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Lara Croft: Guardian of Light

Crystal Dynamics on Lara's new path

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She's iconic; she's what we call a breakable character. You could take that silhouette and break it into ten pieces and hand someone a piece of it and they'd go, "That's Lara Croft" just like you would an old school bottle of Coke. She has those factors that you'll never forget, they're there forever.

The biggest thing for us was if we're going to do an arcade game and if there was the possibility of us doing any more, you're right we needed to find something we could own and something that felt natural throughout that. For us the isometric is something we own. It offers us the opportunity to push the boundaries and you can see the vertical spaces and I think in an arcade game it's hard to find those things that you can say are as iconic as a disc based game.

So for us environments are one, so no matter where you are in the game you'll come to a point where you think, 'Holy shit look at the vistas, look at how we pushed it' They're the things that become iconic; the isometric, the fact that you have to work together, the voicing... They're pillars for us that we're making sure are standard. When you play the next one you'll be like, 'This is just like the first one but they've pushed the boundary a bit more.' But it's become iconic in its own right.


With it being a DLC game would you say there's been more scope to take risks? Or do you feel that this direction generally is a risk?

There's always a risk because you just don't know whether or not people are going to like that and I think as a studio we just had to embrace that and think, 'Ultimately we want to be seen taking risks'.

The big thing about digital gaming is that it's a financial risk of course, more so in this space because there's no data like Nielsen to say, 'Here's how many games X developer or publisher sold" It's all proprietary information. So for us it's a case of having to believe in the space, spending enough time talking to the first parties and pull it apart.

Ultimately you're building a game, whether it's digital or it's disc, the experiences still have to be there, whether it's a toned down 2GB space experience or whether it's disc based, you still have to have the story, you still have to have the right elements and feature set that make you want to pick it up and play it again. And not only that but tell people about it as well.

There was talk a bit ago about making Lara Croft more family friendly, I think that was mainly to do with her appearance. Has that been incorporated at all or is this whole concept of an arcade action game part of that more family friendly idea?

Whoever said that should be shot. I didn't say it (laughs). No for us it's not necessarily about us putting a stick in the sand and saying, "Right it's family friendly" It's the IP as cultures change, people's perceptions of what makes a great game change and I think ultimately developers and publishers have to be at the forefront of that and listen to people.


For us this felt right for us right now. It feels right for us going forward if we decide to do games based on this model in the future. But I think it's really got to be about what the gamers want at that time it's not necessarily about us saying, "Hey we're family friendly we'll appeal to everybody" It's not. It's an experience.

And digital gamers are the early adapters, they're the people who have taken that risk and say, "I'm willing to put 1200 Microsoft points or 15 dollars or 13 euros down to buy this game". They're still a small minority compared to the hardcore gamers and certainly they're not family gamers, they're driven gamers so it's all about creating an experience for that audience.

Is there work being done on the wider Tomb Raider series at the moment?

Right now all we're saying is that yes we've split the studio into two. One is dedicated to the pillar release. That pillar release, when we're ready we'll get everyone in a big area and talk about it and hopefully be very excited about what we're doing but right now our focus is on Guardian of Light and making sure we build and put out the best game possible.

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