Crystal Dynamics’ Tomb Raider reboot will retell the story of Lara Croft’s origin and growth into the personality we’re all familiar with — the confident, smart-alecky woman with a fondness for poking her nose in unwelcome places.
This means taking the player back to Lara’s younger days. Back in the days of the original PlayStation, Tomb Raider IV: The Last Revelation was the first game to deal with Lara’s childhood. You may recall her mentor, Werner Von Croy, from The Last Revelation. Serving a similar role to Von Croy in the new Tomb Raider, at least early in the game, is a character named Conrad Roth, a 52-year-old treasure hunter.
We acquired a portion of the new Tomb Raider script from an voice acting audition that gives us a glimpse at Lara’s interactions and relationship to Roth. While not necessarily finalized, here’s a summary to give you a feel for the new Lara Croft.
The scene opens with a bored Lara recording a video log while on an expedition with Conrad Roth. Roth isn’t in this scene, but he is mentioned.
“Three weeks out, zero finds, twenty fish suppers, fifty instances of Roth fantasising about a pint of Bitter and a ninety-nine percent chance that I’ll hurl myself off this boat out of sheer boredom,” Lara says to the camera. She keeps talking, and a few lines later, mentions something called the “Dragon’s Triangle”.
Lara says she feels that she and Roth are on the brink of discovering something extraordinary, emphasizing excitedly that this is what makes their search different from a mere hobby. She’s young, but ambitious.
The scene then cuts to the village Lara and Roth are at. It’s night time, and the sound of wolves barking is followed by a scream from Roth. He’s being attacked by a pack of them, and by the time Lara gets to him, the wolves have had their way with his leg. Roth has managed to deal with a couple of them with his automatic pistol while the rest have made their escape, but he’s incapacitated.
Lara herself is by no means incapable, however. Expressing concern for his well-being, she bandages Roth’s leg, while he tells her that the wolves took his food pack. The pack also contains their medical supplies and their transmitter, so unless they manage to get it back, they’re stranded on the island with no way to give Roth the necessary medical aid his leg requires.
Roth attempts to stand, but passes out. He’s still alive, but out cold. Slightly panicked, and with no other choice at hand, Lara eyes the wolves’ tracks, and sets out to retrieve their supplies. This is where the cutscene ends and, we assume, the player takes control.
The next scene sees Lara returning to the village, their stolen supplies in hand. She drops the transmitter and medkit down next to Roth and gets to work on tending to his wounds. Roth is impressed by her skill, and asks where she learnt to administer first-aid. “Late shift at The Nine Bells,” Lara replies. “A wolf’s got nothing on a broken bottle.”
Roth tells Lara their best bet is to take their retrieved transmitter to the central mountain peak on the island they’re stranded on. The camera angles up to it. Roth says the mountain will give them the ability to broadcast a strong signal in every direction. He won’t be doing any climbing himself, though, so it’s up to her to scale the mountain and send out a signal.
Lara is despondent. Her face is a mask of worry, and she clearly isn’t keen on taking responsibility for the task. Keep in mind that this new Tomb Raider depicts Lara’s origins as an adventurer, so it makes sense that, despite her ambition and excitement, she’s still scared and unsure of herself.
“You can do this Lara; after all, you are a Croft,” Roth assures her. “I don’t think I’m that kind of Croft,” she replies weakly. “Sure you are,” Roth encourages. “You just don’t know it yet.”
With that, he lays his climbing axe down in front of her. Lara reaches for the axe, and following a quick warning from Roth to “be careful,” she slips off into the night to do the needful.
Update: Square Enix initially requested that we take the script down in its entirety. However, since then, we’ve managed to reach a compromise with them and have been given the go-ahead to post the summary above.