Well, that was close. Crystal Dynamics Brand Director, Karl Stewart told OPM that at one point during the game’s design Lara would use a horse and have a child companion:
“One of the hardest decisions was that we knew we needed to make a change. We looked at all the games that were out at the time, studied them, did research, read reviews. And we realised that we needed to make something new. Some of our soul-searching was about [asking] how we bring Lara to life in a way we’ve never done before. She’s had a personality, but not anything like what we show now with that emotion and intensity. We added a little girl at one stage. She was going to be a companion, a way to show Lara in a different light. We had a horse, too. It was great for her to move around on, but we soon realised that a horse implied ‘open world’, like, ‘Why can’t I gallop around the whole island?’ So the horse had to go.”
Here at Dealspwn we’re thinking the new look Tomb Raider is shaping up to be something special. So avoiding ‘me-too’ gaming tropes like horses and looking after a whiney child are certainly things we’re glad to see hit the cutting room floor.
We’re wanting a new experience of Lara being utterly alone, often helpless, essentially more human. Having to babysit a child would diminish that feeling, as Lara would by comparison be stronger and more resilient. A horse would have been an awkward inclusion too as climbing is a huge part of Tomb Raider. As soon as you need a horse to navigate your terrain for a game like this, you’ve made the island too big and empty. We’re not after a Red Dead Redemption-style of exploration here and looking after an AI partner hasn’t really been done well since Ico.
It’s good to see Crystal Dynamics have explored possibilities, but stayed true to their original vision rather than jump on the bandwagon. I’ll admit, at first I was expecting an Uncharted clone, but Lara’s next adventure may be heading into a league of its own. 2013 can’t come soon enough.
Check out our previous coverage of Tomb Raider:
- Tomb Raider Interview | Non-Linearity, Survival & Rebooting An Icon
- Tomb Raider Preview | The Hunger Game
- E3 2011 | Tomb Raider Developer Demo Preview - Becoming A Legend Through Blood, Sweat And Tears