My new year resolution for 2016 was a goal to become more involved with the Tomb Raider community and thankfully I was afforded that opportunity. I’ve met so many incredible people, made such great friends and joined a passionate and embracing Tomb Raider family.
After my initial trip to Crystal Dynamics in Redwood City, California — I was so eager to do Tomb Raider events the following year!
In July of 2016, I was able to fly out to San Diego during Comic-Con season. My family was already vacationing there, and it made sense for me to join my family later that week, and join in on the Tomb Raider festivities, such as the Cosplay gathering where members of the community showed off their awesome costumes and hung out for the weekend!
It was super nerve-wracking, meeting so many members of the community and development team. I remember being so reluctant and afraid to show up at the “Square Enix Experience” where demos and gatherings were being held downtown by the convention center. But it was such an incredible and memorable first experience, meeting such talented and likeminded people, all gathered for our love for Croft!
At the “Square Enix Experience” I was able to get hands on with the PS4 version of Rise of the Tomb Raider, climb a super cool rock climbing wall, and meet the ever so fabulous Camilla Luddington! I was super nervous meeting her, I never in a million years expected to ever meet this girl. But there she was, glamorous and so down to earth. I remember being so starstruck and stunned to actually see her walk on to the lot, greeting all the fans.
SDCC 2016 was super special, and it was an honor to finally meet everyone there!
More recently in November of 2016, Crystal Dynamics and a company in northern Cali called Adventure Out partnered up to host a survival training course with staff members of IGN to be grouped up with members of the community to learn basic survival skills and compete Tomb Raider style!
As a Colorado native, it was quite the trip to haul ass halfway across the country on such short notice for the next TR event! That being said, I road tripped 13 hours from Colorado to Arizona to meet up with a buddy, Isaac Cabrera aka Tom Braider — Where we drove through Los Angeles to pick up a few more members of our party, and drove up the coast to Santa Cruz to join the rest of the group for the training class! We even met up with Earl Baylon for a lunch date in LA.
During the course we learned how to build shelter, purify water, make fire by friction, and even build bundle bows like Lara’s iconic makeshift bow in TR 2013! It was a blast, and I’m super excited for what’s to come in 2017! Be sure to check out the gallery below!
I want to give a special thanks to my road trip buddies — for dealing with my shenanigans, and being the best road trip pals. It was so much fun.
As you may already be aware, 2016 was the year of Tomb Raider. Marking 20 years since the franchises birth, Crystal Dynamics celebrated 20 years of Tomb Raider by hosting several events — such as the Tomb Raider Suite that happened in December, and Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration edition that released on PlayStation 4. This edition of the game is jam packed with new content, as well as the award winning base game. The new content features a co-op version of Endurance mode, where people can play together to survive the wilderness. It also features new storyline DLC called Blood Ties – allowing us to explore Croft Manor first the first time in true HD and also in VR (Exclusively to PS4) – and that’s not all! In the special add on ‘Lara’s Nightmare’ we are be able to defend Croft Manor from Zombies in this new action packed adventure.
I was lucky enough to have a family member who owns PSVR and let me try out VR mode. PSVR is quite costly as many pieces of equipment are needed; the headset alone costs £349.99 in the UK ($399.99) and you also need a PlayStation camera for the headset to work which will set you back another £45.00 – so needless to say, I was extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to try this out without having to shell out a lot of cash.
The headset, when finally fitted is quite comfortable, there is a strap at the back for adjusting how tight it is. I was also pleasantly surprised that it’s possible to wear glasses with the PSVR and it will still work fine. The only issue I encountered with the headset is that the lenses can get a little fogged up depending on your surroundings and heated environment. Obviously when wearing the headset, you’re unable to see anything as the headset covers your eyes, for this reason it’s essential to make sure the area in which you are gaming is large enough and clear of obstacles.
