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dark7angel
10th May 2018, 18:00
Since there's been quite some info about SOTTR being released - from magazine previews to interviews with the devs - but all that information has been scattered around, I thought it would be a good idea to try and gather it up in one place.


From the Tribeca Games Panel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAL02B_RiAQ) and Press Conference (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hV2AdNzcLY):

Gameplay:
- More balanced gameplay - less combat, more tombs.
- Bigger focus on stealth - Lara can use camouflage, strike like a panther and disappear into the canopy; instill fear on her enemies. “Become one with the jungle”.
- Underwater exploration returns.
- Deadlier tombs.
- Rope mechanics - wall run, rappel...
- No dual pistols.

- Living History - Lara interacts with a living lost city - biggest hub ever delivered in a TR game

Story: I don't think it's too spoilery, but just in case...
- Story starts in Mexico but main location is Peru.
- Game antagonist is Dr. Dominguez. He was written to be more relatable than your typical villain, to the point where you might even side with his motivations in opposition to Lara's.

Dr. Dominguez is the head of Trinity, and his motivations […] they often come across as just as compelling as Lara’s. He’s someone I think will make the player question her motives, and he really gets in her head and makes her question herself. I think it brings her whole struggle alive to have such an equal challenger.

In Shadow of the Tomb Raider we see Lara really fighting not to become the enemy she hates, and in many cases, we may see the enemy is herself. She’s going to make a lot of mistakes, deal with a lot of complicity. Depending on your perspective, a hero can also be a threat, and in this game Lara has to decide which path she’s going to choose.
- Lara inadvertently causes the end of the world.
- Lara needs to understand the consequences of her actions
- Lara will understand what in means to be the Tomb Raider - "protector of the world" according to Daniel Bisson :rolleyes:
- Jonah is Lara's moral compass. Their relationship is quite tense. While Lara is going down a path of obsession and revenge, more brutal than ever before, Jonah will call her out whenever he feels like she’s going to far. He’ll help Lara get the job done, but he’ll use a completely different approach than hers, showing that there’s alternative ways of accomplishing your goal other than going on a killing spree.
- While the game is more dark, to reflect Lara’s journey and her state of mind, it also has more moments where we get a glimpse of a lighter side of Lara’s personality.

+ The 7 DLCs planned will feature each a new Tomb with its own narrative.


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From wccftech's (https://wccftech.com/shadow-of-the-tomb-raider-many-locations/)interview with Arne Oehme (Level Design Director) and Vincent Monnier (Gameplay Director):

About locations:

We have many varied locations. One location you’ll see is Mexico, but there are many more that you will discover and as usual in our games, we use layers of history. We have multiple historical layers in our content in which Lara will discover hints and puzzle pieces that will assemble through storylines.

You’re going to explore one of the last unexplored areas on Earth. Those are the caves, the underwater caves specifically in South America.


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From wccftech's (https://wccftech.com/shadow-of-the-tomb-raider-devs-multi/)interview with Daniel Bisson:

About the RPG elements:

I can say that what we call the secondary system – the survival system – everything that she’s doing in Rise of the Tomb Raider, like crafting, finding resources….We’re exploding that way more. The RPG element is way stronger because we want you to create the type of Lara you want to create.

It also showcases how she’s much more confident and in control now, so we’ve expanded that a lot more.


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From GamesRadar (https://www.gamesradar.com/crystal-dynamics-talks-surviving-shadow-of-the-tomb-raider-literally-everything-around-you-can-kill-you/) interview with Crystal Dynamics brand manager Chris Johnston:

Some highlights:
-About combat:

This is the most capable Lara Croft that players have seen in the origin story. [...] using the jungle to her advantage. She's outgunned, she's outnumbered, [...] so she needs to be very smart and resourceful in combat.
That includes things like using mud as a camouflage, using the trees to do aerial takedowns. Stealth is going to be a big factor in the game as well

One of the new things in the game as well is that - if you remember in Rise of the Tomb Raider, once you engaged in combat, you couldn't return to stealth. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, if you can escape from everyone and they can't find you, it will reset so you can go at it again.
-About swimming:

We took inspiration from National Geographic videos of these scuba divers exploring, and they literally have to take off their scuba gear to fit through some really narrow cracks. So it's one of those things where we're making the player feel comfortable for a bit, and then all of a sudden, we throw something at you that you're not really expecting.


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From Finish magazine Pelaaja - I found a translation of the article on another forum.

