In Game Informer’s latest online feature, Raiders of the Lost City – Lara’s Search for Immortality, we learnt that Lara will be searching for the lost city of Kitezh in her upcoming adventure. What’s more, we learnt that her experiences on Yamatai the previous year had sparked off an almost unhealthy obsession with immortality myths.
But what triggered this obsession in Lara? And why did Crystal Dynamics choose to set their latest game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, in Siberia? Here’s an excerpt from the aforementioned Game Informer article.
“We wanted to put Lara into a whole new location, someplace that still fulfilled the goals of survival, but had a whole new look than Yamatai,” says game director Brian Horton. “When we did the research, we found a myth that would take us to the mountains of Siberia, and that just seemed like a really cool hostile place, which became a great foundation for our story and gave us a landscape that was new, and required a whole new set of technologies.”
When choosing the myth for Rise of the Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics had another factor to consider. How would the game’s core fable tie back into Lara’s experiences from the first game? In the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, Lara encountered something she never expected could be real: an immortal soul. Upon returning to civilian life, Lara couldn’t shake the memories of Yamatai. In fact, the best way for her to cope with her post-traumatic stress was to begin researching other immortality myths. Finding another immortality myth to chase after fits nicely with Lara’s larger meta-narrative.
“One of the things I love about Lara is her determination, but at this point it’s grown into almost an obsession as she chases the secret to immortality across the globe looking for any clue that can validate what she’s seen,” says franchise creative director Noah Hughes. “She’s almost on the end of her rope at this point in the story. Some of these myths are true across cultures. There are echoes of this myth everywhere. But she alone is the one who connects the secret to immortality to the lost city of Kitezh.”
(Source: Game Informer)
I was pleasantly surprised to see the name “Kitezh” crop up in the Game Informer cover story last week as I’d stumbled upon that particular legend a few months ago while researching possible storylines and locations for a future Tomb Raider game; the half-finished list is still sitting in my drafts folder.
Despite my misgivings about the reboot games and spin-off media, I applaud the game’s creative team and writers for tackling a lesser-known myth; Atlantis and biblical artefacts have been done to death. I’m eager to see what unique spin they will put on the tale of the “Russian Atlantis”. Keep your eyes open for a special Kitezh edition of “Lara’s Travels” in the not-too-distant future!
And now onto the reasons behind Lara’s journey to the remote regions of Russia. The quest for “lost secrets of immortality” may strike us as a bit of an odd plot point for a Tomb Raider game since we’re used to seeing her look for mysterious MacGuffins – daggers, Scions, you name it. But it is in keeping with the events of the 2013 game, where Lara discovered that the shaman queen Himiko had relied on some esoteric technique to stay alive in some form over the course of several centuries.
And while the comics didn’t really delve into the issue in any great detail, Lara’s growing fascination with immortality myths was certainly hinted at in Ten Thousand Immortals. In this novel, she is described as browsing through “the Book” and reading up on spiritual transference and elixirs in order to save her friend Sam, who has been hospitalised after she took an almost lethal overdose.
Which brings me to the next question: Why is Lara searching for the secret to eternal life? Sam has yet to be mentioned in any of the Game Informer exclusives which makes me fear that Sam is mortally ill and that Lara is once again trying to save her friend’s life. Or perhaps Lara’s parents had vanished while searching for Kitezh, prompting Lara to go off in search of clues to her parents’ mysterious disappearance.
Rhianna Pratchett’s new comic story arc is meant to pave the way for Rise of the Tomb Raider so it’s likely we’ll get to find out will happen to Sam and what pushes Lara to go off in search of a lost Russian city. Hold onto your holsters, folks. Things are about to get exciting.
To learn more about Lara’s next adventure and the lost city of Kitezh, feel free to read this Game Informer feature.