Shadow of the Tomb Raider difficulty levels, photo mode, outfit bonuses & more

Shadow of the Tomb Raider difficulty levels, photo mode, outfit bonuses & more

Interview with Daniel Chayer-Bisson

Interview with Daniel Chayer-Bisson

Senior Game Director, Eidos Montréal

While Noah Hughes led the development of Rise of the Tomb Raider at Crystal Dynamics, Daniel Bisson took the lead on Shadow of the Tomb Raider in Canada at Eidos Montréal.

Transcript of an exclusive official fansite Discord interview

All right, so what is the most challenging innovation you have introduced to the incoming Tomb Raider?

There’s a lot of things that we did, there’s technological things that we did. For example, the lighting, we completely reworked the lighting system to have something that feels much more natural. The lighting now can pierce through vegetation and things like that, and also the reflection inside of water, so we can have this beautiful water. It was very important for us because it is a very different take on the art of this Tomb Raider, because it’s more colorful, because it’s the jungle, it’s much more alive.

The second thing in terms of technology, with the interaction of the character, was the vegetation. Everything moves. Every single thing, leaves and everything, moves with whatever, it’s the animals moving into the world, or the player, or the AI, or anything, the vegetation actually moves on that.

For the gameplay aspect of it, if you’ve seen it in the trailer, because we introduce the rappel and the way to explore the world. One of the things for us was to rethink how to do the environment, the world. So one of the challenges we had when we build out was all about climbing, was never going down. So it was always like you had to drop down, or you had to climb and just walk yourself down. So one of the things that was very important for us, that we want to have much more experience and make sure Lara, so going down what we have to have a tool that was giving her a lot of control. So it was important to go down with that, and the way we are thinking about the level design was more into the verticality.

One of the big, big things that we did also is to create what we call the living world. That was very, very, very difficult for us because the engine at the time didn’t support as much characters on screen in the size of the hub that we built, so it was very important for us that we push that limit. I would say it’s 1.5 bigger than the biggest hub in Ride and with the verticality, with going onto water and above it, it’s even bigger than that. So it was very, very challenging doing this so that we have this social aspect of it.

So there was a question about the camp. Do we get to have any camps?

Of course we’re going to keep the camps, they’re a part of the origin story franchise, they’re a part of the core gameplay. But we are pushing it to the next level. We call them the social camps, so we have people now sharing some of the camps with you. Because having Lara having conversation with people is very important in this game so we can know a lot more about what’s happening inside Lara, what she thinks and how she feels about things.

So is the system returning, of course it is. One of the things that was important for us, is because this game like we said this game will be a bit different in their approach. The difficulty in the exploration, we want the player to be a lot more free to explore and not to follow too much the yellow brick road that we establish. Right now what we wanted to do is that now by default the camp at normal difficulty will not be light up. Some of them will, but most of them will not. You will have to light it up. You don’t need resources to do that, but you will need to light it up. So you can actually see your path that you built as you explore. You know which side that you already explored, so it is very helping in terms of knowing where you already went. So, that was the thing.

Of course at the hardest difficulty it will be very similar, you will have to use a resource. So this is for us, when we think about the camp, it is still though about upgrading your skills and crafting some of the weapons, and things like that. It’s still about that in our traversal.

So is there any balance between possible action, is it focused more action on gameplay?

This is something we were hearing the fans loud and clear. In 2013 it was the first time we actually had that type of combat in the game, so we were pushing a lot on that side. On Rise was bringing back the tombs. This game is about more balance. It’s more balance between the puzzles, the combat, and the traversal. This is very important for us, because that’s the trajectory. This is where we needed to be ending at the end of this game.

So when we did what we called the blueprint, when we thinking about the game in conception, we actually give ourselves this rule, it has to be a minimum a third, a third, a third.

We heard that Shadow of the Tomb Raider would be the most difficult Tomb Raider game, can you explain in what way?