I’ve read that it’s possible to use PlaySation Move controllers with the PSVR, however I didn’t have one so I used the DualShock 4 controller instead, and that worked just fine. It turns out there are two different ways of controlling Lara in VR mode; firstly, you can control her as normal, left analogue stick to move, right analogue stick for camera. Secondly you can use a strange “teleportation” mode where you use certain buttons on the controller to warp you to different areas. I found the latter quite confusing to figure out, so I went with the traditional style controls to move around Croft Manor.
It’s well known that using traditional controls whilst wearing the PSVR headset can make a lot of gamers dizzy and nauseous, but for me it wasn’t too bad, I noticed that they had slowed down the speed of which you can move greatly, possibly to counteract any dizziness or motion sickness.
This is where the reality (pun intended) of virtual reality kicks in.
I was standing in Lara’s study in Croft Manor, my view was first person, I could see the safe in front of me. If I turned to my right I could see down the hall, If I turned to the left I could see out of the window, this was insane. I made my way down to the main hallway and really took my time taking in the sights, looking up at the top right of the ‘screen’ I could see the beautiful architecture of the building, the stone balconies, rain pouring in from a hole in the roof, all like it was right there in real life. Wherever I turned my head, the camera would follow – hard to explain, but it was amazing to experience.
The only downsides I experienced with the PSVR were of course the lenses fogging up, which made it difficult to see, and also sometimes the camera wouldn’t track my movements properly and when I would load up the menu it would be at a very high portion of the screen, or an extremely low portion of the screen, although I think some of this may have had something to with the fact that I was using tradition controls to move Lara around, and using the right analogue stick messed the camera up.
Although I found the whole experience interesting, I still wouldn’t be tempted to shell out the £349.99 to be able to have this experience in my living room, however this is just my personal opinion. If you have the opportunity to try out Blood Ties VR mode, definitely try it out, but if not, the normal version is just as satisfying.
Be sure to check out the gallery below!
Great news for PC gamers this week. Steam launched their Autumn sale last night with some great offers for the Tomb Raider series.
If you were waiting to pick up Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20th Anniversary edition, the game is currently 50% on the Steam store, costing only £19.99/$29.99 which is an amazing price considering all of the content included in this version of the game:
– Classic Lara Skins
– Blood Ties story DLC
– Lara’s Nightmare expedition
– Cold Darkness Awakened DLC
– Endurance Mode
– Baba Yaga DLC
– Co-op Endurance Mode & much more!
Also discounted is Tomb Raider 2013, which you can pick up for around £3.74 – a really great deal. If classic Tomb Raider is more your thing, you can pick up the classic games for less than £1.50 a piece! Make sure to take advantage of these great deals as the Steam sale ends on November 29th!
Recently a special collectors bundle for Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration was announced, it will release on October 11th 2016 alongside the standard and limited edition versions. So far this bundle is only available from the Square Enix European Store, priced at £89.99 which is great value for everything that you get in the box:
Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration physical game
Replica of Lara’s diary
Replica of Lara’s necklace
Limited edition 20 Year Celebration art book
12″ Lara Croft statue
Beautiful collectors box
As someone who owned this version of the game for XBox One, I would highly guarantee this as a purchase, it will include all DLC previously announced as well as the new Croft Manor/Blood Ties/Lara’s Nightmare and Co-Op Endurance mode, priced at £89.99 this version of the game is a steal! I can’t speak for the artbook, however the replicas are well made and the Lara Croft statue is huge and beautiful.
At the moment this edition is only available from Square Enix Europe, as soon as any news for other regions becomes available, we will let you know.
With the huge announcement of the 20 years of Tomb Raider celebration taking place at PLAY Expo Manchester, UK this October 8-9th We’ve put together a comic con survival guide! Feel free to use it for information if you are a first time con-goer or as a check list for seasoned veterans.
Do your research before the day: Show guide, floor plans, signing / photoshoot schedules and cosplay prop weapon restrictions
It always pays to be prepared, be sure to thoroughly research the event before attending so that your day flows as smoothly as possible. Having a show guide to hand can be extremely useful! If you are attending signings and photo shoots, have a copy of the schedule nearby so that you know where you need to be and at what time.
