Tomb Raider has been one of the most respected names in the action genre for decades. It is a series with rare history and has a passionate fanbase to go with it. This year, Square Enix is celebrating Tomb Raider‘s 20th Anniversary and today, they have crowned it all with the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration on PS4.
An ultimate collection of Rise of the Tomb Raider content has arrived for PS4. It carries with it over 50 hours of content. New add-on content such as Blood Ties and Lara’s Nightmare have been delivered. The latter is a zombie mode where Lara is challenged with combating enemy after enemy.
Square Enix has also handed out PSVR support for the Blood Ties DLC. Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration also delivers thrilling co-op Endurance gameplay, the new difficulty “Extreme Survivor,” an outfit and weapon inspired by Tomb Raider III and five old-school Lara skins.
PS4 gamers will also receive add-on content which was released earlier this year. This content includes Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch, Cold Darkness Awakened, a dozen unique outfits, seven weapons, several Expedition Card packs and a lot more.
Not only that, but Rise of the Tomb Raider will be receiving updated content once PS4 Pro launches. We Write Things had the chance to catch up with Crystal Dynamics’ Chris Johnston to tell us more about it.
“Players that have the PS4 Pro version will have sliders to be able to control how they run the game. [They can run it at] 30 frames per second at 4K or they can choose to run the game at 60 frames per second. It’s really about giving the player options…If they don’t have a new 4KTV but just bought a PS4 Pro, they can run the game at a silky smooth, 60 frames per second.
“Whenever there’s a new piece of hardware that comes out, it pushes us to find new and creative ways to push the technology further. It’s exciting for us so as we move forward, it teaches us new techniques to really push games forward,” Johnston said.
With the exception of those who have seen PS4 Pro action firsthand, it’s hard to describe the type of differences players will experience. PS4 Pro is undoubtedly more powerful than PS4, however, it’s difficult for games to showcase what’s new given the nature of 4K and HDR.
Speaking of experiences you have to see firsthand in order to believe, Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s Blood Ties DLC is coming to PSVR. Johnston spoke about what’s new with Blood Ties on PSVR as well as the type of narrative experience they’ll have.
“When you’re in VR, it’s the most immersive experience. You’re in that world. For the very first time, players will be able to play through the eyes of Lara and we’re very excited about that. It’s something we’ve never been able to do before. That’s what is really exciting about VR: the next level of immersion.
“Blood Ties takes place after the events of Rise of the Tomb Raider. It was very much inspired by games like Gone Home. Those are more exploration and narrative driven. As you’re exploring the manor, you’ll come across different documents from Lara’s father. You’ll get these flashback moments and you learn more about Lara’s childhood, the character she is and what makes her tick,” Johnston said.
Everyone knows about the results of the deal Square Enix made with Microsoft to make Rise of the Tomb Raider a timed Xbox One exclusive. Regardless of how you felt about the situation, Rise of the Tomb Raider was still one of the best games on any platform in 2015. Johnston spoke about the Microsoft partnership from last year.
“[Microsoft] helped us realize our vision of Tomb Raider and the game we wanted to build. They are great partners to work with. We have a long history of working with Microsoft and we were able to deliver a great game that we’re really proud of,” Johnston said.
Lara Croft has evolved so much over the years, but it is hard to say she’s anymore relatable than she is today. In 2013’s Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics worked very hard to make her someone players could identify with and she has stayed that way up until now.
“The reboot in 2013 was a big step for us. We wanted to make a character that was more relatable and more grounded. We wanted to make a character that had a sense of survival about her. We wanted Lara to be more modern. In Tomb Raider, Lara was kind of having to adapt to the situations, but then she went on her first expedition in Rise of the Tomb Raider,” Johnston said.
The series has performed extremely well since its reboot debuted nearly four years ago. Tomb Raider’s health as a franchise seems to be as good as ever, and millions await where the series will go next. Johnston discussed the status of the brand and what it might cost if Square Enix ever decided to take Tomb Raider annual.
“[The brand] is in great shape. If you stay out of the spotlight for too long, players can forget about you. There are so many great games out there and I think fans are really excited about these things we are doing. We have some exciting new hardware coming out and so it’s a time to innovate and experiment with it.
“Yeah, as long as it has the experience we want to deliver. Rise of the Tomb Raider was about giving players a deep experience with storytelling. When you go into a yearly release, there are some sacrifices you have to make to accommodate that. In a perfect world and if we had unlimited resources, I’m sure we could do it. Again though, it takes a lot of time and care to make video games, especially one as immersive as ours,” Johnston said.
Gamers can pick up their copy of Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration now on PS4. The game itself is also available for Xbox One, PC and Xbox 360. Johnston finished up our interview with a story of his fondest memory from working on the franchise.
“When I first started at Crystal Dynamics, the first vertical slice we created for Tomb Raider in 2013 was the opening sequence of the game where she gets through the tunnel and breaks out. You then see this shipwreck, vista beach. It completely blew my mind,” Johnston said.
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