lara" feature in the future and we will go into a lot of details on every aspect of her character creation.

A) Adobe Artist: Will ROTTR feature multiple outfit options for Lara to be included in the core game design (so NOT DLC), either as mission/level start up options, or unlockables for replay?
B) Chriss_02: Will there be any more outfits excluding the 2 ones already shown?

Brian Horton (Game Director): We debuted two outfits so far - one is her Alpine Outfit and the other is the improvised jacket that she wears. There's going to be multiple outfits that you will see throughout the story adventure, and that you will be able to choose after you acquire them.

Peritvs: Can 360 users expect the hub areas to be as large, dense, and/or interactive as the Xbox One counterpart? Due to the increased size of hubs, can we expect collectible and secret items to be more plentiful? Not that they weren't in the previous installment?

Brian Horton (Game Director): The game will play very much the same, as we're going to maximize the most we can out of the 360.

As for the second question, with three times the size for a hub, we had to increase the challenges, collectibles, and rewards that you would get from exploring those hubs. You're going to be able to do a whole lot more in a hub space.

Hubs will also be the house for our challenge tombs - which we had in 2013 - and some of them are extremely difficult to find unless you go off the beaten path. In general they are going to be more plentiful, and I can't wait for you guys to play them because they're super, super cool.

MagnaBass18: How closely are you watching Nixxes in terms of the development of the game for X360?

Brian Horton (Game Director): We get code updates from them often and do evaluations. It's amazing how much they're able to keep up with our development. They're right behind us on the way we've developed the game. It's something I've witnessed, and I'm amazed at what they're able to accomplish on the 360.


Bretty_boy: How much will the environment affect Lara? Will Lara's clothes rip and get dirty like in the previous game? Will snow stick to her hair and clothes, and melt in warmer environments?

Noah Hughes (Franchise Creative Director): Yes, we have a lot of that stuff. We have story specific progression, as we did last time. Referencing Game Informer as an example, Lara manages to survive her encounter with the bear but not without taking a shredded jacket and a wound to show for it.

We also have system-based reflection of damage on Lara. So if you are hurt, that will show on her character in certain ways. Then, we have the wet and dry states, so when you get in the water, Lara will get wet and then progressively dry off. We also have a dirty state, so she'll go through situations that leave mud or other dirt on her character and that will clean off. And we have areas where snow might stick to her hair and then melt away indoors.

In addition to that, we try to go even one step farther to have it affect Lara's animations, so when she steps near a source of heat, she might warm her hands on it. When she steps back out into the cold, she might shiver for a moment as she adjusts to the temperature. We try to go past the visual layer and add a behavioral layer.

We've tried to do as much as we can to connect Lara with the world, so a lot of this is the team enjoying adding details to the character because it supports her, grounding her in the moment. In the context of the story, they almost become reminders of everything you've been through, and how far you've come since the beginning of the game. They reinforce the systems on the moment-to-moment basis, and reinforce the journey on a game basis. [From official forum Q&A session #21 (March 2015)]

Tihocan: Will Lara have any further hand-to-hand/close quarters combat skills (not as "weapon contextual" as in TR2013)

Noah Hughes (Franchise Creative Director): Lara will have some new close quarters combat opportunities based on gear items. It's a little bit different than the weapon contextual ones in 2013 - those were the ranged weapons. Adding melee finishers with things like the knife is a new type of melee skill that we give Lara. Beyond that, we give finishers from specific stealth opportunities. We've seen things like stealth kills from a bush in a number of games, but it starts to feel more Lara-like and survival-y when you're doing take downs from the trees, or one of my favorites is the stealth kill from the water. These are all ways we have enhanced her core abilities to finish guys up close, especially as an extension of our new enhancements to stealth gameplay.

All of those play into your ability to approach combat and take advantage of these different tools and locational opportunities that the player has. In characterizing Lara, it's important that we promote her mobility and her agility and use of the environment and a lot of other things that set her apart as a character, and we don't want to make her melees so effective that she essentially brawls her way through the game. [From official forum Q&A session #21 (March 2015)]

NSW_pride: Will Lara be able to sprint in ROTTR?

