Crystal Dynamics have promised that their latest game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, will push Lara Croft to her physical and mental limits as she journeys across Syria and Siberia in search of the secrets of immortality. Not only will she need to rely on her wits and outdoor survival skills to accomplish her mission, she will also need to rely on some of the skills she may have acquired during her student days.
Creative Director Noah Hughes has confirmed that GPS caches, diary entries, and collectable relics will once again be present in Rise and will add depth to the game’s narrative and lore much like they did in the 2013 game. But he also pointed out that Lara will now be able to learn new languages and, with practice, will be able to decipher ancient texts.
Language proficiency will be treated like an acquirable skill and gamers will need to collect fragments of ancient scripts so that Lara can gain “language XP” and slowly learn how to decipher the inscriptions she comes across. This skill was first mentioned in the Game Informer and Official Xbox Magazine features published earlier this year and was demonstrated in the Syria demo that has so far only been seen by the press and the E3 community ambassadors.
In this press-only demo, Lara stumbles upon a monolith but is initially unable to decipher the inscriptions carved into it. By examining the murals within the tomb, she gains language XP and, in doing so, learns how to read the aforementioned inscriptions. This monolith (and perhaps others like it) will act as a sort of treasure map, unlocking ancient secrets (and tombs) and inspiring a sense of discovery in the gamer as Lara hones her language skills.
From the Game Informer article, it’s clear that Mongolian is one of the ancient languages Lara will tackle but Brandon of TombRaiderHQ noted in his first impressions article that he spotted a “Greek progress badge” during his viewing of the Syria demo. Could the Greek inscription in that Syrian tomb point the way to the Ancient Greek trireme seen in the closing scene of the “Siberian Wilderness” demo?
In his interview with Game Informer, Hughes did mention that “Lara will pass the remains of dozens of previous explorers” and that “the Mongols weren’t the only people to search for the lost city of Kitezh”. So Lara’s new-found linguistic skills may very well shed some light on the adventurers and conquering armies that came before her.
If you’d like to build up your own language proficiency and learn an ancient language, check out my articles 10 Fantastic Free Resources for Learning Egyptian Hieroglyphs, 5 Fantastic Free Resources for Learning Maya Glyphs, and The Ancient Dialects of Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
If Egyptian and/or Maya glyphs aren’t your cup of tea, you can find a wide selection of online language learning resources over at Lexicity. Or you can take a page out of Lara’s book and learn some Classical Mongolian over at Lingua Mongolia.
- Rise of the Tomb Raider “Siberian Wilderness” E3 Demo
- 10 Fantastic Free Resources for Learning Egyptian Hieroglyphs
- 5 Fantastic Free Resources for Learning Maya Glyphs