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To Save The Franchise, The New Tomb Raider Has To Be Groundbreaking

To Save The Franchise, The New Tomb Raider Has To Be Groundbreaking
Images via Edios

Written by 

Joseph Kime

Posted 

8th Apr 2022 17:35

It's been a hot minute since we've last seen Lara Croft in action.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was our last outing with the adventurer back in 2018, and players weren't exactly enamoured by the experience. The game was slated as boring by many, and critics offered an overwhelming meh to a game that was meant to cap off a special trilogy, the series petered out and has laid dormant ever since.

And now, Crystal Dynamics has announced that the story won't end with Shadow - in fact, a brand new Tomb Raider game is in development in the newly released Unreal Engine 5. This is big news for long-time fans of the franchise - but there's a lot of hype to live up to in an industry that has, for the most part, already seen it all. So the next Tomb Raider has to be the very best the franchise has seen yet if it wants to stand out.

Tomb Raider Has Potential - But It'll Take Serious Work To Realise It

To Save The Franchise, The New Tomb Raider Has To Be Groundbreaking

Back when Tomb Raider first launched in 2013, it was a revelation. Maybe a little understated at the time, the game served as proof of the potential that sits in the franchise - huge cinematic cavern explorations and heists of priceless antiques that made Lara Croft a total badass for overcoming her flaws and fighting back, rather than being a double-front-flipping gun-toting lunatic that fears nothing.

The game still holds up today, but it's very heavy compared to other video games that have since perfected the Indiana Jones-alike, with Uncharted 4, in particular, cited as the peak of the subgenre. That game came two years before Shadow, and in turn, the final game in the trilogy seemed to trail into a bit of a wet fart.

The first game, though, stands on its own as an impressive outing for Croft, with its sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider continuing its grand and dramatic story, but it's got some big competition. This is why the next title in the series needs to be big.

Lara Croft's Return Has To Be Bombastic

To Save The Franchise, The New Tomb Raider Has To Be Groundbreaking

As sad as it is, a return to the formula that the 2013 reboot gave us would feel simply dated on arrival - but there is a serious chance that whatever comes next for Lara could be huge.  The game's development in Unreal Engine 5 could lead to the biggest world for her to explore yet, and if Crystal Dynamics could put the time and work into making sure that the Ray Tracing is spot on, the game could be a marker in history for how video games can and should look.

Plus, as discussions of a unification of the series' timelines including the classic titles have been had, there's a chance for a huge, bizarre, multiverse-bending sequel to come too. It may take fans by surprise, and many might be apprehensive - but then again, many didn't think The Avengers could work.

Whatever it is that's planned next for Tomb Raider, and whatever shape it takes now, it's going to have to be big. Lara Croft is a big name, but in the mid-2020s when the game is likely to launch, it's hard to say if she can sell a AAA title like the rest of the gaming industry's leading protagonists. Tomb Raider's new game has to be massive to stand out.

Tomb Raider's Comeback Could Miss - And We Pray It Won't

To Save The Franchise, The New Tomb Raider Has To Be Groundbreaking

Sadly, 2013's Tomb Raider isn't as considered among the great reboots as often as it should be, and this next game on the way from Crystal Dynamics could yet be the same. Though we're apprehensive at the idea of yet another reboot, whatever this game is needs to be an absolute stonker. Now that Uncharted has practically perfected the cinematic action-adventure game, and Lara Croft did all that she could to sustain a full trilogy all on her own, this next outing will have to justify the wait, as well as the pressure put on it by the best of the genre.

Lara Croft deserves her successes, and if we're lucky, the upcoming game won't be her last. She's a true icon in every sense of the word, and if Crystal Dynamics can follow through with the many benefits of working in Unreal Engine 5, we could be in for a real treat. She's not Nathan Drake - but we'd never ask her to be.

 

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