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Crystal Dynamics

Rise of the Tomb Raider photo
Rise of the Tomb Raider

Lara Croft needs some psychiatric help in Rise of the Tomb Raider


'We become who we're meant to be'
Jun 09
// Darren Nakamura
Lara Croft had a rough time on her last archaeological expedition. It's no wonder that she would suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or experience some other negative psychological effects. During Microsoft's E3 pres...
Tomb Raider photo
Tomb Raider

The next-gen tech behind Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition


See what's new
Jan 21
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
We saw the comparison video, now developer Crystal Dynamics shows us exactly what went down to making Tomb Raider all next-gen-y. Lara looks more lifelike than ever, especially with her facial expressions as her face was re-...
Tom Raider photo
Tom Raider

The Tomb Raider reboot is finally profitable


Square Enix initially expected to sell 5-6 million units
Jan 17
// Alasdair Duncan
Last year's Tomb Raider reboot has finally reached the land of profitability, despite initially failing to meet the sales targets set by publisher Square Enix. In an interview with Eurogamer, executive producer Scott Amos rev...
Lara Croft photo
Lara Croft

Guardian of Light's free now for Xbox Live Gold members


You have two weeks
Jan 16
// Brett Makedonski
It's time for another predictable but helpful bi-weekly reminder that a new game is free for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. This time, it's 2010's Summer of Arcade title Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Of course, this offe...
Tomb Raider photo
Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition comparison video


With blow-by-blow commentary from my wife
Jan 14
// Jonathan Holmes
Our friends over at IGN just posted a video comparing Tomb Raider to Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, along with an interview with with developer Scot Amos. It's a nice interview, but it's a lot of preaching to the...
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Tomb Raider fan film captures the brutality perfectly


A 20-minute film well worth your time
Dec 25
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Lots of fan films are great, but this Tomb Raider is above and beyond the average homage you'd normally see. The team at CanCinema did an amazing job, and it captures the brutality that the new Tomb Raider brought to the series.
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Tomb Raider's creative director now with Halo dev team


Meanwhile, former 343 creative director gets promoted
Dec 09
// Harry Monogenis
Timothy Longo, creative director behind the Tomb Raider reboot, has made the switch from Crystal Dynamics to 343 Industries. As shown on his LinkedIn profile, Longo is now the new creative director at 343; the studi...
Tomb Raider announcement photo
Tomb Raider announcement

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition coming to PS4, Xbox One


'Fully re-built' for next gen consoles
Dec 07
// Steven Hansen
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is coming to PS4 and Xbox One on January 28, 2014. The Definitive Edition has been "custom built" for the next gen consoles and includes all of the original DLC, digital versions of the Dark Ho...
Tomb Raider photo
Tomb Raider

Next Tomb Raider is Lara's next chapter of development


The story continues
Nov 21
// Joshua Derocher
Brian Horton, the Senior Art Director at Crystal Dynamics, is really excited that the next Tomb Raider has been announced so he can talk about it. Horton explained the direction of the sequel's story, saying that "The Tomb Ra...
Tomb Raider photo
Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition listed for next gen


Yeah, I'd play it again
Nov 18
// Jordan Devore
On Amazon's Italian site, there is a PlayStation 4 listing for something called Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition that's said to be releasing on January 24 for €59.99. According to the description, this re-release includes...
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Tomb Raider comes to Mac later this year


Which means soon
Oct 09
// Dale North
While we're a bit light on details, we do know that Feral Interactive are bringing Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider to Mac later this year. They say to expect a mini-site soon for the game, which likely means that they're almost done with it.  I assume this trailer is Mac footage.
Square Enix photo
Square Enix

Persistent online experiences: The future of Square Enix?


