Tomb Raider’s New Lara Croft Is Still Rich, But There’s A Catch

By Ishaan . January 6, 2013 . 10:30am

Lara Croft is a very different character in Crystal Dynamics’ upcoming Tomb Raider reboot. In the original Tomb Raider games, Lara was depicted as an elegant, confident and aristocratic explorer. She came from a wealthy background, had her very own mansion (and butler), and constantly travelled the world in search of adventure, with no apparent financial concerns whatsoever.


In contrast, the new Lara Croft is a young, inexperienced woman with a passion for archaeology. She isn’t elegant, she certainly isn’t confident, and little is known of her family background. However, Crystal Dynamics haven’t done away with Lara’s wealthy family roots in their re-imagining. According to the game’s writer, Rhianna Pratchett, Lara still comes from a wealthy background.


“Lara definitely comes from money. Her father is titled,” Pratchett shares in a recent Crystal Dynamics podcast. “At the start of the game her parents are missing. They’ve been missing for a number of years. That side of things is not touched in the game. Her parents don’t appear. So she technically has access to that money, but she doesn’t want to touch it for a number of reasons.”


Pratchett elaborates: “For one, she very much wants to stand on her own two feet. She’s very… I don’t know about stubborn, but she wants to make her own way in the world on her own terms. She puts herself through university. She works several jobs in order to do so, one of which she mentions in the game. She talks about a late shift at the Nine Bells. She doesn’t use her family’s money to do that. She does it herself. Also, because her parents are missing, she doesn’t want to touch that money, because it would sort of be tantamount to admitting that they’re really gone, that they’re not going to come back.”


These aspects of Lara’s past aren’t explored in the games, but are explored in the promotional Tomb Raider comics that take place in the weeks running up to the events of the game. Lara’s wealth is tied up in trusts and various other arrangements, so she can’t access any of it.


These changes, Pratchett—who is also involved with the comics—says, were made to make Lara feel more relatable, and less like a character who has the ability to throw money and fancy gadgets at every problem, adding that: “She might get there one day, but this is how Lara feels at 21.”


Pratchett provides her thoughts with regard to Lara’s trademark confidence, which is absent at the start of the new Tomb Raider as well.


“I know that some people have felt that we’re breaking down Lara in this game. That we’re taking a strong character and sort of breaking her down through the events that happen. But that’s really not the case,” Pratchett says.


She continues: “What we’re doing is taking her back to a time when she didn’t have the answers to everything. She didn’t have the guns and the gadgets to deal with every situation. She was seeing everything with fresh eyes and she didn’t know she was capable of doing these things. So she’s on that mission of self-discovery.”


The goal, Pratchett shares, is to allow Lara to discover that she does have all of the traits that Tomb Raider fans associate with her character.


“I think it was a little bit shocking to players, to see Lara being scared,” Pratchett admits. “You rarely see characters being scared, especially when they’re usually seen as so strong and capable. I think that was a bit of a shock for people. But we’re playing a long game with Lara. When you see Lara scared and asking Roth for help, that’s very early on in the game.”


You can listen to the full podcast with Pratchett here. Tomb Raider is scheduled for release on March 5th, 2013 on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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  • Still looks a lot like Tombcharted to me, but only time will tell, even if it does copy/paste that gameplay style, cant argue with what works I guess. It put Naughty Dog on the map, so maybe it can revive this franchise. Looking forward to a good downloadable demo sometime soon :O

    • zero254

      I always hate when people ruin a game’s formula to make it play like something based on it’s old formula.

      It’s kinda like how re4 had the over the shoulder camera, then gears game out with the over the shoulder camera and a cover system and then all of a sudden 5 had the same junk.

      • RE5 didn’t have a cover system at all. What are you talking about? It was paced very differently from Gears and I would never call it a cover shooter the way Gears is.

        • mpgeist

          Not to be ‘that’ guy, but RE5 did have a cover system toward the end of the game. It was when you fight the soldierish type of enemies with guns.

