In light of the upcoming Tomb Raider movie, I wanted to go back and look the rebooted Tomb Raider game.
A few years prior to the release of the game, I remember how some images were leaked, further, some early screenshots were leaked, people were raving about it, discussing what would be cool, what would be bad, what direction was the studio going in and so on. I am usually really passive on giving speculations solely on leaked images, as it’s solely alpha material off the game or some concepts that aren’t really implemented anymore in the development process. However, thinking back on it now, it probably is a good thing to give an opinion, because the developers do care, and as much as someone is a fan, and there’s a risk of a biased opinion based on some good memory they had in a previous game, it helps the devs stay on track, or get reminded what the journey is all about.
Thus, this takes me to the time some horror concepts were leaked, of some monsters, or some horror creatures, and mostly the feedback was negative.
I believe some people said they were based on some Japanese mythological creatures, or urban legend creatures, that’s the gist of it, and nonetheless, I wondered why do people react so negatively?
First of all, have they forgotten that Tomb Raider has a decent number of horror moments in previous Tomb Raider titles? There’s Tomb Raider 2, the Tibetan levels, where it was complete darkness with caged up Yetis screaming at you, the end China levels, with the floating guards, Tomb Raider 3 the Antartica levels, Tomb Raider 4 with the undead in Alexandria, Tomb Raider 5 – the Ireland levels, where you had to run from a monster trapped in a maze, Tomb Raider 6 is a whole rollercoaster. And that’s just to name a few in case someone goes like ‘Oh yeah? Where?’. There are bits of horrors in the Legend and onwards games, however, Crystal Dynamics, somehow, strays from the horror idea, even though, there is the England level in Tomb Raider 7, Tomb Raider Anniversary, not specifically, however, you could count the Egyptian guardians, and in Tomb Raider Underworld, the Mexican tombs were quite spooky.
Nonetheless, the point of it all is the fact that Tomb Raider is about exploring, and one aspect of exploration is the sense of being alone, but not forgetting that you might not be alone. That there could be danger around any corner, if not a trap, then a baddie. It’s what adds the action-adventure to Tomb Raider. And that’s the good thing of the horror. It’s mostly based on the fear of the unknown. Throwing in something unnatural reminding you of its presence makes your adrenaline rise. It’s not about gore, or huge action scenes, plot twists. It’s about being alone with your thoughts, but staying connected to Lara as you explore but with the mindset of protecting her if something comes up at you.
Just as people shouldn’t forget where they come from, so should a franchise.