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larafan25
5th Oct 2013, 22:34
One of my main issues with Tomb Raider 2013 was how cinematic it was, and obviously this was by choice and if that is Crystal's final desire for Tomb Raider, then this won't sway anyone. That being said it's still worth thinking about.

When I joined the Tomb Raider community in 2007, a lot of Tomb Raider was missing, though I didn't know that at the time. I enjoyed the games so much, in fact I knew I loved Tomb Raider simply by looking at the promotional render for Tomb Raider: Legend, an image of Lara hanging from the side of a gorgeous cliff. This was before I had even played the game. However, through all my enjoyment of Tomb Raider: Legend, I was not prepared for the leap that would be the classic Tomb Raider games. They were difficult to get into right from the start and that was something I oppressed for quite a while as I spent my time instead, arguing and sticking up for the new releases on the forums. How could the games I love be so wrong? I thought "but Tomb Raider Legend is phenomenal, I've never played anything like it", yet everyone around me thought otherwise.

I find now, as I have changed from defensive to critical player of this new game, I am met with defensive fans who don't seem to understand where the criticism comes from. How could this gorgeous game do any wrong? It is gorgeous and all it's praise is deserved. My initial reaction to the lack of understanding was confusion and distaste, who were these people with such strange taste in Tomb Raider? Mind you this dynamic was not new to me, it was simply flipped. Eventually I began to feel guilt, "these people can't be wrong, they just have different taste". I stand by this still. Though still, I can't help but believe that some players just don't understand the missing factors. This is a mindset that causes me much guilt, but what frees me from that guilt and provides a small amount of faith is the memory that I was once a player of Tomb Raider who didn't understand the magic that was in Tomb Raider, and so I can relate.

Though in my truest opinion, Tomb Raider has never been the source or whole form of this magic, it only held a nugget of this magic and how this nugget ended up in a game that was once intended to imitate cinema is beyond me. It's fascinating and exciting.

Anyways, you still don't know what I'm taking about so I'll explain it all.

I'll begin by saying that I don't know what type of game sells. Will people get bored of a game about jumping around and finding things? Does the contents of the game even matter or just the marketing? Do trends define what will or will not be produced? All of that is probably true to an extent.

What's missing in Tomb Raider is the player, hence why the title of the thread says "Tomb Raider should be first person". Tomb Raider 2013 is all about Lara, it's proven Tomb Raider has failed time and time again for some reason, and so with the second Ragnarök of the franchise, the focus on Lara becomes much more persistent and overbearing. How we came to the conclusion that Lara was both the problem and solution? Lots and lots of research. Research I wouldn't necessarily disagree with, Lara is both the problem and solution. Why? Because Lara is the player.

Crystal's intentions for Tomb Raider seem to be to convince the player of Lara's journey, convince the player of the emotions and feelings Lara is experiencing. This is a good intention but it feels as though they're using the side-door when the front door is wide-open. They use a medium which is explicitly interactive, but they us it in a film-esque way. This results in some portions of the experience lacking interactivity and impact.

I find this odd, why convince the player of what Lara is going through when they can be put through it themselves? This theory I'm starting up applies both to the story-driven aspects of Tomb Raider, it's lore and subject matter as well as the gameplay aspect of Tomb Raider. Right now I'm going to detour and quickly discuss the theory applied to gameplay.

This is much more of a hypothesis, but based on enough opinions and my own experience. When Crystal Dynamics rebooted Tomb Raider, there was already a legacy and most importantly there was an image. Just like I said earlier about using the side door instead of the front door, I can't help but feel as though the same method was applied to the first Tomb Raider reboot of 2006. Why, on a design-scale, does Tomb Raider: Legend look so much like a classic Tomb Raider yet somehow not manage to please certain hardcore classical fans? Screenshots of Tomb Raider Legend depict Lara climbing around, pushing boxes, shooting some animals, she's back in the tombs after all! However it's all visual, sure it's all important, but nothing without the core, the magic of the experience. Now Tomb Raider: Legend (right after AOD and a slow progression from the classics) was at that point one of the most story-driven Tomb Raider games. It dabbles in similar territory that Tomb Raider 2013 claims and owns. Quick Time Events, much more in-game dialogue and cutscene-heavy. Hence my hypothesis is that the LAU (Legend, Anniversary and Underworld) series is a series of games trying to convince us of the feelings we once had. It's Pseudo-Tomb Raider, and that sounds harsh but don't worry. As much as we're doing the same things in the same environment (to an extent), we're not performing in the same capacity that we were in the classic games. It's an idea that can be hard to wrap your head around too, look at Tomb Raider: 1 and Tomb Raider: Anniversary, what could be so different? And after all of this talking I still haven't even mentioned what the difference is.

Now I'll apply the theory to the story-driven aspects of the game, the lore and subject matter which has become the focal point of Tomb Raider 2013:

There are two (or possibly more) methods here, in fact we might as well just say there are two (and only two) mediums. Film and Video Game. Films are merely watched, Video Games are interacted with. That being said Films are emotionally and incredibly-so evocative, you can say they're emotionally interactive. As well, without visuals do Video Games exist? Yet in recent years the amount of Film in Video Games has increased, and so the two mediums begin to merge. Is it bad? No. Is it wrong? No. Is it an incorrect form? No. There is room for Heavy Rain and Beyond, there is room for Uncharted, there are people who enjoy these hybrids (Uncharted to a lesser extent of a hybrid). That being said I think that Film and Video Games have different advantages, and as much as I care for Film I care much more about Video Games, it's why I'm here.

If you're seeking the lost magic of Tomb Raider and trying to achieve it through the narrative, lore or subject matter, then you're not going to find it. That being said, surely you can create a Tomb Raider game who's soul focus is narrative-driven action, though you'll have much more of a hike trying to make it shine and the audience has much more to nitpick when the main course relies wholly on detail-oriented art (not just about graphics).

Below, I have an image that I'm using as an example to outline this "Film versus Video Game" philosophy.

Here is one state of the game, we're calling it "Film":

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg295/randomperson_2008/Film_zps9d080cb9.png (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/randomperson_2008/media/Film_zps9d080cb9.png.html)
In this state, the developers can achieve so much microscopic emotion, there are small details in the faces and movement, the positioning of the camera which can successfully convey emotion the way film does. It creates impact. You can say the scope is smaller, as it's precise and captures exactly what it desires. Though this is usually at the expense of some if not all player interaction. It's Third Person, the player and Lara are separate.