          • I wouldn’t call that “ruining the game’s formula”. RE5 was basically RE4 with a co-op multiplayer focus. Even the controls. :P

          • mpgeist

            Well Resident Evil jumped the shark with the 4th game to me in the first place. I didn’t really have a horse in the race when I made the comment. I just felt saying “RE5 didn’t have a cover system at all” was perhaps a little disingenuous. Anyway, I’m not here to make enemies, good day sir.

  • EisKonig

    That’s an interesting take on Lara’s background. It really does make her more relatable, human, closer to us. Although I would like to have some of the info on the game itself, not on comics. But, whatever, it’s more Tomb Raider media so, no problem at all :)

    • Testsubject909

      I wonder how the fans are going to try and make sense of it all. I mean we’ve had flashbacks of Little Kid Lara going on expeditions with her family in the past. I personally don’t care to try and make sense of her timeline, but I am curious what some fans will reason out of it.

      edit: Also. I wonder if they’ll maintain in canon that she lost her mother to a magical green vortex.

      • EisKonig

        I was just wondering the same thing. Maybe they’ll just completely disregard the old timeline now, seeing it is a reboot.

        I wouldn’t mind keeping the canon story though, with Amelia going to “Avalon” and all; I really enjoyed the last trilogy (Anniversary, Legends and Underworld).

      • @Testsubject909:disqus @twitter-114347482:disqus It’s what Paulo said. This game is a full reboot, so none of the incidents from the previous games have occurred.

        • Time Sage

          Despite the fact that they just rebooted it a few years ago. I liked that reboot. And while they did factor in the remake into the reboot, it was still disregarding the orginal version and all the games up until the reboot.

          • I don’t think that the first reboot was really all that different from the original games, to be honest. It felt more like an extension of old Lara, rather than a reinvention. I mean, they even included Tomb Raider Anniversary as part of the rebooted series.

            Plus, keep in mind that Crystal Dynamics basically had the series dropped in their laps by Eidos after Core Design messed up with Angel of Darkness, so I can understand the desire to not want to do anything too radically different.

            At the time, the goal was simply to bring Tomb Raider back from the grave. Now that it’s been somewhat established as respectable series on current-gen devices again, they can really do what they want with it and feel less afraid.

        • Testsubject909

          I keep forgetting that this is meant to be a reboot rather then just a prequel.

          Man reboots are really popular these past years.

  • Oh cool
    Glad we have some thing other than guns

  • d19xx

    I hope she discovers that she never actually raided any tomb…

    • Testsubject909

      Oh! But she once raided a ship! That counts… right?

      • d19xx

        Yes. If you’re a Viking . :D

  • anarchy_panty

    I feel like they’re taking this game in the wrong direction. I don’t know… Maybe I’m alone in this, but if I was going to list reasons I played and enjoyed past Tomb Raider games, narrative would probably be pretty far down the list. Furthermore, I always thought Lara was a good character in the same way that Indiana Jones is a good character — there’s not a whole lot of depth or development but the things they do and they way they accomplish them are just so awesome they you end up liking the character. You don’t sympathize with them so much as you want to BE them; vicarious escapism, if you will. Focusing on her past and motivations and trying to make her relatable takes away a lot of what made her character enjoyable, I think.

    But, I said similar things when Casino Royale was filming, so hopefully Tomb Raider will prove me wrong in a similarly glorious manner.

    • Testsubject909

      Narrative was often what made me dislike the Tomb Raider games. Gameplay is what made me return to it all the time. If I could disassociate the Narrative from the Gameplay, I’d be one very happy camper.

      The things they do are awesome, but whenever you try to analyse the character, their actions and whatnot, you end up with a very unlikable character. They’re not meant to be taken seriously, it is as you put it, escapism. Put your mind on hold and just enjoy the game and don’t think of consequences or background information or of the possible past events the characters have had to lead up to the current ones. That’s my take on the current Tomb Raider games. At least Anniversary, Legend and Underworld… Oh Underworld, what a mess you were with all your game breaking glitches and Lara having seriously demented literally world threatening mommy issues in that one…

      My mindset on this particular Tomb Raider game though is… well tainted. I can’t fully disassociate the fact that this was meant to be an entirely different game prior to it’s transformation as a Tomb Raider game… Still, it’s a Tomb Raider. The Gameplay keeps me coming back and hopefully for once, the Narrative won’t make me hate the character in it. So I’m willing to give it a chance.

