Shadow of the Tomb Raider is real, Square Enix last month announced it after several leaks and reports of it being in the making. At this stage, we only have a quite short teaser trailer, and we’re eagerly waiting to learn more about the game when a full reveal comes on April 27.
The teaser is short as I said, but it is long enough to have the first information and a good analysis of what is possibly in the works now. We are only a few months away from the September 14, 2018, release, so it’s good that we prepare ourselves for what is next in the franchise as quickly as possible.
In terms of setting, it appears safe to state we’ll take a trip to the Yucatan peninsula, possibly in Honduras, as the area was circled in a map back at the end of Rise of the Tomb Raider. If confirmed, this would mean that those in the first game’s teaser are Mayan pyramids, as the Aztecs were located closer to central Mexico.
This setting would be functional in the effort of getting the game closer to the older titles’ vibe. To the sensation of the uncharted the first games in the series got famous for, something Rise of the Tomb Raider kind of renounced to. And all this, sure enough, is all but a coincidence.
In fact, as you might have learned reading the first few official details, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is going to be the last step in young Lara’s journey. Being the last step, it is set to be a sort of link between the worlds of Tomb Raider, the original saga, and the rebooted trilogy.
In that perspective, the fact the trailer is hinting at dual wielding is somewhat indicative of the growth of the character, who is getting way closer to the adult Lara. The last adventure has apparently been very formative for the protagonist and quite surely has allowed her to become somehow the archeologist we’re fallen in love with back in the PSone days.
Anyway, it’s not like the game is going to be completely different in comparison with the previous two. Interestingly, based on the teaser, we’ve got to learn Lara is still climbing both with her hands and the climbing pick (which she also uses as a weapon). What will be missing is most probably snow, although extreme condition will still be there.
If I should do my prediction, I feel the game is going to be very close in terms of mood to the original reboot. Tomb Raider 2013 was presented as something quite dark and very mysterious, at the point it was thought there would even be a magical component in it; my opinion is Shadow is apparently going to proceed through the same path.
Things have changed a bit in comparison with Rise of the Tomb Raider. Not only the story, which will see us fight one more time against Trinity, and the gameplay, but also the way it is going to be published. We already know that Shadow is releasing upon day one for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, which is different as Rise of was launched as an Xbox 360 and Xbox One timed exclusive.
We don’t know whether Square Enix and Microsoft got in touch in order to try and repeat the deal, but the idea is the platform holder just wanted something to compete with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End; it wasn’t looking into bringing an entire trilogy into its software portfolio. On top of that, since Phil Spencer arrival, the company has shied away from timed exclusives on DLC nor on full games, with PUBG being a fun exception.
While this is great, something has disappointed me a bit. It saddens me that the original developer Crystal Dynamics isn’t being allowed to build this last chapter, as it is now busy working on Project Avengers – apparently more remunerative for publisher Square Enix.
All this could mean Shadow of the Tomb Raider is somehow a more of the same, building upon the structure of the previous few games. And that if they do change something, people will feel like they can say “this isn’t the real TR”; Eidos Montreal, on top of that, has always worked on first-person titles such as Deus Ex and Thief, although I don’t see them adding their expertise in the genre with some sort of change of perspective from time to time.
It is a risk worth taking, it seems, and one we’ll learn more about in April.