The second state of the game is what we're going to call the "Game":

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg295/randomperson_2008/reality_zps7aa01545.png (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/randomperson_2008/media/reality_zps7aa01545.png.html)
In this state you've left the player as they usually are, in the traditional third person view-point with all of their abilities and tools at their disposal. However in this state the developers cannot show us the facial details as well, they don't have precise control over microscopic emotion, does that mean it lacks emotion? Never in a million years. It is equal if not more worthy for the fact that the player is now Lara and exists in both her and their own reality (as a player). This concept here is rather ironic, as Vlad lay dead on the ground he is now more alive than he has ever been. Let me explain, Vlad is a creepy-ass booger who has no fault as a character, actor, voice, animation. He works wonderfully in the film segments. However the Film segments are not the player's reality, and thus I believe that Vlad is less real to the player when he is merely a cutscene actor. Yet, his only chance at becoming an NPC-like character is when he's lying on the ground, dead. Now I know that it may be more difficult (it can't be impossible) to convey Vlad's character in-game, and perhaps that is where the advantages and disadvantages come into play with each of these mediums/ states.

So is this the magic that was lost? Reality? Legend has enough player reality, so does Anniversary and Underworld. It's not just important that the game happens in-game (make sense of that?), it's also important that the in-game reality feels consistently real and that the way the player interacts with the reality creates emotional reactions. Essentially, the systems in the game need to not reflect, but cause emotion. Don't make a system that is symbolic of an emotion or experience, but instead simulate that experience using the systems. Yes, this is where the simulation aspect comes in.

*Side Note: A couple paragraphs ago I was terrified without knowing where this was going, yet it had led itself directly to where it must be, which I am so thankful for.

Remember my comment about Tomb Raider: Legend not pleasing hardcore, classical fans? This is where more of the answer lies. Again, they look identical, what is so different about jumping versus jumping? Shimmying versus shimmying? One system was decorated with the most beautiful animations I had ever seen, there was character and nuance in the way Lara would leap from one ledge to the next. Though something felt off. The other system featured just as nice animations, they were fine, though something was different. That thing that was different, it was simulation. One system simulated jumping much better than the other. Was it a spot-on simulation of jumping as conducted in real life? Maybe not, is that something we desire to have in Video Games? Probably not. Though that system didn't just simulate jumping, it simulated the emotions that came with jumping. The systems simulated danger and fear, maybe even more emotions.

See, it's the way the player's reality is simulated which makes it convincing or emotionally interactive. And as I talk about simulating emotions, we can take a detour back to the cinematic landscape for a brief moment:

The Radio Tower Climb
http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg295/randomperson_2008/itsthaaaaclimbbyeeahyeaaayeeaahheaaaaa_zpsb20f59c5.png (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/randomperson_2008/media/itsthaaaaclimbbyeeahyeaaayeeaahheaaaaa_zpsb20f59c5.png.html)

Aint nobody gonna forget this. This is Film simulating emotions, and it does it very well. That being said, this horrifying climb is interspersed with moments of non-interactivity, and thus the player is removed from the reality of climbing the Radio Tower. What I have just described is something I'd like to refer to as the composition of a scene, how it's framed. Is it cinematic or is it the traditional player's viewpoint? The difference is important. Now in this instance we can relate back to the last paragraph about simulation. If this scene was not framed in a cinematic fashion, how effective is the alternative? Well, the alternative is the Player's Reality = the Simulation, and thus the quality of the scene is determined by the quality of the simulation. Just like the jumping systems we talked about, there are simulation systems in place here. The simulation is climbing a latter, and the system at play here is Lara's "grab" mechanic.

Without the moments of non-interaction, without the scene being framed in a cinematic fashion, all the player is doing in their reality is pushing up on the analog stick. It's odd that in real life we have to hold on to stay on, and letting go means death. Just like when driving a car you must hold your foot on the brake otherwise you roll forward or backwards. It's to secure yourself. Yet in this Radio Tower simulation, the player actually has to press a button to let go, that is if that function is activated in this specific scenario (which it must always be, the player's reality should be consistent). I find this so odd and counter-intuitive, press the button to die. It's an easy choice to make, isn't it?

This may seem out of sync, but as that was a detour, we're going to jump back to talking about Simulation. Simulation is very basic, it's kind of absurd in a sense and I have an example to prove it:

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg295/randomperson_2008/where_da_hell_wat_where_tha_where_am_i_ELENA_HALP_zps9220082c.png (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/randomperson_2008/media/where_da_hell_wat_where_tha_where_am_i_ELENA_HALP_zps9220082c.png.html)
In Uncharted 3, Naughty Dog try to convince the player that Nathan Drake is lost in one of the world's largest deserts, thirsty (as usual) and fatigued. You can tell by looking at the above image that Naughty Dog have chosen the Film state during this scene, a cinematic composition, and you can tell their doing it well. That is fine of course, this is what Naughty Dog do with Uncharted, this is what Uncharted is and mostly what it has always been. Though I'd like to use this scene as another example for Simulation. This scene as I've said is simulated in a cinematic way, it relies on imagery and sound, tactile senses to convey the scene's intentions. The alternative would be to simulate this in the player's reality. If Naughty Dog are trying to tell me that I am lost in a giant desert, perhaps I should actually be in a giant desert and perhaps I should also be with lack of direction. Of course, it's absurd to think they would create a giant desert, force the player to wander it for hours and possibly implement some form of heat-stroke mechanic. Perhaps suitable for one game, but not something you'd expect for Uncharted.

Because that last paragraph is just an example that leaves you wondering "so... your point?" I'll now explain how I think it relates to Tomb Raider (and of course other games if they want).

I think Tomb Raider is a game about environmental simulation and movement simulation. And trust me, I am a person full of doubts. If I pick up my Tomb Raider: 2 case and read the back of it, it doesn't say any of this crap about simulation. It's an action adventure game with Hollywood plots just like Uncharted and I know that it seems like I'm reaching because of this. Perhaps the first few Tomb Raider's only had some of this magic, but I think there is time to make up for in which an evolution on steroids is needed, and that by now the simulation of being a Tomb Raider should be something much more expansive. I know Tomb Raider can change, and I know that it's been a long time since Tomb Raider: 1 has been released, but if anyone cares about returning to the magic that Tomb Raider had, I think this is it.

I know coming off this reboot, the developers and player alike probably have a notion that there is no way you could possibly express Lara's traumatic situation without Film, but I've got to disagree. If you can simulate a player driving a car through Vinewood picking up prostitutes, or simulate a player as an Assassin, then you can most certainly simulate a Tomb Raider. You can simulate a Tomb Raider in harsh cold climates, in soggy, hot climates. You can simulate a Tomb Raider in any emotional, traumatic situation possible. And if you care that I understand the journey Lara has gone through, put me through it too, so that when I stand atop the Ziggurat before Mathias and see the back of Lara's head, I suddenly understand what she and I have been through and how to end it.