That was me saying that. It is very important, when we were thinking about this game, we said we need to be much more challenging in terms of how you explore the world. So we have now a difficulty option in the game, and it’s not just about combat now. It’s about puzzles, it’s about combat, and it’s about exploration. So if you’re playing at easy mode on exploration for example, remember the white paint in Rise of the Tomb Raider? We had white paint, that will be on easy mode. On normal mode, the white paint will be disappearing in environment, so it will be blending way better. At hard mode, no white paint.

So we wanted to bring more of the puzzle-aspect to traversal. So you can imagine playing in-game, can I rappel down here, can I do this? This is crazy. Same thing with underwater. Finding your way.

You remember on Rise, Lara was telling you „Oh, I should be doing that during puzzles.“ If you play on normal, she was just saying „Oh wow, I need to solve this.“ Easy will be closer to what we did on Rise, she will tell you exactly what to do. If you do instincts mode, on easy the next thing you need to do to solve the puzzle will be blue, the rest will be golden like in your normal survival instinct. If you are playing normal the general thing in golden. But on hard, she will not say anything, and nothing will be highlighted. You will have to figure it out yourself. Yes, it is harder combat at normal, because now you have to craft a lot more of your ammo, and you will not find as plenty. So it’s very important for us that you can build the Tomb Raider experience that you want. If you don’t like combat, you can put it easy, if you want harder puzzles, you can put puzzles. So you can do that as much as you want so you can build your own experience.

Okay so the question, how much of the groundwork has been laid by Crystal Dynamics before it was Montreal took the lead?

I was game director on Tomb Raider 2013, I’ve been on the franchise for eight years now, I was at Crystal Dynamic at the time, and mid-production of Rise, moved back in Montreal because my wife loved the cold.

It was important for us that Crystal was still my team when we started Shadow. I had worked a lot with Noah Hughes, my partner for 2013. He took the lead on Rise, and I took the lead on Shadow.

So at the beginning of Shadow we were the lead because we wanted to bring something different also, even though it feels like a real Tomb Raider game.  But there’s something different about this one, like the social hub experience, because that’s important! We need to showcase and watch more a human Lara.

But also it was very important for us also to keep the moment where she’s alone and just absorb what she’s doing. That was also very important. So yes Crystal was very important.

Will there be any reference to previous games to the plot?

That’s a very good question. I would say that yes, for those who played it. There is some reference but it’s very important to say first is that this game could be played without playing the two previous ones. That is important for us that you could just jump in and say I wanna play that. That version of Lara, and not going actually going through the two previous games.

But one thing that was for the fans or people actually playing the two previous games, they will have moments in there where Lara will talk with Jonah about things happening in the previous games and for those who played them will feel more … they will have a smile and say oh my God, they mentioned that. Very important, yes, but it’s not core to the plot.

According to the description of the collector’s guide, we will have more options of customization – are we going to have the option to personalize in more with her outfit   and equipment?

So this is a very good question. Yes, the customization has exploded, because one of the things we wanted to do when we started thinking about this game at the beginning, three years and a half ago, was we wanted to provide an experience where you could have your own Lara. You want a Lara that’s more about how efficient she is in combat, you can do that.

You want a Lara that’s way better in tune in exploration, you can do that. You want a Lara that has more skills of understanding how to survive and how to go in nature, in the jungle and tame that jungle, you have that. So it was very important for us. So yes, you’ll have top and bottom outfit, and you will have different game play bonuses to them.

Lara’s more experienced in Shadow Tomb Raider. Was it difficult to relate this to the player?

So it was very important that we not only we make her evolve visually, but also the way she experience the danger. She’s gonna be complaining less about things happening around her because she’s more precise. So it was it difficult, I would say, to relate the actual character, I would say when we reached it, it was great but we had to really think about her from ground up and how she also express herself when she gets into a difficult situation, but also how she express herself when she’s just relaxing around a table. It was very important for us to make sure that you feel that.

What separates SOTTR and elevates it above its competition?

The feeling that you could go anywhere, you could do anything.

You could see a place, there’s no invisible wall preventing you from doing that, it’s a feeling of that freedom and how you feel accelerated about that. So it was the same for us, it was pushing the envelope even further. You’ll feel way more free, you can do a lot of things you would not imagine to do, so for us that was important. To put a focus on story was very very important because it was her personal journey. It was very important, showing a side, a good side and funny side of Lara in this game because it’s not gonna be just dark.