Strategy 'wouldn't apply to every game'
Aug 23
// Jordan Devore
Industry change is the topic of a candid Gamasutra blog post by Darrell Gallagher, the former Crystal Dynamics studio head and current head of studios at Square Enix. "Overall as a games business -- studios and publishing -- ...
Tomb Raider sequel photo
Tomb Raider sequel

Square Enix confirms next-gen Tomb Raider is in the works


Because of course there is!
Aug 01
// Kyle MacGregor
A next-gen sequel to Tomb Raider is "well into development," Square Enix CEO for the Americas and Europe Phil Rogers confirmed today. The announcement follows word that writer Gail Simone is working with Dark Horse Comic...
Tomb Raider photo
Tomb Raider

Upcoming Tomb Raider comic to 'lead directly' into sequel


The story continues next year
Jul 23
// Jordan Devore
Having only recently finished up my first and only Lara Croft adventure outside of Guardian of Light, it was heartbreaking to remember that at 3.4 million copies sold as of March, Tomb Raider didn't live up to publisher Squar...
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Crystal Dynamics new announcement likely coming soon


A new IP?
May 02
// Dale North
I don't go looking around at others' resumes, but Superannuation does, and they found that Crystal Dynamics' level artist Matt McCulloch is currently working on "wildly cool environments for a soon to be announced t...
Tomb Raider PC patch photo
Tomb Raider PC patch

Tomb Raider PC patch brings fixes, GPU performance


NVIDIA crash issues are still being investigated
Apr 19
// Chris Carter
The PC version of Tomb Raider has been patched recently, resolving an issue with a basecamp UI glitch, and bringing in some appreciated GPU performance improvements. Eidos states that if you just want to test this patch, ther...
Lara in a jacket! photo
Lara in a jacket!

Three Tomb Raider DLC costumes have leaked


You too can buy exciting oufits such as 'Jacket Lara'
Apr 16
// Chris Carter
When Crystal Dynamics said they weren't going to support the new Tomb Raider with "expansions," gamers let out a sigh of relief -- for once, feeling like they bought a complete game at launch. But that doesn't mean some form ...
Tomb Raider photo
Tomb Raider

Japanese language pack for Tomb Raider costs another $30


Applies to the Steam edition only
Apr 12
// Brett Makedonski
It's no secret that the gaming industry can be prone to some pretty deplorable business practices. Square Enix announced one today that's just another drop in an ever-growing ocean. Beginning on April 25, Tomb Raider on ...
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No plans for single-player Tomb Raider DLC


Crystal Dynamics is all about the multiplayer
Mar 20
// Jim Sterling
Those hoping for additional secret tomb challenges or other single-player content in Tomb Raider are due a disappointment. According to global brand director Karl Stewart, Crystal Dynamics will only be expanding multipla...
Tomb Raider on PC photo
Tomb Raider on PC

PC Port Report: Tomb Raider


Better graphics and nicer hair
Mar 12
// Joshua Derocher
[Want to know how a developer handled the PC version of a multiplatform game? Check out the PC Port Report for the full scoop.] Over the weekend, I had a chance to play the magnificent Tomb Raider. It's every bit as good as J...