I think I come off sometimes as though I hate cutscenes (and I do now), and that I find visual, story-related elements to be perhaps unintelligent or shallow, that Lara is not important. Maybe that I have an aversion to some new gaming trends and those who praise them. But I am larafan25, I may only be the 25th, but I feel like the first. I love Lara and I have somehow enjoyed 3 and more separate incarnations of Lara, I care so much for her character and the many different versions of her that can exist, her lore and the world's her character interacts with. I love it all so much because I want to raid tombs, valleys, jungles and I want to experience the journey first hand. I want the developers to create a world where a mountain has a name, and I can trek to it and climb it, where it's common to find a certain-type of ancient weaponry in tombs, and there can be a name for that too. A world where I can watch the sun set and rise. A completely isolated world. But if I do meet another character, they can have character without cutscene.

Finally, I never would have understood or had the idea of Tomb Raider being First Person without actually having a First Person viewpoint if Eddie Haskel hadn't mentioned this, I think it's his idea, though I know that we all understand these feelings and express them on some level. For the longest time I have wished that Tomb Raider was a simulation and felt that this was wrong, because when was it ever that? But of course a simulation has boundaries. You can simulate in a small world or a big world, you can choose what you do or do not simulate, and so I'm confident in thinking that the simulation is what is missing, even if it never seemed to be there in the first place.

CakeLuv
5th Oct 2013, 23:33
http://data2.whicdn.com/images/19091451/tumblr_ltpdnise5d1qligumo1_400_thumb.gif
http://awesomelyluvvie.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Crying-Mariah-Carey.gif

XylophoneDealers
6th Oct 2013, 12:15
That was long winded. But good.

So, overall - you are saying Tomb Raider should be in first person to increase interactivity and emotional connection between the player and Lara?

Or have I missed the point?

Metalrocks
6th Oct 2013, 12:45
ok, that sure was long. a bit too long that i partly lost my thoughts about it so forgive me if i sound a bit off :nut:

pretty much what dealer said, that you want more connection to the player. thats what i understand out of your comment as well. sure, most games these days are cinematic but if done right, it still can grab you.

just look at may payne. i think you feel a lot for max. his character is well introduced and displayed.
but most of the time, its just a game for me.

Shaikh
6th Oct 2013, 12:49
..

Chocolate_shake
6th Oct 2013, 13:17
A very well written post .

However I kind of disagree that the newest game had absolutely no player oriented emotional simulation.

one example that comes to my mind is the solaari fortress level . This level ( from the throne room ) overwhelms the player with enemies and you have to fend them off using your instincts . The whole palace is burning , you are trapped inside , people are coming in hordes and the I , as a player felt tensed. Then you exit the palace and immediately ambushed by nikolai with a turret . But suddenly we get hold of a grenade launcher . For the whole game , I ran for my life , scrambled not to get hit , overwhelmed by enemies. But now the tables turned in an instant . I don't need to hide any more . When lara calls out , "I am coming for you all !" , I had gooseflesh because it resonated with my experiance as a player . As soon as I get a grenade launcher I simply blast the enemies with the grenades instead of taking cover. In this part of the game , both lara and the player become one.

Another example that comes to mind is when you are in the big hubs . Here I spent a good amount of time looking for journals and relics because I wanted to know more about the history of the island and the inhabitants . Some subplots like Hoshi's story and the whole tragedy about Mille and Coco touched me because I found about them on my own through exploration and made the connection that the man trapped in the pit is mille and coco's father.

Yes , I agree that the cinematic composition of the game hindered it from becoming a proper tomb raider experience but if we pay attention and take our time we can find the mechanics\things we yearn . They are just behind the spotlight ( which is , I know a sad thing ).

As for simulation for jumping\climbing , it all comes down to manual grab which was lost after AOD . We must also remember that AOD's platforming was also half automated ( you did not need to press action to shimmy or climb etc ) so even if core design had not left , the control scheme would have been "modernised" in future titles .

Overall , I am not trying to strike down your critique of the game ( since I also agree with your examples ) . Just saying that things are not so black and white . There should not be seperate "defenders" or "dislikers" of TR 2013 . We can critique a game a lot while still loving the experience and I try to do that .

I am a "classic" fan but I cannot pretend that I hate TR 2013 because I simply don't . I had a great time playing it but realise , at the same time how it can be ( and ought to be ) better .:)

Weemanply109
6th Oct 2013, 13:22
Woah...

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ma9t38PZvk1r0rd2jo1_500.gif

Larastan your analysis and abstract ideas always take me away and I see where you're coming from with this. I agree for the most part.

Jurre
6th Oct 2013, 14:13
@larafan25:

Are you saying TR should be from a first person prespective in it's entirety? Pardon me, but it seems unthinkable to me to have the platforming in first person perspective (yes I know Mirrors Edge has that but I think that game would have been better if it was in 3d person). Besides, a change like that would be more radical than the Taliban and the Westborough Baptist church combined and is going to generate the biggets ****storm since Microsofts Xbox One debacle. Surely you can see that this is something that Crystal D is never gonna do.

Now I am not gonna respond to every little thing but I do have a few thoughts:

As I understand you're saying that in first person perspective a stronger emotional with the character you're playing is possible. Is that correct?
Well I do think that the struggle with Vlad could have been done from the first person perspective of Lara and may have worked better that way, seeing Vlads angry face staring straight into our eyes, but I don't think that's the case in every situation.
For example, to have Lara morn the loss of Roth works better when we see her kneeling next to his corpse, rather than just seeing the corpse from her perspective. So I believe it kinda depends on the situation what perspective works better.

When it comes to things like: 'the magic that is lost' I think it is just that: magic. Illusions. Nostalgic feelings are the fond memories that an individual has of the past, making them to idolise that past as something that was better than it is now. Very few nostalgic people seem to be able to look honestly at the things they love and come to the conclusion that their love of it comes from their own experience; that when you honestly and objectively look at it it's not all that great. Don't think I'm just judging other people: I myself have very strong nostalgic feelings for Tr Legend. But I am able to admit that objectively there's a whole lot wrong about that game. The greatness is not in the games, its in our memories from when gaming was young, new and exciting and so were we. The past is in the past. It's not gonna come back. The experience of the early TR's can not be recreated, not because they cannot make that game, but because we cannot experience it that way: today we're different people in a different world. Maybe someday when we're 60 years old we'll be saying that Assassins Creed and Saints Row are better games than the holodeck our grandchildren are playing with and we'll be just as wrong about that...

There's a great scene in Olliver Stone's Alexander movie by the way that makes a very good point: at some point a Persian comes up to Alexander and he says: 'those who love too much lose everything. Those who love with irony last...'
I think there's a great wisdom in that: if I was to put the old Sherlock Holmes series with Jeremy Brett on a pedestal I would be furious about the new movies that are full of violence and nonsens that has nothing to do with Sherlock Holmes, or that series that for some reason puts Sherlock in modern times.

And then I remind myself of this:

N-pUc49fV4A

Or for those people who hate JJ Abrams for butchering Star Trek:

Z1eFdUSnaQM

Yeah... Maybe the old ways weren't all that great. But I won't stop loving them despite that.