- Daniel Bisson on SOTTR being Lara's defining moment:

The 2013 Tomb Raider was about surviving, learning and adapting to a hostile environment. Rise was about taking a step forward and beginning to embrace the traits of a tomb raider. A bigger step was taken on the path of becoming a hero and the line between a hero and Lara's inner predator was discovered. In Shadow that line has been crossed. It's not even there. Lara becomes something else, something more dangerous than in the previous two. At the same time she's in danger of losing a part of herself.
- Bisson on the new tombs:

You have to stay alert constantly, but the challenges also have an intellectual side to them. Most of the time you can detect the danger and react to it before you get in trouble.
- Taking cover during ambushes and battle is more important this time around
- Language profiency is part of Lara's skill set once again
- Underwater tunnels are full of threats, including eels; it's confirmed that there won't be underwater combat with AI opponents but Lara will face other animals than eels as well. Underwater world is a more intimate and compact experience compared to action above the surface.
- Maya references seen in the demo
Maya interpretations of the birth of the world, flood and other plagues are seen in the demo on the way to the dagger; the further Lara explores the tomb the darker murals get, now being about the dagger and ritualistic human sacrifices taking place on top of step-pyramids. According to narrative director Jason Dozois the game is full of references to the beliefs of Maya civilization and there's a lot connections to their eschatological predictions; "It's fascinating to study how their calendars are interpreted and how their tales of creating the world and its end are linked to Lara's adventure."

- Audio director Rob Bridgett on sound design:

This time we worked harder than ever before to make the atmosphere of the environment as detailed as possible. Sounds of frogs, birds, predators and monkeys in the jungle are a backing track that goes on constantly, never going silent despite what time of day it is. Our ambition was to make the sounds of the game more dynamic than before and more natural. And by that I mean seamless transitions from the noises of the jungle to quiet underground tunnels.

Sounds from the instruments of South American Indians have been added as sound effects and small highlights in certain situations. Our goal was to use as much real instruments as possible in everything related to the game so those kind of three-dimensional knocks, clinks and individual notes you heard in deserted aisles are result from our sound design.

Overall there's plenty of musical influences from the indigenous people of South America and exotic instruments. Our biggest surprise was discovering the whistles made from skulls of the dead, used by ancient Aztecs and presumably Mayans as well. These kind of 'death whistles' are shown in many videos on YouTube for example, but I could describe that their sound is like the last scream of a horror-struck human.

- Lead level designer Arne Oehme was particularly interested in making the player head down naturally rather than heading up which is very common in adventure games. In Shadow most of the time the way is down and Lara goes underground big time, story-wise as well. Oehme found it an interesting challenge and he finds the way they executed it quite unique.
- Oehme on the jungle setting:

The jungle is Lara's environment. She's in control and the enemies are at her mercy. It was important for us to create areas in which the player can move around freely and be able to reach their desired pinpoint quickly. At the same time the levels are full of places where you can hide from the enemies. The areas are also a whole lot bigger and the player has a considerably free position to choose their way to the enemy or away from them.
- Lara will face animal opponents
- No rebreather, one of Lara's improvable skills has to do with underwater exploring.
- Two kinds of tomb challenges; small tombs with one, two or few key moments and bigger areas in which you can solve the tomb more freely. More surpising and fast-paced challenges so Oehme's advice is to stay alert constantly.
- On top of the main story and tombs there's also lots of other content and side missions. Lara can communicate with characters and explore the world with the help of their hints, a big part of additional areas to explore open up by improving additional skills. The length is pretty much the same as Rise. "If you remain curious and do it all, you get to see an unparalleled wide world with Lara."

- Head of studio David Anfossi thinks that the earlier two games had excellent storylines but this time it's on a whole another level, high quality storytelling being one of their greatest strengths. He sees decision making a very common thing in video games, however those decisions having any real meaning seems rare. In Shadow the player will see real consequences based on Lara's actions.
- They have large plans for the post-launch additional content as they want to give proper quality content for fans and also the new players that come along.
- No plans on future Tomb Raider video games as for now, they're focused on making this one as perfect as they possibly can.

- Game director Daniel Bisson says that they want the player to feel at home, however changes have been made so that they can keep both Lara and the player on their toes. Environment has a bigger part and so do the characters.
- When asked about content like Cold Darkness Awakened and Lara's Nightmare, senior producer Mario Chabtini replies that they'll reveal more as the launch approaches but there's definitely no PvP multiplayer, based purely on the feedback of the fans. Co-op confirmed.
- Lara is heavily armed right from the beginning as she's actively hunting down Trinity, more prepared for gunfight and more determined to take down enemies than ever before. Rather than having to equip each weapon from scratch, this time Lara has more intellectual and substantial resources.

