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Interviews

Looking Back... Tomb Raider: Legend

Crystal Dynamics takes us behind the scenes of Lara Croft's return to form

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TEAM LARA
Guzenda: Zip was actually one of the very few characters from previous games who wasn't killed or 'disappeared' that came into contact with Lara. In the original game she was pretty much always alone, and although that's actually key to the game - feeling that you're alone in the tomb and Lara's the first person to get there - the problem was that it's also very hard to move her personality along if she's not talking to anyone. Unless you're using flashback scenes and interrupting gameplay, it's very hard to add personality to a character - which is something we really wanted to do with Legend. Having Zip and Alister, having her interact with those guys, adds to her personality and obviously moves the story along. It was also an easy way for us to do a help system that was a little bit more subtle. If you get stuck in a level and don't know what's going on, those guys pipe up and give you some hints.

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ARTHUR'S TOMB
Guzenda: The thing with Arthur, the myth of King Arthur, is that it is a weapon, and depending on who you talk to, there are about 20 different versions of the myth. So it's a really cool one to play with - there's plenty of room to explain it and you can't get proven wrong.

Cooper: At first it was like 'Well, where would we put the Arthurian tomb?', and we knew that there were a lot of museums and locations in the UK that claim to be the true location, so we went with that. One influence for the museum was the funhouse level in Max Payne 2 - it had come out before we'd started, but was still fresh in our minds...

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THAT GO BUMP IN THE FIGHT
Guzenda: We do this layered approach when we do tombs - Lara always starts out somewhere that's realistic, and I don't want to call this 'an onion' as I hate that analogy. But basically she starts somewhere like outside a waterfall, where anyone can go - so it starts normal and everyday. Then she gets to a second layer between the two where maybe there are mercenaries, but it's still not supernatural and there's nothing unusual going on. As she gets further into the tomb it's fair game for more supernatural things to occur, so for example, with Arthur's grave, she starts off in an abandoned museum, she goes deeper and eventually ends up in the tomb where the sea monster is.

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HOME (COUNTIES) GIRL
Guzenda: If you ever get an email from me, my tagline is 'That's Lara, not Laura!' We were very aware when it moved to Crystal that the game was going from a UK developer to a US developer. Obviously there's a worldwide audience for Lara, but she's also somewhat of a UK icon. So we were very protective - I'm actually British and there are a couple of other Brits on the team, and obviously Toby Gard too. He was a great source of, 'She wouldn't say that, she'd say it this way.' Even with little things like when we say that it's her manor, rather than her mansion. Although technically it's a mansion because we don't show any of the estate...

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THE INEVITABLE SEQUEL
Guzenda: Based on the feedback we got for Legend, we'll obviously focus on game length next time. I think this time around, we just wanted to get the game right. We spent a lot of time redoing areas we'd already done. We could have made more areas, but we wanted to make sure the game was good.

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MASSACRE OF THE FURRY INNOCENTS
Guzenda: Originally, we wanted more creatures in the game than we had. We ended up using human enemies quite a lot, and I think that, based on some of the feedback we've got, they're something we'll go back to in future games. With Lara you're always very careful, asking 'would Lara do this?', even when you're killing humans. It's not a shooter, and she doesn't do it for the thrill of killing people, so you always have to wonder what Lara would do in the situation. The team have had plenty of discussions saying, 'Well Lara wouldn't shoot that'. Like one time we had chickens running around a village and you could shoot them. But would Lara actually shoot chickens? You get lots of weird conversations about stuff like that.

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