Lara Croft is more than a survivor

Mar 11 // Taylor Stein
Survivor is too passive of a word to describe Lara's feats This Tomb Raider reboot serves a unique purpose: not to further the image of a gaming icon, but to explore the origins of how she became a legend. A theme is carried throughout the narrative as a transition from innocence to maturity. Naivety fades in the midst of hardship, and she is forced to bear a burden of life or death proportions. It was Lara's idea to enter the Dragon's Triangle in pursuit of archeological discovery, an area infamous for sinking ships, and it is her responsibility to save her crewmates from certain disaster.  The game hits the nail on the head in this regard, showcasing a completely different Lara before and after the experience; one driven by blind ambition and the other hardened by the weight of survival. Despite successfully presenting a thematic rite of passage, I would argue that the Lara Croft who emerges from the catastrophe is beyond a survivor. She is a warrior, a leader, and a hero. Lara actively pursues her foes from forest to mountain to hidden temple and successfully discovers the secrets of the lost kingdom of Yamatai. Even when seemingly perfect plans of escape crumble under misfortune, she remains determined and adapts to the circumstances whether it requires her to climb atop a frozen radio tower or traverse the depths of a derelict ship. For those who have yet to experience the game for yourself, let me grant you a brief preview. Lara Croft goes through absolute hell. Pushed to the brink of mental and physical exhaustion, the once inexperienced explorer is tested under the most extreme conditions. Impaled, strangled, stabbed, burnt, shot, pistol-whipped, and sliced are just a few of the inflictions that Lara endures. The physical wounds will heal as scars of remembrance, but the psychological toll is undoubtedly a harder pill to swallow. Lara is forced to make sacrifices for the greater good, to select choices when no appealing option is present. She is the picture of fortitude but her resilience is not the only aspect that makes her noteworthy. She doesn't just survive the ordeal; she charges it head-on and shoots it in the face. Channeling the anguish from the journey, Lara evolves into a true fighter. Any who cross her path are incapacitated without a second thought. Despite what seems like a constant flow of hindrances, challenges, and confrontations, she tackles each trial and thwarts almost certain death time and time again. Lara Croft has always exemplified the badass category, but now she owns it. Ferocity becomes second nature in a landscape riddled with danger in the form of wild animals, samurai warriors, and unpredictable terrain.  As heroes often represent the perfect models of humanity, the best and the brightest of us all, Lara Croft adheres to the standard perfectly. She is amazingly resourceful, fashioning life-saving devices out of discarded remains, determined, physically and mentally strong, adaptable, and intelligent; not to mention notably attractive. While her initial goal may begin as a primal urge to live, it evolves into a much more complicated objective; one driven by altruism and duty. Escaping isn't enough, the madness surrounding the resurrection of the omnipotent Sun Queen must be ended. Being a survivor is just the tip of the iceberg for Lara. While the term in question is technically applicable to the protagonist, it only scrapes the surface of her newfound strength. The transformation from ambitious explorer into the self-reliant, powerful Lara Croft is a revolution on every level. Rescue from this particular adventure is only the beginning of her story. Returning home to live as a regular woman, is not the life that Lara Croft will pursue and fittingly so. After facing such adversity, normalcy is a luxury that she can no longer find solace in and as we know from the franchise, she'll continue to co-mingle with danger for years to come.  Lara Croft is a survivor, but she is also a savior, a warrior, a leader, and a hero. Tomb Raider serves as an origin story but she has never been a damsel in distress. Staying alive was not the gift of coincidence or happenstance. Lady luck was undoubtedly on her side, but Lara continued to proactively fight throughout the entire ordeal. Perhaps this is a connotative dilemma spurred by personal meanings associated with the word, my definition of survivor may be different to yours for example, but I wholeheartedly believe that the, "A survivor is born" slogan does not do the game or Lara Croft as a character justice. Image sources [1][2]
More like epic hero photo
More like epic hero
For the past 48 hours, I have been completely enthralled in the world of Tomb Raider. Explosions, gun-fights, stealthy takedowns, weapon upgrading, and shooting defenseless bunnies has characterized my adventure, one that has...

Lara Croft photo
Lara Croft

Lara Croft time-lapse painting makes you feel empowered


Seven minutes in artsy Tomb Raider heaven
Mar 07
// Tony Ponce
Our speed-painter pal Josh Summana is back with another lovely, lovely sippy cup of art juice. This time, he has set his sights on Lara Croft from the new Tomb Raider. It's definitely a lot more tasteful than the sick filth ...
Tomb Raider photo
Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider's multiplayer DLC hits Xbox 360 first


Timed exclusive on multiplayer maps
Mar 06
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Tomb Raider's first downloadable content, the Caves and Cliffs Multiplayer Map Pack, will be coming first to Xbox 360 owners of the game. The pack will include three new maps (Scavenger Caverns, Cliff Shantytown, The Burning ...
Guardian of Light photo
Guardian of Light