If you are cosplaying, one of the most important things to do is to check the terms and conditions for props, it would be terrible to have your props confiscated because they did not follow the guidelines! Be prepared and research thoroughly.
Where possible, purchase early bird/entry or weekend tickets
If you are planning to attend both days of the event, it is always more financially beneficial to purchase a weekend tickets, as single day tickets are usually a little more expensive. Purchase your tickets as soon as possible as weekend tickets are usually the first to sell out. If you are attending for a single day, it is always best to purchase an early bird/entry ticket rather than a general entry ticket. This is to ensure you get into the event and through the queuing system as swiftly as possible, so you can start enjoying your day!
Prepare yourself, there can be big crowds
Each year PLAY Expo gets bigger and bigger, attracting more people every year! So do your research before the day: Show guide, floor plans, signing and photo shoot schedules.
Keep hydrated, drink lots of water
Naturally, with all of these people in one giant hall, the temperatures are bound to rise, keep well hydrated by drinking lots of water. You can either take your own or there will be stalls inside selling drinks.
Technology – Take a fully charged camera, an empty memory card and a portable phone charger
Comic cons are an amazing place to take lots of photos, the cosplayers look wonderful and put so much effort into their costumes, but remember to always ask permission before taking a photo of cosplayers. These days’ cell phone batteries deplete very fast, so a portable charger for your phone is always a good idea, you want to make sure you always have battery power.
The most important tip – Enjoy yourself
It’s not every day that we have these special events to bring us all together, make sure you enjoy PLAY Expo for everything that it is, take lots of photos, catch as many panels as you can, go shopping, just make sure to have fun.
The 20 Year celebration of Tomb Raider event was organised by PLAY Expo in partnership with Tomb of Ash. Meet other Tomb Raider fans as well as cast and crew who worked on the Tomb Raider games! Tickets are on sale now at PLAY Expo’s official website. The event takes place at Event City Manchester, United Kingdom on Saturday October 8th and Sunday October 9th 2016.
From the press release:
In tribute to gaming’s first lady of adventure, the party starts with what is set to be the largest Tomb Raider panel ever assembled! Hosted by Sky Sports™ eSports commentator Matt Andrews, and with a host of famous names throughout the history of the franchise, fans will be able to engage in a Q&A with the panel as well as hear untold stories from the development of the series. With more names yet to announce, confirmed guests so far include:
Ian Livingstone CBE: Former CEO of Eidos® Interactive
Jeremy Heath-Smith: Executive producer and Co-Founder of Core® Design
Natalie Cook: Lara Croft™ original model for Tomb Raider™
Richard Morton: Lead Game Designer / Level Designer / Environmental Artist for Tomb Raider II™ – Tomb Raider III™ – Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation™ – Tomb Raider Chronicles™ – Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness™
Gavin Rummery: Programmer for Tomb Raider – Tomb Raider II – Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness / Head of Core Design
Heather Gibson: Level Designer for Tomb Raider / Tomb Raider II
Andy Sandham: Level Designer / Artist / Script Writer for Tomb Raider III – Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation – Tomb Raider Chronicles
Murti Schofield: Lead Writer / Casting for Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness
Nathan McCree: Composer for Tomb Raider – Tomb Raider II – Tomb Raider III
Stuart Atkinson: Artist / Animator for Tomb Raider – Tomb Raider II
James Kenny: Concept / Environmental Artist for Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness
With so many cast and development members’ together at last, no reunion on this scale would be complete without the opportunity to capture the moment, and a Tomb Raider themed photo shoot will be the perfect place stand shoulder-to-shoulder with gaming’s greatest heroes!
To further celebrate 20 years of Tomb Raider, composer Nathan McCree, composer for the first three Tomb Raider games has put together a suite of music which will be performed live at the Eventim Hammersmith Apollo in London, UK on Sunday 18th December 2016. You can purchase tickets to the event here
The concert will include all of the classical compositions as well as extended tracks from the original three games. If you are unable to attend this event, you will have the option to purchase the Tomb Raider suite on CD or by digital download instead – the suite was recorded by a full orchestra at Abbey Road studios in London.