Noah Hughes (Franchise Creative Director): One of the things we really do try to promote is a world that's dense with traversal and platforming opportunities and try to make it as interesting as possible, especially using Lara's traversal skills and even traversal gear as you gain it in the game. Oftentimes, we try to create areas that are denser more so than vast and expansive. We speed up your traversal in the world through skill and platforming rather than strictly running.

We try to tune Lara's speed such that it's effective in combat and promotes that mobility. Like I said, you can run fast enough to create distance and things like that, but we really promote interesting traversal more than sprinting across open terrain. The truth is we get requests for it still. But I guess the way we respond to those requests is we try to make those areas more fun to traverse rather than to simply get you through quicker. [From official forum Q&A session #21 (March 2015)]

-Rai--: How limited is the team in developing a new theme for Tomb Raider considering survival action is the new main concept? (as opposed to action adventure TR used to have).

Noah Hughes (Franchise Creative Director): It's important to recognize that we very much see Tomb Raider as an action adventure game and that survival action isn't "instead of" an action adventure. It's really informed sort of the flavors that we bring to the action adventure experience.

When you come out of the reboot and talk about hostile wilderness and ancient spaces guarded by inhabitants like bears or wild wolves, the reality is the original Tomb Raider had wolves and bears. A lot of the things that have been wrapped into a survival theme have always been there as part of the franchise. The hostile environment, the treacherous terrain being one of the greatest opponents, and the wildlife in those spaces is informed by the original.

In some ways we've pushed survival feeling different than it did before. We go that extra step to try to make sure she's not relying too heavily on her gear and equipment that she brings with her, and that may be a bit differentiated from the previous games where being well-equipped and rich is very much a part of it. There is sort of this commitment to create situations where Lara has to face these hostile wildernesses in a more one-on-one, stripped of her gear situation, and has to use her wits and her resourcefulness and what she can find in the environment in order to survive. So that's where it starts to take on that survival tone and experience but again, I feel like those are really a fictional formalization of a lot of the ingredients that were always a part of Tomb Raider.

We talk about not relying too heavily on the gear and trying to recreate this almost David and Goliath story, where Lara has to take on this daunting wilderness in order to unlock its secrets. Part of that is to bring out her character, to recognize her determination and her wit and resourcefulness. And then, as she starts to get immersed in the myth and the culture, her book learning and intellect and intelligence all come into play. It really is that package together that makes her the Tomb Raider. [From official forum Q&A session #21 (March 2015)]

zackdollars: I hated the combat QTE's in TR9 (ie, mash button escape from wolf bite). I loved the open crate/door QTE's though (not sure if that's a QTE). Is there internal debate regarding implementation of QTE's?

Noah Hughes (Franchise Creative Director): We do hotly debate the subject of QTE's and we have taken a different approach in this game than in the last. Having said that, we haven't removed all the combat related QTE's. However, we do trigger them much more sparingly. What we try to focus on is the consistent responses to gameplay. In the case of prying, we use that to equal an intense and concerted effort from Lara. Occasionally we will use that same concept in a combat context, but you will see that much less than in the last game. I don't know if dodges and counters fit into QTE's, but we also still use those more player-driven windows in combat where players have the B button prompt but they're more systemically triggered rather than exotic moments.

The other thing we try to do with QTE's is always make the interface consistent. Rather than mash a random button, you will have an exotic version of a core mechanic. So melee, for example - if you're in a situation where you're trapped but your hands are free, you might be swinging your axe with the Y button. That's a normal mechanic done in an exotic situation. This is trying to get away from not knowing what you're supposed to do until you see the button prompt. The button prompt should really reinforce the mechanics that you're familiar with, so, whenever possible, we take and create intense moments where you may have to use one of these core mechanics like pry or melee or shoot, but trying to avoid the situation where you're waiting to see what button it tells you to push. That's the main changes - to get rid of all button paired, "Simon says" versions of QTE's and to use exotic expressions of core mechanics whenever possible. [From official forum Q&A session #21 (March 2015)]


Q: Was Brian Horton inspired by the face of Camilla Luddington in Rise of the Tomb Raider?