    • puchinri

      I quite agree with that. When I was younger and played TR, I liked it because Lara was capable and did what she wanted, no matter how well off she was, and she wasn’t someone that I wanted to “protect”, didn’t feel the need to sympathize with, nor pity. In general, I feel like they’ve had the wrong idea and direction from the get go in how to handle her (and obviously went backwards in plenty of ways that they were trying to “fix”), but yeah, I guess we’ll see how things go in the end.

      • malek86

        The problem with the old games was that presumably Lara had lost appeal. Sorta like Duke Nukem, another badass character from the 90’s, Lara seemed to be the kind of no-frills person who belonged in a different era: no real motives, she kicks butt just because she can and because that was the trend at the time.

        I’m perfectly fine with old Lara, but I can see why they would try and make her different today. Things have changed. Badass characters are just not as appreciated as before. There’s a reason if a character like Serious Sam is seen as “retro”. Today, if you are not relatable, that’s probably going to be considered a weakness in both reviews and user feedback.And the only reason Serious Sam can get away with it is because the whole game is explicitly marketed as retro.

      • I’m with you on the fact that the old Lara was a very likeable character back in the day. She was strong, she was sexy, and the brief moments that she displayed signs of being human like the rest of us were wonderful, precisely because they were so rare.

        Another reason I personally really liked Lara was because she was a very “videogamey” character. She was a bit of a caricature, right from her looks to her personality. Even the way her body language was animated was very “game-like” and represented the kinds of traits inspired by oldschool games.

        I think a lot of Nintendo games and characters tend to be like that, too. Link, Samus, Mario. They don’t speak as much, and their body language does the talking. At the same time, it almost feels like there’s a conscious effort not to make their body language too realistic, because then you end up with something movie-like. I love when game characters are animated in a slightly unrealistic fashion because it brings out the gameyness and, in my mind, displays a pride on the part of the creators that they’re working on games and not movies.

        (The ending cutscene for Angel of Darkness is a fantastic representation of this, IMO. It’s a very “videogamey” cutscene, but faint glimpses of Lara’s emotional and human side filter through:

        Sadly, I don’t think the vast majority of the games market sees things that way. I think players today want realistic animation and that movie-like experience. I think what it boils down to is that you and I are of the generation where these characters were the product of their time, and technological limits prevented videogames from becoming too movie-like, and thus gave them their own unique identity.

        Now that those technological limits have been removed, most game creators are doing what a lot of them always wanted to do in the first place—be more cinematic and movie-like. It’s unfortunate, but I do think the advance in technology has led to a lot of games losing their identity in recent years.

        I was actually really down on the new Tomb Raider until just about a week ago, even more so due to the fact that I’ve been playing Tomb Raider Anniversary out of nostalgia. Thankfully, that video I linked above did give me some hope that the new game could be fun in its own right. I wish they’d shown all of this footage off much sooner during their marketing plans. I was really, really upset about the game until I got to take a good look at it.

        • malek86

          I do wonder why the movie industry didn’t seem to suffer the same problem. Even though we have advanced a lot from the 80’s, today movies with badass heroes are still relatively popular. Granted not as much as before, but they haven’t almost entirely disappeared like in gaming.

          Given that the focus on videogames today seems to be toward movie-like experiences, surely somebody might want to try and bring that to the small monitor. But it doesn’t happen. The best you can get are military shooters where the focus is still on a team rather than one person.

          Put in simple terms, how comes today nobody tries to do the videogame equivalent of a summer blockbuster?

          • Don’t you think all triple-A games aspire to be the videogame equivalent of a summer blockbuster, though? The timing is different. We tend to focus more on the winter holiday season than the summer holidays, but the intent is the same. To have a big, memorable cinematic experience at a time when people have free time and money to spend.

          • malek86

            Yeah, but the focus is different. What I mean is why the Schwarznegger-like heroes have remained somewhat popular in movies, while they got phased out in games. In this sense, it seems games have “evolved” (depending on the taste) faster than movies, despite having had a fifth of the time to mature.

            I suppose it’s to be expected since the whole era is different today from the pre-1980 times, but it surprises me how the process of market focusing is even faster in games than it is in movies, even though the development time of a game is probably similar to that of a movie.