There’s dark moments but also light moments. But for us, when you’re looking as a whole package, it’s really the thing is about freedom.

What recognizable aspects have been brought into the character of Tomb Raider in order for us to see her grow into the character we know and love?

She cracks jokes now, that’s one of the thing, it was very important for us. The clothing, the tactical clothing she has, the blue tank top and it was purposefully made like that, we wanted to have this evolution.

Same thing with the pants. One of the things also, there’s a couple things I cannot talk about that happen later on, but one of the thing for us it’s really showing that visually, mentally, she’s getting there and that the world also feels more, I would say, reminiscent, because she can take these dangerous place so through a lot of the puzzles people will be able to say, “oh my God it feels so much like the classical Tomb Raider”.

Dyego asked „one major concern I noticed from the community is how similar the game feels compared to previous games. What has changed?“

Yeah, that’s a very good question. Just wanna say though that people react to that because the first thing we’ve shown was the beginning of the game and there was a lot of tutorial there (so of course, because we are at the end of the trilogy, we are sharing some of the same behaviors from Lara, from the previous two games). So when you have to teach a player how to walk and jump and climb, of course you’ll feel like there’s some similarities.

So what really changed? There’s a lot of new mechanics. You’ve seen some of them. One of the things that is important though, is the way you experience tomb raiding in this game is very different. Like I was saying, one of the things, like if you are going underwater, it’s a very different feeling from Rise. You were going underwater in Rise, but it was about surface swimming, it was about going one point to the other one.

So one of the things we wanted to do because we were listening to you guys, we said, hey, there’s a couple of moments in this game, like you’re going underwater and you see all these ruins and it feels like the Tomb Raider 1, when the first time you were going down underwater. So these are the elements that you’re like, “oh my God, this is very different.”

Another thing also is the hub itself. We said, hey the combat – how can we change the combat? How can we make the combat much more about if you don’t want to fight and you want to skip it, what would the multiple tools you can do? So that is giving it, providing it, very different experience than combat. Lara now, you know she can stay hidden all the time so the eye is reacting differently.

Also she can instill fear. So there’s a lot of different dynamic on that. Same thing with the aspect we call Smart Resourceful Lara, the crafting and resource. Where you have weapon one, part one, weapon one, two, three? We got rid of that and we put much more on getting the weapon itself and focusing more on the upgrades itself and feeling more empowered because of that.

Now we have the social aspect of it, like I was talking earlier. And the economy is completely different, you can now buy weapons, you can buy a lot of things in the shops and experience. Wait until you experience later. You’ll be like oh my God, this is very different.

So next question is by Giovanni. How about the AI? Will we have some improvements in there such as not just for Trinity soldiers, but also for the animals that you find in Shadow of the Tomb Raider?

So I’ll talk about the jaguar, for example. The jaguar, we completely rebuilt his behavior and his AI compared to the previous two games with things like the bear because we wanted to have an animal that was much more cunning. And we used the environment to disappear. Her first encounter with the jaguar is very frightening, but you’ll see in her face, she’s going, she’s gonna say to herself, I’m going to go against it. And then she learns, she learns how it disappears, how it uses cunning-ness to defeat their prey. And she will, the player and her will learn from that.

So there’s a very different thing, because when you’re playing with fear and becoming the jungle, you have to be able to play with Trinity and you have to be understanding to the patterns of where they take you when they go to one place to the other. And to do that we’ve we pushed the AI further.

Vinnie asks „Is SOTTR taking consideration of what’s been happening in the comic books and books and games, there’s a large, large degree of different series that’s been coming out such as like The Dark Horse Inferno Series, how does that relate to both Rise, as well as Shadow of the Tomb Raider?

We try to make sure we stay in cannon. So we were working closely with Noah because now Noah is the franchise director. Our writing team work very closely with them. There’s a couple of things that we are referencing in the game. But it’s not core so people don’t understand, because one of things that’s important is that we have to do a game where it will be experienced by as much people as possible.

