The next entry in Crystal Dynamics’ Lara Croft trilogy is currently known as Shadow of the Tomb Raider. That is, according to a sneaky photo of a presentation a developer was caught looking at on the subway earlier this week.
It’s a cool, suitably dark name for what could be the final chapter in the fantastic reboot trilogy. We don’t know much about it, but it’s safe to assume Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be coming our way in the next couple of years.
What is Shadow of the Tomb Raider?
Once again helmed by seasoned developer Crystal Dynamics, Shadow of the Tomb Raider will continue the adventures of Lara Croft as she discovers ancient cities, artifacts and spooky skeletons. It is unconfirmed whether Trinity, the mercenary group from the previous game, will remain as the core antagonists.
Either way, you can expect the usual combination of platforming, combat and exploration with a tightly woven narrative.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider release date - when is it coming out?
We’ve no idea! It hasn’t even been formally announced, so we may not see an official reveal for a good while yet. Chances are it will launch for PS4, Xbox One and PC, with potential support for PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider – 5 things we’d like to see
Rise of the Tomb Raider told an involving yet predictable tale with faceless mercenaries and inevitable betrayals forming the crux of its narrative. The spotlight was clearly on Lara herself, who proved to be a strong and capable lead amongst an otherwise unimaginative supporting cast. Shadow of the Tomb Raider would benefit from an in-depth character study of our favourite treasure hunter, addressing the ludonarrative dissonance of past games.
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Give Lara an end goal worthy of our emotional investment instead of yet another generic artifact for her to hunt down before the bad guys do. The formula worked incredibly well for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, with the pirate’s treasure taking a backseat to Nathan Drake and his struggling relationships.
More imaginative enemies
Tomb Raider and its excellent sequel housed a solid combat system, however, the foes you fought were far too bland. You had your normal soldiers, ranged enemies and heavy variants, all of which felt direly generic. Crystal Dynamics has an opportunity to really shake things up a bit, throwing out the boring mercenaries in favour of adversaries actually worth fighting. Lara is a tough gal, and will surely have no problem dispatching a few supernatural nasties. Just don’t go full Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. No aliens!
Croft Manor hub world
Crystal Dynamics has been chasing the Uncharted formula ever since the reboot launched back in 2013. The focus has clearly been on the tight platforming and bombastic set pieces that defined Naughty Dog’s masterful series. That’s all well and good, and Tomb Raider has done a fantastic job of crafting a unique identity, but it’s still missing something. Hardened fans of Lara Croft will have fond memories of Croft Manor back on PS1.
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You freely roamed the grounds solving puzzles and locking people in freezers. You know, the usual stuff. Shadow of the Tomb Raider could introduce a home to store all your hard fought collectibles and track progress. It would also help break up the monotony of the fairly linear solo campaign, giving you a place to return after all the chaos.
No timed exclusivity!
Fans around the world reacted in anger when Rise of the Tomb Raider was unveiled as a timed exclusive for Xbox One, leaving behind two of the platforms its predecessor had launched on. Fast forward to 2016 and it’s available on all platforms, but the sting of that initial announcement can still be felt. With any luck, Crystal Dynamics will have Shadow of the Tomb Raider debut on all platforms simultaneously with no exclusivity nonsense blurring the lines.
Above all else, Rise of the Tomb Raider was an excellent third-person shooter with some memorable, intense firefights. Luckily, it seldom spammed you with endless waves of enemies to kill. It always knew when to focus on puzzle solving or transition to a cutscene. It struck a clever balance that never got boring. That being said, it’d be nice to jump into a mode that focused purely on combat.
If anything, Tomb Raider is more capable of a successful horde mode than Gears of War. Lara Croft is incredibly resourceful, possessing a range of useful guns and gadgets. Imagine using these to defend a specific environment, holding back enemies with devilishly handmade traps. There are plenty of side characters to fulfill the roles of your friends, making such a mode ideal for couch co-op and online play.
What would you like to see from Shadow of the Tomb Raider? Let us know in the comments below!