No plans for more Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light


You're breaking my heart, Crystal Dynamics
Mar 06
// Jordan Devore
Crystal Dynamics creative director Noah Hughes was asked by OXM if there are any plans to continue the rather terrific Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Here's what he had to say: "Guardian was a great opportunity to expl...
Tomb Raider  photo
Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider on PSN comes with Quantum Conundrum


Plus a bunch of other extras all for $59.99
Mar 06
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
You're in luck if you've held out on buying Tomb Raider on the PlayStation 3, as there's a killer deal available for the new action-adventure title. For $59.99, you can buy the "Digital Edition" of Tomb Raider on the PlaySta...
Tomb Raider photo
Tomb Raider

Watch Lara Croft die over and over again in Tomb Raider


These death scenes are more brutal than Dead Space!
Mar 05
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The new Tomb Raider is out in stores today and marks the beginning of a fresh new take on the series. One of the things Crystal Dynamics wasn't afraid to do was let Lara get brutally killed time and time again. Like, serious...
Tomb Raider photo
Tomb Raider

Lara's big day: Tomb Raider launch trailer


Worth the wait?
Mar 05
// Jordan Devore
As you likely noticed, Tomb Raider released throughout much of the world today. This reboot has been talked about at length, both in terms of Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics' marketing push and its fair share of controversi...
Tomb Raider movie photo
Tomb Raider movie

Next Tomb Raider film will be based on latest reboot


Lady Croft returns to the big screen
Mar 05
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
We've known for a little while now that Tomb Raider would be making it back to the big screen, and now we know it will be based on the new reboot of the game series thanks to a Variety interview. This won't be a repeat of the...