There will also be a TV documentary called Tomb Raider Remastered which features the entire process – re-composing the tracks, the recording of the CD and the lead up to the final event on December 18th.
Here is some background information from the press release:
Twenty years ago, when the first Tomb Raider game was released and the world was introduced to its heroine, Lara Croft, few could have predicted its extraordinary impact and success. Tomb Raider games have now sold over 45m copies, making it one of the most successful gaming franchises in the world. Lara Croft is the most recognisable character in gaming, with Time Magazine naming her in their Top 100 Most Influential People Who Never Lived, alongside Sherlock Holmes, Hamlet and Mr Spock. The game has spawned two major motion pictures, with a third in production starring Alicia Vikander as Lara.
To celebrate 20 years of the Tomb Raider franchise and the legendary Lara Croft, composer Nathan McCree, who wrote the music for the first Tomb Raidergames, has created a 70-minute concert suite for full orchestra and chorus based on his original themes as well as extensions and variations of original tracks from the first three Tomb Raider titles. McCree’s Tomb RaiderTheme has been re-used, arranged and adapted in many of the Tomb Raider incarnations, including the movies, and is as famous in the game world as the James Bond Theme in the movie world. Tomb Raider – Live In Concert gives fans the unique chance to hear McCree’s famous themes played by an orchestra live for the first time – and experience the excitement and power of full orchestral music live and loud!
McCree says: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the fans, as well as me, to hear the music as I had always intended it.”
On a giant screen above the orchestra, the story of 20 years of Tomb Raider will be told with incredible in-game footage and images; a fantastic opportunity to revisit some of the greatest scenes and adventures of Lara Croft and see the development of the character, stories and design behind the legendary game.
Tomb Raider – Live In Concert promises to be the Game Music event of the year: a unique musical and visual experience celebrating one of the greatest and most popular games ever created. No fan will want to miss it.
This is a truly special event to be enjoyed by all Tomb Raider fans alike, it is a one night only event, so be sure to pick up your tickets as soon as possible. On ordering you will have the option to purchase standard tickets or the VIP package, which includes:
- A Top Price ticket in the front 8 rows of the central stalls
- A Tomb Raider VIP lanyard
- A concert programme signed by Nathan McCree
- A limited edition print of the front page of Tomb Raider Suite, signed by Nathan McCree
If you are planning on pre-ordering the new 20 Year Celebration Edition of Rise of the Tomb Raider for PS4, and you live in Europe or the US, you may want to consider these great pre-order bonuses coming to stores near you.
GAME UK are offering an exclusive 20 Year Celebration limited edition Tomb Raider playing cards with pre-orders of the game, as you can see these are pretty cool, and likely to be quite rare.
Playstation are also offering a great deal if you pre-order the game through their digital store; when pre-ordering Rise, you will get Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for free. This offer is valid in both Europe and the US only when buying directly from the Playstation store.
Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celeration edition comes to stores on October 11th 2016, it will include all previously released DLC, Endurance Mode, Baba Yaga and Cold Darkness Awakened, as well as new DLC including Blood Ties – where we will be able to explore Croft Manor in beautiful HD and defend it from zombies in ‘Lara’s Nightmare’ DLC. There will also be Co-op Endurance Mode, enabling us to play with friends. Exlusively to PS4, there will be VR capability to play Blood Ties, be sure to check it out.
Crystal Dynamics has officially announced the PS4 release for Rise of the Tomb Raider! After a year of a timed exclusivity arrangement that secured the Tomb Raider sequel’s debut on the Xbox and PC platforms, fellow raiders and interested PS4 gamers can finally get their hands on the game and experience Croft’s newest globe-trotting endeavor beginning on October 11th!
For more info on the “20 Year Tomb Raider Celebration” release on PS4, head on over to the official Tomb Raider blog for the entire collection breakdown!
Be sure to check out a special “spoiler free” video I put together to help welcome Lara back home to Playstation.