How different would be the system of learning if Lara could learn about the culture, like are we collecting any part to fit to the clue? Or is it more about really learning the historical facts?

There’s the current present situation of the culture, and there’s their past and their mythology and things they believe in. If you wanna know a lot more, you can interact with a lot of these people. But you have overheard, you can interact with them and listen to what they have to say. Some of them we even give you some hints, some game play elements or a Challenge Tomb round, things like that because we try to make sure that even the Challenge Tomb is within the same mythology of the world where you are. So if you’re in Paititi for example, the Challenge Tomb there will be about that. It will be about the past of these people.

So it is very important for us that you learn as much as possible, because there’s very interesting learnings to have from them. We worked with an historian at the beginning for the world and linguistics for the language. People are gonna be speaking in English. But we have a mode in the menu where you can have full immersion and you can listen to them talking their native language.


During an E3 Twitch interview a fan asked if Shadow of the Tomb Raider will have a photo mode (to make extra fancy screenshots). The devs said they couldn’t answer the question but they would listen to the fans so … I am hopeful!

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Story und Schauplätze

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Story und Schauplätze

Shadow of the Tomb Raider erscheint am 14. September 2018 für PC, PlayStation 4 und XBox One. Bisher wurde ein Trailer aus gerenderten Sequenzen veröffentlicht (kein tatsächliches Gameplay) sowie einige Bilder und diverse Informationen zu der Story und den Schauplätzen, die uns im neuen Abenteuer mit Lara Croft erwarten.

Lara Croft wird endlich zum Tomb Raider — wirklich?

Shadow of the Tomb Raider ist der letzte Teil der Reboot Trilogie (Tomb Raider — Rise of the Tomb Raider — Shadow of the Tomb Raider) und es hieß seit Beginn, dass in dieser Trilogie Lara Crofts Entstehungsgeschichte, also ihre Persönlichkeitsentwicklung hin zur taffen Abenteurerin, erzählt werden soll. So war Lara im Reboot 2013 grade einmal 21 Jahre jung, hatte noch nie einen Menschen getötet und war auch deutlich emotionaler als die Lara Croft, die wir von früher kennen (bis einschließlich Tomb Raider Underworld). Die „originale“ Lara Croft von 1996 hingegen war laut fiktivem Geburtsdatum 28 Jahre alt, sehr wortkarg, einzelgängerisch und cool wie James Bond. Wird Lara Croft also am Ende von Shadow of the Tomb Raider so sein wie damals 1996? Nein, es war immer klar dass Lara Croft nie mehr genauso werden würde wie früher und dies wurde auf dem Panel des Tribeca Film Festivals bestätigt: Die klassische Lara Croft kehrt nicht zurück. Dennoch wird sie härter sein, über mehr Skills verfügen (z.B. kann sie wieder den Wall Run) und die Hauptsache: Die Fortsetzung der Tomb Raider Serie wurde offiziell bestätigt.

Es beginnt in Cozumel, Mexiko

Cozumel ist eine kleine Insel nahe Cancun auf der Yucatan Peninsula, die in der Realität von Kreuzfahrtschiffen heimgesucht wird, also durchaus touristisch ist. Sie ist ein karibisches Paradies mit weißen Stränden und als Tauchparadies bekannt. Kein Wunder also, dass Tauchen in Shadow of the Tomb Raider eine Rolle spielen wird. Während Lara im Reboot gar nicht tauchen konnte und in Rise of the Tomb Raider nur nah an der Oberfläche, kann sie sich nun unter Wasser frei bewegen.
Was tut Lara in Cozumel, nur wenige Monate nach den Geschehnissen in Rise of the Tomb Raider? Sie ist hinter der Trinity Geheimorganisation her, um Rache zu nehmen (wir erinnern uns: In Rise of the Tomb Raider sieht man wie Trinity Laras Vater auf dem Gewissen hat). Ein Anführer von Trinity, Dr. Dominguez, leitet hier eine Ausgrabung, um ein mächtiges Artefakt der Maya zu finden. Die Maya bildeten eine präkolumbische Hochkultur in Zentralamerika, die vor allem für ihre Menschenopfer und ihre erstaunlichen astronomischen Fähigkeiten bekannt ist. Im Dickicht des Dschungels sind noch heute zahlreiche Tempel unerforscht und der Grund für den Untergang der Hochkultur ist bis heute nicht abschließend geklärt.