Review: Tomb Raider

Mar 05 // Jim Sterling
Tomb Raider (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Crystal DynamicsPublisher: Square EnixReleased: March 5, 2013MSRP: $59.99 In the first two hours alone, Lara Croft is battered, smashed, punched, impaled, practically molested, nearly drowned, scraped, scratched, and thrown. Her introduction to the world of treasure seeking is not so much an adventure as it is an exercise in getting every last shade of crap beaten mercilessly out of her. Every time she manages to patch herself up and get cleaned off, you can be sure she'll be covered in mud, blood, and searing wounds within moments -- and she'll scream in anguish at every brutal step.  At times, the emphasis on Lara's pain borders on the obsessive, dishing out punishment to a relentless degree. It gets to the point where you more or less expect to see something horribly painful before it happens, predicting accurately where the next fall or scrape is coming from. In the early chapters, this carnival of trauma is almost comical in its overabundance, but once it gets over its initial hump, Tomb Raider settles into a solid story about overcoming terrible odds and finding one's place in the world -- a fitting allegory for the series as a whole.  [embed]246503:47159:0[/embed] A few hours in, Tomb Raider ceases trying so desperately to make us feel sorry for Lara and instead makes us retaliatory -- encouraging players to take revenge as a protagonist rather than protect a mawkish victim. The opening maelstrom of injury is merely a setup, a way to make us hate the antagonists -- a mad cult on an island that seems to take its inhabitants hostage with ravaging storms -- and even does a good job of addressing what it would take for a videogame protagonist to actually kill the amount of bad guys slaughtered casually in any given action title.  While the overall plot is a bit light and eventually gets corny in its mysticism, the personal story of Lara grows into something worth experiencing, a far cry from the exploitative punishment it first appears to be going for.  Evolving from past installments in the series, and taking no shortage of cues from Uncharted, Tomb Raider gives us a heavier, more methodical game, liberally peppered with impressive setpieces and moments of calm eeriness that almost borders on survival horror. When not in combat, Lara will be climbing rock faces, jumping over chasms, shimmying up ropes and solving puzzles, all using a fairly simple interface that tosses in the occasional one-button QTE to keep you on your toes. Although not quite open-world, each environment is significantly large and littered with a ridiculous amount of hidden items and collectibles. As Lara gains new equipment, she can fast travel to previous areas and access previously unreachable territory, firing rope arrows to cross large gaps or using a pickaxe to pry open doors.  A tap of a shoulder button activates Lara's "Survival Instincts," highlighting objects that can be interacted with, or precious animals and scrap metal. Animals can be hunted for experience points, while optional hidden tombs can be discovered and raided. As Lara earns experience and picks up scrap, she can hone her skills to unlock new abilities, and craft attachments for her weapons to give them stat boosts and alternate fire modes. Tomb Raider's adventure can be extended immensely by the sheer wealth of extra distractions on offer, and players are free to return to the island after the campaign's been defeated, to go for 100% completion. Battle is as big a part of Tomb Raider as navigation, and that's a surprisingly good thing, because Crystal Dynamics has been able to create a most elegant combat system. When enemies are near, Lara transitions into a crouching stance, and will automatically take cover near convenient walls and boxes. While most game characters take cover with obtrusive -- and often unwanted -- snaps, Croft manages to flow naturally and simply from cover to combat to regular movement, in a way that never seems obnoxious or unnecessary. The game's contextual animation is superb, and seems know exactly the correct thing to do in any given situation.  When taking cover, enemies won't be able to spot Lara, allowing her to sneak up behind them for silent executions or take them out with her new combat bow. Stealth can be a valid option in most situations, but is never an absolute necessity, and many times the combat is unavoidable. Fortunately, Lara can more than hold her own against the crazed island inhabitants, and killing them is so much fun, it more or less undermines the whole narrative about the impact of taking human life. An unfortunate loss, but one that is made up for in spades.  Although founded in traditional third-person cover shooting, Tomb Raider's combat feels more dynamic in its approach than the usual ranged head popping we see in similar systems. Enemies regularly launch fire or explosive attacks on Lara's position, forcing the player to constantly scramble from cover to cover. Melee attackers sometimes charge forth, requiring a quick transition into dodging and countering their wild swings. Lara, meanwhile, fights back with a bow, handgun, rifle and shotgun, with plenty of convenient exploding barrels, fire arrows, and her trusty axe on hand to sow destruction among enemy ranks. The result is a combat system that's chaotic, but tightly orchestrated, designed to stop players ever feeling too comfortable while encouraging the constant movement and quick reflexes not typically required of the average cover shooter. Tomb Raider isn't afraid of a setpiece moment, and goes to town in some of its big chasing and falling sequences. Whether sliding down a rocky river, escaping a cave filled with explosive gas, or running through the collapsing architecture of a burning building, Lara faces some truly climactic challenges, with environments that constantly chase the player or throw up barriers that must be quickly climbed over, jumped across, or destroyed, to avoid catastrophe. At times, the game does rely a bit too heavily on ambush, making the action so fast that trial-and-error is often required to memorize where all the pitfalls are. For the most part, however, these high octane sequences are stylishly pulled off, and I found myself breathing a very real sigh of relief after getting through some of the most explosive ones.  