- Narrative director Jason Dozois on how Lara is different this time:

When we began discussing Lara as a character during Tomb Raider and Rise, we came to the conclusion that it's time for her to make Trinity pay back. She finally understands that Trinity is behind her biggest losses. She gets so focused on revenge and defeating her enemy that it blinds her from many things surrounding her.
Lead writer Jill Murray on other key characters besides Jonah and the main opponent:

We're not ready to talk about characters not seen in the demo quite yet. The friendship between Jonah and Lara on the other hand is one of the central themes in the background. Jonah's ability to get a connection to stubborn Lara is needed when her thirst for revenge takes control of her. I also find the main opponent of the game intriguing since his perspectives to many of the game's events are actually more reasonable than Lara's. I wouldn't even like to call him evil like the other leaders of Trinity we've seen before, because he reacts to things in a considerably relatable way
- Lara changes as a character along the way and discovers new sides of herself, events of the game will also be mirrored from the opponent's perspective. Both parties believe they have what it takes to stop the apocalypse, however their means differ from each other.
- Dozois on voluntary conversations between Lara and the locals:

We wanted to add bits of the background story and Lara's life into these conversations. After all, she's very curious so she wants to interact with interesting people and interesting items. An observant player can constantly hear more about Lara's past and also grains of information about her parents and the world surrounding her.
Dozois on Lara's faults:

It's impossible for Lara to stay still. All she wants to do is just run forward, not care a hoot about dangers and face things immediately. Depending on perspective, it's weakness or strength but also the reason why the world is threatened by an unparalleled annihilation in the game.
Murray on Lara's faults:

How I see it is that Lara is at home in the desert and ancient ruins, but then large crowds of people are strange to her. Human relationships and communication are her biggest deficiencies so Jonah is all the more important support for her since he's social. Jonah makes her relax. I'd guess I'd spend a night out or two with that couple.

And that's it. Hope this is useful. :flowers:

Rai
11th May 2018, 12:14
Very useful, thank you for compiling it all together. I was thinking the other day we should have something like The Times for Shadow. So many interesting things emerging about the game!

dark7angel
11th May 2018, 17:53
^You're quite welcome! I'm just glad you found it useful and I didn't just waste over an hour of my afternoon putting it all together! :nut:

Anyways, here's a new interview with David Anfossi, Eidos Montreal’s head of studio, from PCGamesN. (https://www.pcgamesn.com/pillars-of-eternity-2-deadfire/pillars-of-eternity-ii-beginners-guide)

Here's some highlights:

-the team worked with Inca and Maya experts!
-about the tombs:

In Rise she was discovering tombs. The pattern was that she was starting from the bottom, and she was going to the top. It was blue and whites, as if she was going to heaven. This time it's the contrary, she has to face fear. Fear is the creative line for the entire game. She’s going underground and experiencing these tombs, and this will give her the chance to become the Tomb Raider.

During the post-mortem of the two previous games we learned that both we and Tomb Raider fans wanted more tombs. So we have more tombs. They are amazing, they are incredibly deadly. We created a specific team of designers to work around these challenges. All the mechanics around them is credible and could be done in real life. We are very picky with that. For the immersion you have to believe that it could be done in real life.
-about some gameplay changes:

We have additions on the platforming mechanics with the rappel, you can run on the walls now. We added some verticality to this feature. Then there’s the crafting, which will be very deep, interesting, and intrinsic to the experience. When we say 'one with the jungle', it's all about survival, so the crafting will be key. We brought a lot of big things and big changes. Not in the sense that it's better than Rise of the Tomb Raider, but something new and very specific to Eidos.

dark7angel
25th May 2018, 16:21
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider Will Be The Hardest Of The Trio According To Game Director Daniel Chayer-Bisson (https://segmentnext.com/2018/05/25/shadow-of-the-tomb-raider-hardest/)


This will be, I would say, the most difficult Tomb Raider of all the Tomb Raiders. That is important because this is a more experienced Lara. This is going to be bigger, it’s going to be harder, and that tomb shows the first ever puzzle you’ll solve and it’s very difficult. The checkpoints are not far away from when you die, so having these gruesome deaths make you feel bad to fail, and do everything to stay alive.


We get to see Lara in conflict with herself. We also have an antagonist who could be a protagonist in his own story – his motivations are just as compelling as hers. It’s going to give players a lot to think about, and question her motives as much as she does, perhaps. I think that’s something that we can provide in this kind of game that is much harder to access in a multiplayer game.

dark7angel
12th Jun 2018, 17:28
New interview with Lead Writer Jill Murray and Director of Level Design Arne Oehme:

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Some highlights:
- The Hidden City (that's also the biggest hub in the game) is called Paititi, and a quick Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paititi)search tells me it's an actual legendary Inca lost city that archaeologists and explorers have been trying to find for the last 100 years! :cool:

- This city has evolved in almost total isolation, so it hasn't been colonized by the Spanish, and it has influences from the different populations that have sought refuge there - Maya and Aztec - as well as the Inca native population.

- Different difficulty settings - you can adjust the difficulty settings according to the main pillars of the game - Combat, Exploration/Traversal and Puzzles.
- Jill Murray is still an adorable cinnamon roll - "We will not be weaponizing Llamas" :lol:

- The Maya apocalypse from the game has nothing to do with the modern misinterpretation of the Maya calendar.