Lara Croft nutzt die bunte Menschenmenge am Tag der Toten in Cozumel um sich Dr. Dominguez heimlich zu nähern und die Gespräche zu belauschen. Mit dabei ist Jonah, ihr langjähriger Freund, der erstmals im Reboot als Teil der Endurance Crew auftrat. Er wird Lara im Laufe des Spiels immer wieder mit Rat und Tat zur Seite stehen; dies hat sie auch dringend nötig, denn Dr. Dominguez entpuppt sich als äußerst manipulativ und nachdem Lara Croft durch das Entwenden des Artefaktes den Weltuntergang auslöst und dann auch noch in einem Tsunami das Leben eines Junges nicht retten kann, ist es mit ihrer Standfestigkeit nicht mehr allzu gut bestellt.

Hauptdestination Peru

Der Großteil des Spiels spielt im Dschungel von Peru. Hier wird Lara sich im Schatten bewegen, das ganze Spiel ist auf Stealth ausgelegt. Sie kann sich mit Schlamm tarnen und tötet aus dem Verborgenen. Sie bewegt sich wie ein Jäger — und wird selbst gejagt. Von Trinity und Raubtieren. Es wird mehr Gräber geben als in den vorherigen Spielen und insgesamt verlagern sich Laras Bewegungen in die Vertikale: Sie wird steile Hänge hinaufklettern und die Ruinen bergen verzweigte Unterwassertunnel. Lara wird physisch alles abverlangt, da passt es nur, dass sie diesmal auch deutlich definiertere Muskeln hat.

Von Mel Gibson inspiriert?

Es wird düster und überaus mystisch in Shadow of the Tomb Raider! Das Logo des Spiels greift es bereits auf: Eine Sonnenfinsternis spielt eine Rolle, immerhin konnten die Maya diese vorhersagen (siehe Dresdner Kodex) und billigten ihnen einige Bedeutung zu. Dann haben wir da den als Maya Priester verkleideten Mann im Trailer, der offenbar drauf und dran ist, ein Ritual auszuführen (Dr. Dominguez höchst persönlich?). Die Maya Kalender waren zudem Anlaß für einige Menschen, an ein Ende der Welt im Jahr 2012 zu glauben und Mel Gibson fühlte sich 2006 dazu berufen, den Maya-Kult als blutrünstigen, religiösen Epos auf die Leinwand zu bringen. Geradezu verblüffend, wie sich die Inszenierung im Shadow of the Tomb Raider Trailer und dem Filmplakat von Apocalypto ähneln:

Zufall? Oder hat man sich zumindest bei diesem Shot und dem Logo etwas inspirieren lassen?

Das Tribeca Film Festival Panel zu Shadow of the Tomb Raider zum Nachschauen

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Ankündigung

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Ankündigung

Update: Die Maya-Theorie ist offiziell bestätigt worden, da es auf der offiziellen Website nun ein „Maya-Puzzle“ gibt. Hier kannst du spielen:

Am 14. März erwartete uns eine Überraschung auf der offiziellen Tomb Raider Website (siehe Screenshot oben).

Eine Sonnenfinsternis? Der Mond wirft einen Schatten? Schatten … Shadow … ja da war doch was. Shadow of the Tomb Raider heißt das nächste Tomb Raider Spiel und welchen besseren Zeitpunkt könnte es geben, das Spiel zu verkünden, als am ersten Spieltag des neuen Tomb Raider Kinofilms?

Hier schon mal im Überblick, was bisher über Shadow of the Tomb Raider bekannt ist und im Anschluß dann der Teaser!