Despite the quality of its bombastic moments, Tomb Raider is at its best when it's slowing things down to a crawl. At various points, Lara finds herself in some genuinely frightening situations, with an atmosphere foreboding enough to belong in a Silent Hill game. A particular highlight is a subterranean prison full of starving, rambling lunatics. There's very little actual danger to worry about, but the whispers in the dark and the scenes of blood soaked degradation are nonetheless effectively disturbing. Similarly, those moments before a big fight, stalking cultists, listening to their conversations, and preparing to strike, make for some great tensity.  One of Tomb Raider's few major setbacks is its camera. While it's competent at following Lara and never gets in the way, Crystal Dynamics deliberately designed it so it shakes every time Lara moves. Perhaps crafted to make the player feel uneasy and evoke Lara's uncertainty, the result is more akin to disorientation and annoyance. It is something one gets used to, and by the end of the adventure I barely noticed it at all, but my first half of the game was spent trying to force my eyes to cope with the motion, as there's no way to switch it off. This kind of "handicam" approach works in small doses, like Gears of Wars' famous "roadie run," but here it comes across as needless and overbearing.  I also would have liked for Lara to be able to sprint and move faster. There's sprinting in the multiplayer, but for some reason it's absent in the solo campaign. This is a more personal gripe, however, it's not as if Lara moves excruciatingly slow -- I just wish she could move quicker to make the optional backtracking more appealing. One other minor, Xbox 360 specific issue, is the game suffering from temporary stuttering after unlocking an Achievement. Once one is unlocked, the game freezes for about a second up to three times in quick succession. An irregular annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless.  You'll notice I just mentioned multiplayer. I never thought I'd say this, but Tomb Raider boasts an online multiplayer option heavily influenced by Gears of War. Even less expectedly -- it's actually quite decent. Two teams of four face off in a variety of gameplay modes, one side made of Lara and her friends, the other made of cultists (yes, very much like the COGs and the Locust). With a range of personalized loadouts, rank ups for skill unlocks, and even a charging one-hit kill melee attack, you'd be mistaken for thinking Epic Games had a hand in Lara's new adventure. Multiplayer is nowhere near as polished and meaty as Epic's efforts, but it's certainly a fun distraction worthy of at least a few hours' play.  As well as regular deathmatch, there are a few modes that give the survivors and the cultists different objectives. Cry for Help has survivors attempt to activate distress beacons by capturing and holding them, while the cultists have to shoot them down and collect the batteries they drop. Each side has a base spawn point, but can spawn on allies if they're at full health.  Interestingly, the control scheme is expanded in multiplayer. Players get to sprint and possess a melee charge, they can throw grenades and manually toggle crouching. The different control options require mental realignment on the part of the player when transitioning between campaign and multiplayer, and I remain a little puzzled as to why the input is changed. Nevertheless, it's a decent little online mode. There are plenty of playable characters to unlock and upgrades to buy, while the combat system feels a little rougher and more anarchic when joining others, but is still capable of producing a few laughs.  Visually, Tomb Raider's a pretty looking game, if not exceptionally wondrous. While not exactly a Dead Space or Crysis, it does boast some great little animation touches. Lara herself looks terrific when moving, especially her wary glances as she wades through flooded areas, and I love the way she automatically brushes her hand against a wall if she walks near it. Voice acting is decent, if a little hammy at times, while a remarkable complementary soundtrack adds suitable gravitas to all the game's best moments. With clear menus, an easy to read map system, and a helpful Survival Instinct as a guide, this is a very well presented bit of entertainment.  Tomb Raider could so easily have gone wrong, and its opening gambit looks like it's heading down a most erroneous path. It starts off with some ambushing QTEs and absolutely pummels Lara Croft into the dirt to such a degree, you'd almost suspect the developers were getting off on it. This first impression is an awkward obfuscation, however, one that soon erodes to reveal a savvy, thoughtful, and above all, immensely enjoyable game. In fact, I'm happy to go on record as saying this is the best Tomb Raider game I've played. Tightly produced, competent in both its puzzling and its combat, this is one reboot that manages to be unequivocally superior to its predecessors.  Lara Croft has at last scaled the mountain of relevance once again, and the view's pretty good from up there.
Tomb Raider reviewed! photo
Cream of the Croft
Tomb Raider has struggled to find its place in the world over the past few years. Games like Prince of Persia and Uncharted surpassed its sense of exploration and adventure, while the sex appeal that contributed to Lara's ear...

AMD hair tech photo
AMD hair tech

AMD shows off the new tech behind Lara Croft's hair


So many polygons!
Feb 26
// Joshua Derocher
AMD showed off a new rendering technology dubbed TRESSFX that focuses on trying to make hair look better in games. It's an interesting problem that a lot of people probably don't think about, but AMD is trying to pu...






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