One of the fun things we love about Tomb Raider is it’s light hearted, vibrant aesthetic. The newly rebooted titles are gritty as the franchise has ever been. But, what if this idea was taken a step further? The Tomb Raider 2013 release had a very creepy survival aspect to it. From the very beginning, Lara was knocked unconscious by a dangerous island inhabitant after she and her crew washed up on shore. The idea held a very dark and mysterious undertone, but the development’s execution persisted a disconnect from its potential to becoming a very real survival horror title.
When TR-2013 was first revealed, it was initially thought to have been entering the horror genre. Though, the studio had made it clear during it’s campaign that the game would not follow in that direction. It was still a survival action game. A young girl exploring the far reaches of the world, encountering some of the most dangerous predators and environments on the planet.
With the island of Yamatai’s lethality demonstrated throughout the course of the game, we see deep underground caverns littered with the bodies of many souls, dating back generations. Brutal sacrifices, bodies burned at the stake. Dangerous, murderous men skulking around the grounds of Yamatai with nothing to lose. These are just some of the things that could have made the final game much darker than it actually was. But with bright, beautiful landscapes, and ordinary voices that spoke for the many demented members of “the Solari,” it’s hard to perceive this new version of the franchise as “frightening.” And that is perfectly okay. That’s how the franchise has always been, only now it has a slightly darker tone to its narrative.
With all of these brilliantly implemented set pieces, can Lara Croft really take on a much more twisted sense of reality?
Recently, I was at home watching a horror film favorite. To be specific, I was watching “The Hills Have Eyes 2” on HBO. Throughout the movie, one of the characters really stuck out to me. A gorgeous blonde woman, scared shitless, but armed and persistent to save her friend who was abducted and taken to the mines that lie under the desert canyons. Resourceful and clever, she fought her way through the disgusting deformed mutants who cackled and haunted the jagged hollow hills.
Can Tomb Raider ever go survival horror? Would fans go for this? How far can this idea actually go? Can you see Lara traversing through the deep Virginia Hills, searching a lost valley for a long forgotten artifact? Can you picture Lara Croft fighting off hordes of mass inbred mountain men that only wish to consume or harm her? Perhaps it would be a good thrill and a fascinating journey to see Lara prevail. Seeing her thrive in a situation we would never expect to witness or experience!
As a long time survival horror fan, I personally think this would be a fantastic take and addition to the franchise. But I’m curious, what do you think? Let me know in the comments below your thoughts on this idea!
Rise of the Tomb Raider’s newest DLC “Cold Darkness Awakened” is now live on the Xbox One Marketplace! Lara must now face hordes of infected throughout the dark Siberian forests as she attempts to halt the infection from spreading. Featuring new puzzles and survival horror gameplay, this expansion conveys an eerie aesthetic, alluding a menacing sense of dread.
Lara battling zombies in a survival horror Tomb Raider fashion has long been on my wish list! Fans of the TR franchise and the horror genre should be quite pleased with this newly released expedition mode! Check it out below!
Decommissioned during the Cold War, a dormant weapons research base has been breached, unleashing a mysterious affliction into the Siberian wilderness that transforms men into blood-thirsty, mindless killers. Lara must overcome increasingly dangerous waves of these infected adversaries while scavenging their equipment and crafting additional gear on the fly, in kill or be killed survival-combat. Fight for your life against new enemies and complete new challenges, while discovering a way to stop or perhaps even reverse this impending catastrophe. Includes the Ushanka outfit, which reduces Lara’s damage from melee attacks, the devastating Voidhammer shotgun, and the Cold Darkness Awakened Card Pack which includes over 15 new Expedition Cards.
Xbox Store: Cold Darkness Awakened for Xbox One, $9.99
It was a big week for Rise of The Tomb Raider. Crystal Dynamics kicked off the E3 campaign with a new gameplay demo at the Microsoft conference. Check out the demos and gallery below!
Rise of The Tomb Raider launches November 10th, 2015. Coming first to Xbox.