Regarding cutscenes, honestly I cannot understand why you hate them. They're about the most common way of conveying a story in a game and I think its obvious they're not going away. So the best thing for you to do I think is to accept them or stop playing video games that are not Tetris...

a_big_house
6th Oct 2013, 14:20
Jurre, that seemed like a very angry post :(

Jurre
6th Oct 2013, 14:20
Jurre, that seemed like a very angry post :(

Does it really... ? I am not the least bit angry...

a_big_house
6th Oct 2013, 14:22
Okay, maybe just the last line then :p

But anyway, I think the overall post of the OP was to say that there are better methods and not to say the methods should be used full stop, at least that's what I got from it

Jurre
6th Oct 2013, 14:26
Okay, maybe just the last line then :p


Hm, I see... that line may have come out a little wrong, but I can assure everyone there's no bitterness involved...

larafan25
6th Oct 2013, 15:39
A very well written post .

However I kind of disagree that the newest game had absolutely no player oriented emotional simulation.

one example that comes to my mind is the solaari fortress level . This level ( from the throne room ) overwhelms the player with enemies and you have to fend them off using your instincts . The whole palace is burning , you are trapped inside , people are coming in hordes and the I , as a player felt tensed. Then you exit the palace and immediately ambushed by nikolai with a turret . But suddenly we get hold of a grenade launcher . For the whole game , I ran for my life , scrambled not to get hit , overwhelmed by enemies. But now the tables turned in an instant . I don't need to hide any more . When lara calls out , "I am coming for you all !" , I had gooseflesh because it resonated with my experiance as a player . As soon as I get a grenade launcher I simply blast the enemies with the grenades instead of taking cover. In this part of the game , both lara and the player become one.

Combat tends to be the only space in which the devs leave us alone. TR9 didn't have all that much for forced platforming segments, did it? The moment you get the grenade launcher and Lara is screaming is a great example of the power of the in-game scene. That being said, that segment is still to controlled and scripted than what I'd like it to be, being that it involves cutscenes that suddenly transport me to another type of in-game mechanic that I may not be used to (ie. lying on the ground and aiming the launcher in slow motion, it breaks what was a steady in-game reality for me and makes it more of a game).


Another example that comes to mind is when you are in the big hubs . Here I spent a good amount of time looking for journals and relics because I wanted to know more about the history of the island and the inhabitants . Some subplots like Hoshi's story and the whole tragedy about Mille and Coco touched me because I found about them on my own through exploration and made the connection that the man trapped in the pit is mille and coco's father.

Indeed, exploring the hubs is nice.

Yes , I agree that the cinematic composition of the game hindered it from becoming a proper tomb raider experience but if we pay attention and take our time we can find the mechanics\things we yearn . They are just behind the spotlight ( which is , I know a sad thing ).


As for simulation for jumping\climbing , it all comes down to manual grab which was lost after AOD . We must also remember that AOD's platforming was also half automated ( you did not need to press action to shimmy or climb etc ) so even if core design had not left , the control scheme would have been "modernised" in future titles .

Whether it's Core or Crystal doing it, it's not right. Believe it or not, but manual grab probably has the least to do with making platforming less automated. Look at Tomb Raider Anniversary and it's manual grab option. I think there is much more to fixing Tomb Raider's platform than manual grab will do.


I am a "classic" fan but I cannot pretend that I hate TR 2013 because I simply don't . I had a great time playing it but realise , at the same time how it can be ( and ought to be ) better .:)

I just have a very hard time replaying games that are so much of the same on replay. As much as I like the Lara lore enough to strap in for a game I may disagree with just to watch her talk and do cool things, it starts to feel kind of pointless.


@larafan25:

Are you saying TR should be from a first person prespective in it's entirety? Pardon me, but it seems unthinkable to me to have the platforming in first person perspective (yes I know Mirrors Edge has that but I think that game would have been better if it was in 3d person). Besides, a change like that would be more radical than the Taliban and the Westborough Baptist church combined and is going to generate the biggets ****storm since Microsofts Xbox One debacle. Surely you can see that this is something that Crystal D is never gonna do.

I guess I shouldn't have left it to the last paragraph, but I do not mean a first person viewpoint.

When it comes to things like: 'the magic that is lost' I think it is just that: magic. Illusions. Nostalgic feelings are the fond memories that an individual has of the past, making them to idolise that past as something that was better than it is now. Very few nostalgic people seem to be able to look honestly at the things they love and come to the conclusion that their love of it comes from their own experience; that when you honestly and objectively look at it it's not all that great. Don't think I'm just judging other people: I myself have very strong nostalgic feelings for Tr Legend. But I am able to admit that objectively there's a whole lot wrong about that game. The greatness is not in the games, its in our memories from when gaming was young, new and exciting and so were we. The past is in the past. It's not gonna come back. The experience of the early TR's can not be recreated, not because they cannot make that game, but because we cannot experience it that way: today we're different people in a different world. Maybe someday when we're 60 years old we'll be saying that Assassins Creed and Saints Row are better games than the holodeck our grandchildren are playing with and we'll be just as wrong about that...

I don't have any nostalgic feelings of the original magic in Tomb Raider. I didn't play Tomb Raider 1 until just before 2013 came out, and it was only then did I come to find all of this magic out, and it's not an illusion, it's real.


Regarding cutscenes, honestly I cannot understand why you hate them. They're about the most common way of conveying a story in a game and I think its obvious they're not going away. So the best thing for you to do I think is to accept them or stop playing video games that are not Tetris...

I truly do not hate cutscenes, whatever you or anyone else can enjoy or see in cutscenes I can experience as well. But when I see something vastly better where a cutscene is not, then I do not want a cutscene anymore.

pirate1802
6th Oct 2013, 15:54
A lot of Lara's development took place outside cutscenes. From "Please! you don't have to do this!" and "Why are you doing this!" to "Yeah, still alive" and "Back off!" and "Who are these guardians?" to "Run you bastards!" and "I'll show you what this little rat can do!" From "Please come and get me" (yeah, this was cutscene) to "You have to be careful out there." And many more things she says in her journal entries. The thing is, cutscenes shows the character's facial expressions, emotions etc better. They capture the moment better. So naturally it makes a bigger impact on the player. They tend to remember those more. Supposing the Vlad scene or the scene where Lara gets cornered and then stands up with gun in her hand was a normal gameplay section instead of cutscenes, it would have made zero impact on me. I didn't find cutscenes to be overabundant. Sure there are lots of them, but there are lots of sections without them as well. I kept hearing how it is basically an interactive movie and all that **** before I played it, but didn't find it to be the case.

And yes I agree with Chocolate that there were moments I felt one with Lara, things I can't say about many supposedly better, "free-er" games. Like the radiotower climb, the grenade launcher moment, when she says "still alive!"


Maybe someday when we're 60 years old we'll be saying that Assassins Creed and Saints Row are better games than the holodeck our grandchildren are playing with and we'll be just as wrong about that...