A: While Camilla Luddington now lends extra emotion through Mova's impressive facial capture technology, Lara's facial model is an evolution of the one in Tomb Raider, and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. We'll go into the process of bringing Lara to life on next-gen in-depth at a later date.

Q: Will Simone Rene be the final model (body) in ROTTR?

A: As Brian addressed in the most recent podcast, he often blends photography and renders together for key pieces of promotional art. Simone Rene was a model for a pair of these sessions. As with the above, Lara's in-game model is an evolution of the one in Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, with improvements in fidelity and realism. It is not based off a single person.


Q: Lara's Jacket is red in the screenshots, and olive drab in the concept art and trailer. Why?

A: Because she's wearing different outfits! ;)

Q: Will Lara have more weapons in addition to those seen in the concept art?

A: As with Tomb Raider, Lara will scavenge weapons and upgrade her kit throughout the game. We'll talk a bit more about these systems in the future.


Q: Are what the graphics on the screenshots final? Is it Alpha or Beta?

A: Some areas of the game are more polished than others, but we consider everything a work-in-progress until Rise of the Tomb Raider goes gold.

Q: How much time (timeline/ year in the game story) has passed from Tomb Raider to Rise of the Tomb Raider?

A: Approximately 1 year has passed since the events of Tomb Raider 2013.

Q: What is the approximate game length of Rise of the Tomb Raider? Will it be more/equal/less than Tomb Raider?

A: As we told Game Informer, we're looking for a comparable critical path experience - meaning, if you run through the narrative of the game we'd expect it to take a similar amount of time. However, we're greatly expanding upon content that will keep fans who want a deeper experience busy. This comes in the form of the crafting and upgrade system, the translation system, secret tombs, and more. We'll have more details on these features in the future.


Q: Will all abilities learned in Tomb Raider's reboot be available in the beginning of the next game?

A: Game Informer's coverage of ROTTR discusses how upgrades have been improved to deepen the survival theme and systems in our game. As with Tomb Raider (2013), you'll need to earn XP to learn new skills, and additionally find crafting ingredients of varying rarity to upgrade your weapons and tools. We'll go deeper into these systems at a later date.

Q: Will we see Lara transforming from young to adult in this game or will we start with an adult Lara, much like classic Lara?

A: The game takes place approximately one year after the events of Tomb Raider 2013. Lara Croft is a changed woman, as what she witnessed, and the actions she was forced to take to protect herself and her crewmates, has taken a toll. While she's still learning about herself and what she's capable of, she's also grown and become more confident in her abilities. She will continue to transform throughout Rise of the Tomb Raider, as she faces survival situations and scenarios that will push her limits.

Q: Will dual pistols return in Rise of the Tomb Raider or in the future?

A: Lara's new signature weapons are those that fit the survival theme and have multiple uses. Both her bow and axe can be used as a tool or a weapon, and additionally offer stealth takedowns in combat. These make them thematically a strong choice for Lara Croft. As to whether Lara's twin pistols will ever return, we never say never, but aren't providing details at this time.

Q: Are you going to use TressFX 3.0 and Direct X12 in ROTTR?

A: We haven't released details on this yet, but rest assured we're looking forward to sharing more about the tech we're using.

Q: You said Crystal have sent screenshots and artwork of the game to GI. Did they show all the images on their magazine? Or there's maybe more and they are about to show them sometime this month?

A: We can't go into details about what we've given press as the coverage is ongoing. After the month of features is complete we can provide a round-up of all assets.

Q: During the release of rebooted Tomb Raider in 2013, you told fans many times that this was a reboot and a fresh start of the series. So, where does Temple of Osiris fit in? Is Lara from LCTOO the rebooted Lara? Or classic Lara?