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Logo

Titel: Shadow of the Tomb Raider („Schatten der Grabräuberin“)
In Produktion seit: Februar 2015
Zusammenfassung der Handlung: „Shadow of the Tomb Raider ist die Klimax im Finale von Lara Crofts Ursprungsgeschichte.“
Erscheinungsdatum: 14. September 2018
Neue Infos am: 27. April 2018
Freigegeben ab: 18 Jahren
Entwickler: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
Plattformen: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Analyse des Teasers

Szene 1: Die Höhle?

Wo ist Lara nun wieder hineingeraten? Sieht ganz schön verlassen aus und jemand hat was fallen lassen, eine Lampe unter anderem. Außerdem sieht alles etwas verschwommen aus und wir hören lautes Atmen? Ist Lara mal wieder eins über die Rübe gezogen worden?

Szene 2: Verfolgungsjagd im Dschungel

Zu Beginn rennt Lara Croft durch einen Dschungel. Die Szene erinnert stark an den Beginn des ersten Tomb Raider Film Trailers. Offenbar hat hier der eine beim anderen abgeschaut bzw. man wollte eine Assoziation zwischen Film und Spiel schaffen.
Lara hat Pfeil und Bogen bei sich und wird von einem mit einem Maschinengewehr bewaffneten Mann verfolgt, der ein Netz über dem Kopf trägt. Sein Gesicht und seine Arme sind bemalt. An seinem linken Arm ist ein Aufnäher zu sehen, eine Art Wappen. Er sucht sie und bemerkt nicht, dass sie bereits neben ihm steht und die Axt erhebt.

Szene 3: Schwindelerregende Höhen

In der nächsten Szene klettern Lara wie in Tomb Raider Legend eine Steilwand hinauf. Die grüne Umgebung lässt darauf schließen, dass sie sich am selben Ort befindet. Zu einem früheren Zeitpunkt gab es bereits Leaks, dass das Spiel ganz oder teilweise in Mexiko spielen würde. Das könnte es sein, was wir hier sehen.

Szene 4: Die Maya Pyramide?

Am Ende des letzten Spiels Rise of the Tomb Raider war auf einer Karte der Bereich der Yucatan Halbinsel in Mexiko umkringelt. Seitdem glauben viele, dass dies einer der Schauplätze in Shadow of the Tomb Raider sein könnte und die Vermutung wurde gewissermaßen durch den Leak eines Storyboards (siehe unten) bestätigt. Und was findet man auf Yucatan? Natürlich Maya Pyramiden! Und was haben die Mayas so gemacht? Den Himmel analysiert! Sie waren brillante Astronomen und entwickelten den berühmten Maya-Kalender, wegen dem viele spezielle Menschen dachten, die Welt würde im Jahr 2012 aufhören zu existieren. Es existieren noch viele unausgegrabene Tempel verborgen im Dickicht des Dschungels, die wahrlich viel Raum für abenteuerliche Geschichten bieten. Die Maya spielten schon in Tomb Raider Underworld eine große Rolle, wo sich Lara Croft ebenfalls Mexiko aufhielt. Es könnte also auch sein, dass das alles eine falsche Fährte ist — denn Mexiko hatten wir schon mal, vielleicht wird es ja auch ein anderes mittelamerikanisches oder gar südamerikanisches Land mit Dschungel und indianischen Pyramiden?

Das Besondere hier: Die Pyramide befindet sich in einer Höhle. Wie in Tomb Raider 2013 sieht man überall Speere aus dem Boden ragen, eine Leiche baumelt an einem Mast und in der Ferne brennen Feuer. Im Vordergrund sieht man einen Schatten vorbeihuschen, vermutlich von einem menschlichen Gegner.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Pyramide

Ein Screenshot aus dem Teaser

Szene 5: Die Sonnenfinsternis

Lara steht auf einer Pyramide innerhalb einer ganzen Tempelanlage und unten steht eine Menschenmenge. Am Horizont schiebt sich gerade der Mond vor die Sonne, nur noch wenige Minuten und es wird finster sein.

Stroyboard Shadow of the Tomb Raider Leak

Storyboard Leak Shadow of the Tomb Raider