Nope we'd be always right about that, forever. :cool:

larafan25
6th Oct 2013, 16:04
I never deny the impact of Film.

You're simply more absorbed in it, perhaps haven't been absorbed in the opposite as a gamer.

Chocolate_shake
6th Oct 2013, 16:18
Larafan25: Well every tomb raider I play plays exactly the same way as ever :scratch: . I can wrap up TR4 in less than 9 hours since I know every nook and cranny. My enjoyment of TR2013 has more to do with exploring the open spaces and stealth sections first and lara later . I have replayed it about 7-8 times and the combat scenarios played out quite differently than previous playthroughs .

What I like about the older platforming style was its elegance and precision yet still being simple . These games worked on a grid system where platforms\edges were square in shape. You could see what you want to climb and you always could .

In the new one you press forward and jump and know she will make it by looking at her animations . My question is how can we bring back the precision in the platforming in a non-grid engine ?

Also , would you consider navigating mountain village ( by jumping , axe climbing etc ) either to reach the blue signal or to ascend the falls or to collect things forced platforming ?

larafan25
6th Oct 2013, 16:49
Larafan25: Well every tomb raider I play plays exactly the same way as ever :scratch: . I can wrap up TR4 in less than 9 hours since I know every nook and cranny. My enjoyment of TR2013 has more to do with exploring the open spaces and stealth sections first and lara later . I have replayed it about 7-8 times and the combat scenarios played out quite differently than previous playthroughs .

What I like about the older platforming style was its elegance and precision yet still being simple . These games worked on a grid system where platforms\edges were square in shape. You could see what you want to climb and you always could .

In the new one you press forward and jump and know she will make it by looking at her animations . My question is how can we bring back the precision in the platforming in a non-grid engine ?

Also , would you consider navigating mountain village ( by jumping , axe climbing etc ) either to reach the blue signal or to ascend the falls or to collect things forced platforming ?

I would consider that forced platforming, as well as the platforming we had to do in the beach hub. Though the balance was off for me.

I don't see why a grid system can't be used today, I've heard of games which use a grid system and do not have blocky worlds or movements. I'm currently making a little handbook about platforming, and this is it's cure for platforming's zombification:

- Remove Ledges from the game (differenciating between a ledge and an edge). The reason to remove tacked-on ledges from the game is so that we can have a more consistent interaction system. When you tell the player to grab a ledge or decoration on a wall, and they can't grab any of the other ledges or decorations, I think immersion is broken, the world is not consistent and so it doesn't feel real. This can also be fixed by giving us the Assassin's Creed "climb every detail" approach, though I have reasons for which I would be against such a system.

- Get rid of excessive platforming moves: We do not need balancing on vertical beams, horizontal beams, swingpoles, flags, etc... Like in Tomb Raider Underworld, eventually you find that no matter how different the animation is, you're still doing the same move over and over again. That move tends to be something boring and clingy, not fluid or movement-based.

- Give us rules and keep them simple and logical. Since we've gotten rid of tacked-on ledges, make up a rule to follow about Lara and the environment. You can stand on flat collision, but if it's too sloped you will slide. Now make this consistent throughout the world. Make level design out of this basic rule. Have us run and jump to platforms we can reach.

- Do include manual grab, now that we're not spending our time endlessly shimmying and making small hops between more shimmying, we can have a hold manual grab. Holding a button is boring for too long, but so is shimmying. Give us manual grab so that in our minds we realize we have to hold on or else we will fall and die. This also keeps us awake while platforming, we cannot jump and forget about it, we have to remember to grab.

- Steering in mid-air is so important and I'm glad they brought it back, though they should make some level design which relies on this feature. Like manual grab keeps us awake, so does steering in mid-air. We have control of the stick so we will continue to hold the stick and must make sure Lara is traveling in the correct direction, otherwise we will die.

- No gravitating jumps. Lara needs fixed jump distances so that we have to think about where we're going and we have to measure our jumps and have trust in ourselves as we make them.

Finally, I find most of the strategy in TR1 came from things that we now consider limitations. You could have Lara move exactly as she does in TR1 in today's games, but people just wouldn't like it. But having a character who will move a specific length of space when you press forward once creates strategy. If you are standing too close to an edge and you press forward, you go over, this is because Lara's feet don't move so intricately and precisely as they do now. This is why you needed to use the walk button sometimes. Because Lara wouldn't jump the same distance at the tap of a button meant you needed at least 1-block of space to back up for a running jump in order to make your jump long enough to survive. The entire system is not flawed or old, it works perfectly fine and is incredibly strategic. It's all strategy inducing.

It becomes glaring in TR2013 when still the systems don't create such strategy but as well the level design doesn't beg for any either. So as glad as I am that CD have brought back Aerial Steering, they have neglected some other stuff. Which again becomes more hurtful when you see the pure amount of combat in the game.

The things I listed are only the beginning, but I'm sure you could stick the camera behind Lara and make her have to run backwards to ready a running jump. In fact the camera doesn't even need to be glued to her back, nor does she need to walk backwards. Run back far enough, run forward, make the jump and reach the platform. Gosh, it's possible and it would be great.

XylophoneDealers
6th Oct 2013, 17:12
@larafan25

I like your ideas. I saw an article before which highlighted the strategy involved in Tomb Raider 1. And the idea that you must jump at certain points and you must judge for yourself when to jump. It was fun.

Chocolate_shake
6th Oct 2013, 17:14
Very good points !

- Definitely agree. The LED ledges were not cool at all . However you can see in shanty-town and beach that there are non decorative climbable stuff ( like sheds and rocks and stuff ) which makes the presence of tacked on ledges all the more puzzling

-They have already scaled down the superfluous moves from LAU . However wouldn't it be cool if we could build momentum on flags and poles and then jump (like mirror's edge ?)

-Agree

-I think AOD's manual grab would be a good compromise . You press action to jump and grab while shimmying is auto.

-Mid-air steering was indeed a good return . Did the final jump in Temple Of Handmaidens trouble you? It took me a few tries where you have to steer her to a craggy wall angled on the left and then press action to latch on . I think it was a good moment.

- In the new game , the longer you hold jump and forward , greater is the distance of the jump . So you want them to make the jumping distance binary ? Like one standing jump and one running jump ?

I think they did axe climbing really well . Its very fluid and reminiscent of AOD's climbable surfaces . Much better than Underworld's rock climbing . I understand your concerns ( share them too )

But seeing how LAU series progressed , is it so wrong to be optimistic ? Compare Legend and Anniversary . Was it not an improvement ( and they listened to fan feedback too ) ?

Gemma_Darkmoon_
6th Oct 2013, 17:23
Tomb Raider is so based on Lara that if you pulled her to the other side of the camera it would have a very different feel. It's won't happen but I agree with most of the other things in the OP.