A: Currently we have two brands that feature Lara Croft as a character - the Tomb Raider brand, and the Lara Croft brand. Moving forward, any game titled "Tomb Raider" will star the new, rebooted Lara Croft and continue the narrative from our 2013 title. This Lara is also featured in the Dark Horse comics, and Brady Games' Ten Thousand Immortals.

With the debut of LCTOO, we cemented the Lara Croft brand as a nostalgic tribute to classic Croft and the early Tomb Raider games.

These two brands exist independent of each other, and do not take place in the same timeline. Rebooted Lara will not necessarily "grow up" to be Lara from Temple of Osiris. However, from time to time we may have some content crossovers - such as the Tomb Raider 2013 costume packs in LCTOO.


Q: How many locations will Rise of the Tomb Raider take place in?

A: We've confirmed that Lara will travel to diverse landscapes within Siberia in Rise of the Tomb Raider. We've also confirmed at least one additional location, but aren't going into details just yet.

Q: Will we see Lara transforming from young to adult in this game or will we start with an adult Lara, much like classic Lara?

A: The game takes place approximately one year after the events of Tomb Raider 2013. Lara Croft is a changed woman, as what she witnessed, and the actions she was forced to take to protect herself and her crewmates, has taken a toll. While she's still learning about herself and what she's capable of, she's also grown and become more confident in her abilities. She will continue to transform throughout Rise of the Tomb Raider, as she faces survival situations and scenarios that will push her limits.

Q: Will the story in Rise of the Tomb Raider be related to Himiko and Yamatai?

A: You won't have to play the reboot in order to jump into Rise of the Tomb Raider. But obviously we hope you will, because we're quite proud of it.

That being said, there are narrative threads that will carry over from Lara's last adventure. Jonah returns as a companion and compass for Lara. Additionally, in Rise of the Tomb Raider Lara is driven to seek answers for what she glimpsed on Yamatai. She saw something she couldn't explain in Himiko - proof of life after death, of an immortal soul. After escaping Yamatai all evidence was covered up and her testimony discredited. Lara is driven to uncover the truth and prove that what happened to her, and her crewmates, was real. She hunts down the source of a similar legend, one of the Lost City of Kitezh.

Q: Will Reyes make an appearance in Rise of the Tomb Raider?

A: The only two characters we've revealed at this time are Lara and Jonah. You'll have to wait for more details on narrative and additional characters!


Q: Why is Lara wearing some of her equipment Yamatai in the ROTTR screenshots, such as the holster and radio?

A: You're likely referring to the screenshot of Lara in the Syrian tomb. Some of Lara's equipment pictured there is placeholder.

Q: Where is Sam?

A: Sam is featured fairly prominently in the Tomb Raider comics, and as such her story is still unfolding. Meaning, we're not going to answer that question just yet!

Q: What did you mean by you're working on the Xbox One version of ROTTR "without even thinking of the Xbox 360 version"

A: When Nixxes presented the team at Crystal with a demo proving the high standard they could achieve with Rise of the Tomb Raider on the Xbox 360, the decision to move forward was an easy one. The game is in capable hands, and we're working with a longtime partner that knows our staff and technology. This means we can focus solely on developing the Xbox One version of Rise of the Tomb Raider, in order to push the hardware without worrying about how it will translate to Xbox 360.

Q: Are the images from Rise of the Tomb Raider published by Game Informer in-game screenshots?

A: Yes, all the assets we gave Game Informer were either concept art or screen shots. No CG images.

Q: When will we see gameplay from Rise of the Tomb Raider?

A: The Game Informer cover is our first big splash for Rise of the Tomb Raider, and more content will be shown throughout the month. As for gameplay, we'll be sure to let you know when you can expect that.


Q: Is Microsoft publishing Rise of the Tomb Raider?

A: From Square Enix: "Yes, Microsoft will be publishing 'Rise of the Tomb Raider' on Xbox. Microsoft has always seen huge potential in 'Tomb Raider' and they will get behind this game with more support across development, marketing and retail than ever before, which we believe will be a step in continuing to build the 'Tomb Raider' franchise as one of the biggest in gaming."