          • I think that might be because movies are an easier sell. It’s a few bucks for a movie ticket, as opposed to $60 for a game, so I think people are more willing in general to pay for a movie they’re unsure about, whereas games have a greater challenge overcoming that barrier.

          • CataclysmicDawn

            I disagree that there are no blockbuster style heroes in gaming, what about the Call of Duty campaigns, explosions and gunfire abound? Borderlands with its cavalier heroes with guns that fire 17 grenades a second? People overlook these.

        • Tien Ron

          i disagree only because i didn’t like the direction the old tomb raider did go, they made her a total sex symbol and very unappealing IMO. i only liked the first two tomb raiders and then legends which i thought was a very good game. i think this game is just a nice fresh start to the old tomb raider that i use to know and become a strong symbol for women in a more realistic way.

          • I agree the new one has a shot at being a more thoughtful take on Tomb Raider. I’m 100% cool with the idea of that, as long as the fun-factor doesn’t suffer for it. We’ll find out in March, I suppose.

    • Elvick

      You didn’t play for narrative because it wasn’t really that great.

      I mean, who played the original Final Fantasy for it’s story or characters?

      That’s why they’re doing it differently. I’ve always wanted more depth to Lara because she’s interesting.

      One doesn’t pop out of a vagina doing backflips, shooting guns and with breasts bigger than the doctor’s office.

  • Hyli

    yeah, its definitely different, but I like it! Making characters more relatable is always a good idea in my book. You can still look up to Lara Croft as a role model if you like, even when she’s asking for help. That doesn’t make her any less of a strong character to me.

  • Eew. I prefer the traditional Lara Croft in the older games… What is this TR Survival thing… her voice is changed… where did the fancy British accent go? And she’s all timid now…. She looks different… they made her ”pretty” and not badass…

    • Testsubject909

      You mean her voice changed again.

      At first she was a bit more of a flirtatious woman in the original, closer to a femme fatale if you would call her that. But then in the Anniversary edition she got that British accent and her attitude got a tweak to make her more into that… how did the meme go again… I can’t really put the intonation and singsong quality to it right but “Strong Indepeeedent Womaaaaan”.

      I CAN tell you that supposedly the intent here is to show how Lara grows into the later Lara that she is. As such be prepared for a different sort of Lara.

    • puchinri

      Haha, that was a lot of points that I agree with. She’s fragile and “pretty” now, sadly, instead of badass (and they could have went for sexy without being exploitative). The timid/fragile thing especially just doesn’t do it for me.

      • I’d recommend checking this out! I was horribly, horribly down on this game until I watched the livestream they did a few weeks ago. Now I’m actually feeling a lot better about it, to the point where I’d say I’m cautiously optimistic.

        (Mind you, this is coming from someone who was bitching about the new Tomb Raider to his friends as recently as a week ago, haha.)

        • Tien Ron

          thanks for that link ishaan, i really enjoyed that interview that game looks amazing and yet i still say game and it don;st feel all movie like, unlike other games like uncharted 3. one thing that i love games for is good AI’s and im gald there going in deep with them to provide a challenge.
          i also like the fact that she is overpowered and graually becomes the lara we know i’m expecting her to pull her bangs back rip those shorts and get them pistols! hahaha

          • I agree, this vid definitely made it look less movie-like. They showed off a really good chunk of gameplay and I thought it looked a lot of fun. The hub/campsite areas look fantastic.

            The problem came from everything they showed before this. All those sequences of Lara constantly falling and getting hurt and QTEs. It was starting to feel a little bit like they were pushing the “Lara goes through a world of pain” aspect a bit too hard.

            But this livestream was awesome, and I’m so very happy to have seen it. I feel a lot more positive on TR now.

  • isotrex

    SPOILER: Her father is actually Nathan Drake. j/k. haha.

  • Setsu Oh

    i donty care much anymore, if they had not pulled a tecmo o wold have had bought it on day one, even preordered. now, bargain bin 15bucks or i don t play it at all. there is already so few nice female heroins in VGs, why weakening her to a point where it isn t even relevant anymore that she ll get back up?

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