See, it's the way the player's reality is simulated which makes it convincing or emotionally interactive. And as I talk about simulating emotions, we can take a detour back to the cinematic landscape for a brief moment:

The Radio Tower Climb
http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg295/randomperson_2008/itsthaaaaclimbbyeeahyeaaayeeaahheaaaaa_zpsb20f59c5.png (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/randomperson_2008/media/itsthaaaaclimbbyeeahyeaaayeeaahheaaaaa_zpsb20f59c5.png.html)

Aint nobody gonna forget this. This is Film simulating emotions, and it does it very well. That being said, this horrifying climb is interspersed with moments of non-interactivity, and thus the player is removed from the reality of climbing the Radio Tower.

What I really dislike about many modern games is when the game starts playing itself. The radio tower is a great example of this. Bits of the ladder collapse and the on-screen Lara responds automatically without me having to press a single button. In truth all you have to do as the gamer is press up. That climb just bored me as it had no interactivity. The dodge-counter move was another aspect I felt was the game choosing what Lara does rather than active dodging like the classic sideways jump.

The grid based system and manual grab were really immersive aspects as you had to actively judge what Lara could and couldn't do and adapt quickly with pressing grab. Now a jump is just a single jump button push. Quite often now if a big action scene happens it goes straight into QTE which actually really disrupts the immersiveness of the game. The QTE's at the start of TR(2013) like when the scavenger grabs Lara's legs were much better as they still keep the player in active control of Lara rather than just cinematic.

larafan25
6th Oct 2013, 17:50
^The funny thing about that scene is it displays how visuals will always be an important factor in video games, without seeing the world and character there is nothing. Therefore if you take away the cinematic camera from that sequence, you're still climbing a giant radio tower and the vista is still surrounding you, you are still aware of your height, but with more of an advantage of being in-game. So you don't lose all of the emotion, it's simply that the game does not point it out to you in a cinematic way.


Very good points !

- Definitely agree. The LED ledges were not cool at all . However you can see in shanty-town and beach that there are non decorative climbable stuff ( like sheds and rocks and stuff ) which makes the presence of tacked on ledges all the more puzzling

-They have already scaled down the superfluous moves from LAU . However wouldn't it be cool if we could build momentum on flags and poles and then jump (like mirror's edge ?)

-Agree

-I think AOD's manual grab would be a good compromise . You press action to jump and grab while shimmying is auto.

-Mid-air steering was indeed a good return . Did the final jump in Temple Of Handmaidens trouble you? It took me a few tries where you have to steer her to a craggy wall angled on the left and then press action to latch on . I think it was a good moment.

- In the new game , the longer you hold jump and forward , greater is the distance of the jump . So you want them to make the jumping distance binary ? Like one standing jump and one running jump ?

I think they did axe climbing really well . Its very fluid and reminiscent of AOD's climbable surfaces . Much better than Underworld's rock climbing . I understand your concerns ( share them too )

But seeing how LAU series progressed , is it so wrong to be optimistic ? Compare Legend and Anniversary . Was it not an improvement ( and they listened to fan feedback too ) ?

I think the flag move is one of the extra moves that I like because it's more movement-based. It would be nice if Lara didn't automatically eject herself and we could, as you say build momentum to reach higher or further places.

As for the axe, I love the axe as a gear item. What an amazing item. If they think the bow is iconic, then the Axe is just... something else. A bright, blood-red climbing axe linking the climbing and combat aspects of Lara's character. Because I'm off-put by specific climbing points, I dislike that the axe is used on such small patches of rock. What is often called free-climbing makes use of such small space. That being said, I was blown away by how smooth the axe was to control when compared to the free-climb in TRU. It's much better when Lara is not looking for specific points to grab but instead is smoothly moving over the surface.

CD mentioned that at one point Lara could climb certain craggy walls with just her hands, I think I'd like the look of that better, and perhaps wouldn't mind if we could upgrade from climbing with our bare hands, to perhaps the axe. Though this would only be necessary if a grab-meter were in place, which I'm not opposed to. The way the grab meter was used in AOD was basic and poor, IMO. But if we were to come to a large wall with multiple platforms and caves adorning it, and had no axe, then perhaps we could climb to a few platforms and entrances, but the higher spots were off-limits for now due to our limited grab meter. Mind you there doesn't need to be a tacky meter to display this. Then of course, once the axe is acquired we would have maximum climbing strength. You could even start Lara with bare hands, have her find some gloves which mark the first evolution of her climbing strength, and finally the axe. Though none of this is necessary for the platforming to be engaging, I don't think.

I think that Legend, Anniversary and Underworld improved upon each other in the realm of level design. The level design becomes more complex and non-linear upon fan request. In fact, if we were still in the LAU series, we'd perhaps have this steering in mid-air along with all of CD's complex and sometimes contrived level designs. Which wouldn't be so bad.

As for the jump distance, I like that we can hold forward to go further or pull back. That being said it might be purposeless compared to the advantage of having a standing jump go so far, and a running jump go further. Of course the two can be combined. Standing jump may have a shorter maximum reach, though within that reach we can chose to pull back from the jump or not hold the stick during this jump. Whereas a running jump may have a further maximum reach, and the same control would apply to this jump.

I think I got the jump in that side-tomb on the first go, perhaps by fluke.

edit: This is a move I thought up which I think is an okay example of how CD can stick with simple platforming rules and create interesting and experimental designs:

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg295/randomperson_2008/splitjump_zpsf0535b9e.png (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/randomperson_2008/media/splitjump_zpsf0535b9e.png.html)
The distance between the two platforms is too far for Lara to reach with a running jump, however these two platforms are along the side of some sloped land. Using the sliding mechanic that is present in the reboot, the player can jump to the wall and slide a bit before jump off of the wall and steering closer towards the second platform.

Chocolate_shake
6th Oct 2013, 18:56
Nice example . I can see them doing such a thing in the future.

I am also curious about what they will do with rope arrows . I would love the ability to shoot a rope arrow to make a rope that we can swing on . The main issue is whether there should be a specific surface to shoot a rope arrow or a rope hotspot . I liked that when you got the compound bow you could shoot arrows on the craggy surfaces. I wish they can expand upon this mechanic.

Murphdawg1
13th Oct 2013, 22:37
Personally I think action/adventure games are better suited for a 3rd person perspective as you lose your peripheral vision once you enter first person.

MissBrandy
14th Oct 2013, 15:30
OMG ... I felt so much with this game: pain, scared, happy, safe, unsafe, every shot and every breath Lara take ... (and got scared with the appropiate music in each situation) ... So I don't need the 1st person play ..

By the way, if I think about TR in 1st, it will be just : Tomb Raider (featuring myself) ..and not Tomb Raider featuring Lara Croft .... I wont buy a TR without Lara or without seeing her ...

larafan25
30th Nov 2013, 05:18
http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg295/randomperson_2008/headerbeegybooo_zpsa1fe6fbc.jpg (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/randomperson_2008/media/headerbeegybooo_zpsa1fe6fbc.jpg.html)
Why My Struggle is more Important than Lara's... but otherwise I'm having trouble sympathizing with her.


I've kind of said something similar to this before, so I will re-iterate some of those points, but this post is mostly about why I feel Lara is hogging my experience in a way that isn't useful or even helping to develop Lara as an interesting character.

I'll start off by saying that I love Lara, and as much as I can do without her I am a proponent of her being a character with a voice, mannerisms, a mind and a distinct personality. She is important to Tomb Raider and to a lot of fans, including myself, no matter how much of a chameleon she may be. That being said, she's a bit of a problem-child.

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg295/randomperson_2008/leravisin_zps3c49e833.png (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/randomperson_2008/media/leravisin_zps3c49e833.png.html)
Lara-vision

As the header implies, Lara is hogging the focus of the scene, and to her own detriment. This scene in particular, of Lara clutching the monastery walls for dear life is a great example of what I mean.

I'm assuming the reason this segment exists is to show us some of Lara's struggle against the island, as both a natural hazard and a mysterious force of it's own. Her daring courage to press on in spite of fear and... go... wherever she's going. As well, it's entertaining, which is always important. Though as much as I was capable of drawing these conclusions about Lara's character, I find this sequence unnecessary to convey them. There are countless examples of Lara's courage throughout the game, and the gameplay itself should be an active example of the island's natural hostility towards Lara, or better yet, myself as the gamer. So finally, I must ask, why? Why has this method of gameplay been chosen?

This is where I begin to touch upon what I previously discussed in this thread (http://forums.eidosgames.com/showthread.php?t=139691).

Beware, the title is deceiving, you must fully read the opening post to understand the concept. Though I will re-iterate one of the points below, for context and effect.


The Oni Sighting:
http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg295/randomperson_2008/wutlolidedntseesceryguiy_zps2288032b.png (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/randomperson_2008/media/wutlolidedntseesceryguiy_zps2288032b.png.html)

This is a frightening moment in the game in which Lara clears a room of scavengers after being ambushed in the tomb of Queen Himiko. Once the room turns dead silent, you hear the yelps of another scavenger and the metal clanking of massive, ancient armor. If you're an attentive player, your ears will perk up and you'll look around the room. If you're lucky, you might catch the tail end of the Oni's massive mallet trailing away through the dust. The reason this moment is so frightening is because it's happening outside of a cutscene. It's happening within the gamer's reality, and thus the gamer's life is suddenly at stake. It's in this situation, in which you have all control of Lara, you feel you have the least control. The world suddenly feels so unpredictable and real. As well, the moment is memorable. So what does the gamer's reality have to do with Lara as a character?

Well, perhaps it has nothing to do with Lara as a character. However "Lara as a character" during this segment of the game (http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg295/randomperson_2008/067_zpse6e7ffc7.jpg), is not much of a character. She's more of a test-dummy for all of the tactile sense's that the gamer is being deprived of within the scene. This moment of the game provides no dramatic plot-progress nor does Lara do anything necessarily character-defining, so why is it a cutscene? If the Oni sighting as described above was so emotionally evocative, then why isn't this scene expressed through the gamer's reality as well? The scene serves as outlining the hostility of the island and the perils Lara must face, but I'm not buying it. There is nothing on the line for me, as a gamer in my reality, where it counts. I truly feel as though I'm a third wheel. Therefore, my lack of participation as a player and the lack of progression within the plot renders this moment somewhat unnecessary. I can't sympathize with what Lara is experiencing if I can't experience it for myself.

My final note on this sequence is this: I wasn't there. I don't feel as though I ever faced those winds, nor do I truly understand where Lara is. I can't move around, I can't look around, I have never existed in this location as a gamer. Thus, the moment feels forgettable and somewhat shallow, any importance somehow drains out. It pales in comparison to the Oni sighting, which in itself pales in comparison to the original Oni sighting in the meat room (http://guides.gamepressure.com/tombraider2013/gfx/word/969400406.jpg).

My wish regarding this piece of the topic, is that CD reserve the cutscenes for the true plot progression and character defining moments. But only if their construction surpasses the abilities of the in-game world should they need to be expressed through a cutscene.

http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg295/randomperson_2008/datgurlezlerashesofiiiiine_zpsa8fbdae1.png (http://s251.photobucket.com/user/randomperson_2008/media/datgurlezlerashesofiiiiine_zpsa8fbdae1.png.html)
Tomb Raider is not just a Subject Matter

I feel most of the Lara take-over was cemented through the Tomb Raider: Legend "reboot" in 2006. Tomb Raider: Legend provides an iconic character set in an iconic universe. As much as the game had changed, Tomb Raider: Legend feels as though it's the sum of the Tomb Raider brand image up until that point. The problem with this, is that it's an image and not an experience. It feels as though when we went back to the tombs, to find what was missing, we went to this tomb (http://www.nowgamer.com/siteimage/scale/800/600/215753.png) by accident.

The problem is that Tomb Raider is more than just a lore. We love Croft Manor, we love Butler's in freezers, we love dual pistols, Natla Technologies and of course the character of Lara Croft. But all of that is simply the lore of Tomb Raider, it's a subject matter which has to be applied to something, if not it would simply be an idea that never was. That something was a game, and I think that is important. Tomb Raider has been film, it has been novel, comic and cartoon series, but it was first and will always be a video game.

The reason I bring this broad topic up, is because I feel as though this may be an integral part of the Lara vs. Player problem. The subject matter feels like it's winning over the game, just as Lara feels as though she's asserting dominance over the player when it comes to developer priorities. I truly believe it doesn't need to be this way.

Driber
30th Nov 2013, 10:32
LF25, how about a TL;DR version? :)

I couldn't make it through the OP (too long winded, as by others) so correct me if I'm wrong, but if you're saying that TR should be like a typical FPS, I can't picture how that would *ever* happen. The third person action adventure is a main pillar of what makes TR, TR. A drastic gameplay change like this would cease to make it a TR game. Although perhaps this is what you want? :scratch:

Psychomorph
1st Dec 2013, 21:31
I knew CD meant to cater to females more with the reboot, didn't know it was that bad.

The emotion of depression arises a bit in me.

TR y u no return to awesomeness?



(yes I know Mirrors Edge has that but I think that game would have been better if it was in 3d person).

Sick joke?

Jurre
1st Dec 2013, 21:37
Sick joke?

Are you sure that is the biggest letter size there is to use?

pirate1802
2nd Dec 2013, 03:47
Emotion of depression? On what? o.o

Woogiemush
26th Jan 2014, 01:35
I think this is really over-dramatized and unnecessary. Tomb Raider will always be a third-person game. If it were first-person, it wouldn't be the same.

VOLCOM20lovesLARA
26th Jan 2014, 08:47
a lot of your points make sense, but in the end,
i would really not enjoy a first person point of view. :(
i feel like you can truly appreciate the detail of the different
environments and enemies with the third person standpoint.
plus, with all the obstacles CD dishes out, the constant twisting
and turning would be madness. but that's just my personal opinion.

BridgetFisher
30th Jan 2014, 17:34
For adventure games and platform style games I like that CD uses Third person, but the last TR game and if the future ones are more COD spinoffs with Lara as the lead they should go First person I think. CD worked very hard to get a peice of the COD pie by focusing much of their budget on the development of multiplayer, the multiplayer failed since noone played it even at release I could barely find anyone playing. I think if TR went FPS since the new rebooted series is more like COD it could work. I wouldnt like it, but maybe other people would?

Golden Method
31st Jan 2014, 01:34
I don't believe it should be in first person. Keep it in third.

J.Maverick
17th Feb 2014, 21:46
@ OP
That's long... and from my browsing looks quite interesting (I promise I'll read it all later). The consensus I'm gathering from my other browsing is that you're essentially saying Tomb Raider could/should be in 1st person.

I disagree, respectfully--you make valid points--but the issue is the core experience. To make a simple answer, what you're asking for is not a Tomb Raider game. Certainly, the things you've pointed out are true, but if these things were fundamental to the Tomb Raider experience, than it would have been envisioned as a 1st person game many years ago.

To make a comparison to other games: look at the Thief series; 1st person stealth games--when Deadly Shadows appeared in 3rd person, everyone lost their fruit, because the core experience of that series required the 1st person perspective. But looking at another series, Splinter Cell--originally a very similar game (stealth) to Thief--it was 3rd person; just the idea of turning Splinter Cell 1st person is laughable, because the core experience would no longer be possible.

Moving back to Tomb Raider, to make the core gameplay function in 1st person you'd have to redesign the makeup of the core systems; take jumping for example, the player needs to be able to judge Lara's position in space to land a jump on the fly... in 1st person, this is a) impossible, and b) possible, but requires 100% player focus. Tomb Raider is a fast action game, the level of awareness needed for the required sequential tasking is not offered with a 1st person perspective. Everything that you currently enjoy about Tomb Raider would need to be scrapped; the traversal, the action, the stealth... even the exploration would be radically different. It would be a massively different game, and not one anyone would want to identify as Tomb Raider.

As with all 3rd person games, the bond between player and character is more like a friendship than the occupation of a virtual body. Lara, in Tomb Raider, is every bit as important as the environment, as far as aesthetics go; her animations, textures, expression, they all illustrate a persona which you guide through the action adventure. Taking that away removes a fundamental piece of the core experience.

larafan25
18th Feb 2014, 00:53
Naw. I don't mean to make the game first person. I prefer a third person Tomb Raider.

What I'm saying is to make the game as though it were first person. To put the player first. Instead of trying to convey Lara's struggle, give us, the player, a struggle and we'll then properly understand what it is like to be Lara, as she is the on-screen character through which we enter the world. It's simple.

The best way to get to the player, is directly. Video games have a far greater level of interaction, both physical and emotional, than cinema. Use this asset to your advantage by simulating.

If you want to convey that Lara is lost, make the player lost. If you want to convey that the handle just fell off the car, disable the steering. Lara should not separate the player from the game, as it seems she does. We'll never truly get her experience otherwise.

Though I don't write this because I care for Lara's experience, I write this because I care for my experience as a player and not a watcher of games.

I say it somewhere in the OP, it's not at all about changing the camera function.

CakeLuv
18th Feb 2014, 02:08
I would like different options to build Lara's personality like killing the man trappwd after the explotion and then ma gurl says " gota heel" but having the same result idk.

EDIT: I love how pepul never read.

SasaPisa
18th Feb 2014, 09:40
put the player first.

On-going problem I think. I'll take it one step further….

Tomb Raider needs to stop explicitly being about Lara's "personal struggle".

The stories need to be about the external adventure again, the artifact, the McGuffin, tell Lara's internal story in the subtext, or incidentally.

Focusing so intimately on Lara has always (imo) been a case of not seeing the forest for the trees with respect to the "magic" you wrote about of the early games.
Until that changes you'll be forced to "watch" the drama rather than experience it organically, because it'll require Lara "acting" in support of the character's pre-established emotional arc.

Put simply, a better way is to simply provide the framing and allow the player the liberty of creating the emotional content.

J.Maverick
18th Feb 2014, 17:37
@ Larafan25
Ah, yes (just read all the OP), I see where you're coming from. I think in a perfect world every game would attempt to deliver the experience you're talking about. Make the player live every part of the game and not have to watch the character moments... the trouble is that it's really, really, difficult.

I recall there was an article that criticized The Last of Us quite heavily for delivering the narrative almost exclusively through cut-scenes. However, if you think about it, TLOU managed to simulate several scenarios via the game mechanics, Joel carrying his daughter at the start was something the player played, and was complemented beautifully by a moment at the end of the game, which the player also played.

But story must inform gameplay... I'm sure there's been many headaches around studios as developers pour over different ways to inform the player, but still allow them to play. That's how we end up with Quick Time Events--have a cut-scene, but interact with it.

Also, especially in modern gaming, there's such a heavy emphasis put on the game looking after the player. As you say, wouldn't it be more intuitive to hold a button to hold a ladder/ledge... well, yeah. But that's not gonna fly with someone who's new to gaming. Sad reality, our hobby is trying harder than ever to grow outwards, this has made hardcore somewhat of a dirty word, and what you're asking for is quite hardcore.

When a cut-scene goes beyond its mandate (which is to inform), and actually offers a level of interactivity, it opens two doors. Taking the Lara's climb up the tower for example, the player can't actually fail that, but he/she can't do anything but assist Lara in the climb that she is to make; you are for all intents and purposes, an observer in this moment. Leaves something to be desired? Sure, but while you don't necessarily experience her fear as she climbs, you understand that it is there. See, the fear from development perspective is that opening the possibility of failure, to properly simulate the fear, also opens the possibility for player frustration. I climbed the tower, but didn't press something right and I died. Lara is then not climbing the tower, the player is stuck in their own private battle with a linear game trial. Then the purpose of the moment, to inform the player, becomes 2ndary, and when the player does eventually overcome the trial, the scenes original purpose may be completely lost.

Even each player's individual subjectivity has an impact on moments such as these, especially when they're interactive. I was playing The Wolf Among Us the other night, and due to the interactive nature of the game, I experienced a horrible moment where I said something out of an entirely different subtext to the one the game thought, and the game essentially ridiculed me for something I never did. It was extremely jarring and broke my connection to the experience.

I have no doubt we'll see some sort of effort in future Tomb Raider games to offer some sort of simulation to the player, whether it be more QTEs, or something wholly original, I have no idea, but I don't see gaming adopting narrative techniques that go substantially beyond the tried-and-tested anytime soon, especially not with a franchise the size of Tomb Raider.