The countdown to E3 2018 has officially begun and we are now just mere weeks away from getting our first proper look at gameplay from the highly-anticipated sequel, Shadow of the Tomb Raider. And thanks to co-developers Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montréal, fans can count down the days by watching a new video series that will take them behind the scenes and introduce them to some of the talented developers, artists, and writers working on Lara Croft’s latest adventure.

From May 21, fans can expect a brand new episode each weekday leading up to the E3 show. Click on the playlist below to watch all of the episodes that have been published to date.

Here’s a brief summary of everything we have learnt about Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s plot, character design, game development, and gameplay features from this video series. Please note that while I have tried my best to transcribe the audio from these videos, I have made a few minor adjustments to improve readability.

(German readers: Ihr könnt die deutsche Übersetzung auf lesen.)

1) Daniel Chayer-Bisson (Senior Game Director)

“The game is about the end of the origin story, where you’ll see Lara becoming the Tomb Raider that she’s meant to become. To really understand and see that, we had to create a game that was much more emotional and more about her personal journey. In this game, Lara will have to make choices and these choices will make a deep impact on the world. There’s a scene, for example, in the game where she’s making an obsessive, an impulsive…. [TIME’S UP]”

2) Emilie Guilloux (Performance Lead)

“One of the aspects of the game that my team and I are working on is the social aspect. For example, Jonah is really more present in this game. He’s a character from the previous games, obviously, but this time, he and Lara will experience stuff together. It will give a more grounded and believable aspect to Lara. Another social aspect that we worked on is civilisation (?). This time, Lara won’t be alone as she used to be. Lara will be able to actually interact with human beings, she will discover…. [TIME’S UP]”

3) Frederic Arnaud (Lead Sound Designer)

“Our goal in the sound side was to bring an immersive experience to the player. For the jungle, when Lara is in a certain region, you’re going to hear the real birds from that region in real life. For the dialogue, we went to Mexico and we recorded real Mexican voice actors to bring the real-life environment to the game. To bring the immersion to another level, we recorded a tortillas machine. All those little details helped the player to feel immersed, especially when Lara’s going to the…. [TIME’S UP]”

4) Jason Dozois (Narrative Director)

“It’s a tremendous responsibility to be in charge of wrapping up Lara’s origin story in a satisfying way. Along with the… hunting, racing, chasing for artefacts, there’s also much more intrigue and mysteries for Lara to solve in this episode. After lots of research into Mesoamerican cultures, we came up with a very interesting path of clues and a challenge for Lara to solve and find out where the location of a hidden artefact is. An artefact that Lara is looking for, that Trinity’s hunting for, but there’s also a third…. [TIME’S UP]”

5) Jill Murray (Lead Writer)

“To close this trilogy, we see Lara Croft become the powerful Tomb Raider she’s destined to be. But depending on her (?) perspective, a hero can also be a threat. So, in her defining moment, Lara will have to decide which of those she is. I’m most proud that we’ve crafted an emotional character-driven story. We’ll take a deeper look at Lara’s relationship with her best friend Jonah. In Dr. Dominguez, we have an antagonist who is really Lara’s equal. He challenges her because, at the end of the day, his motivations are just as compelling as…. [TIME’S UP]”

6) Mathieu Bissonnette (Level Designer)

“In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the big difference from a level design perspective is that Lara has gone from prey to the predator. She’s now fully in control. Lara is using everything at her disposal – the environment, the ingredients – to instil fear in the hearts of her enemies. For instance, if she takes down one of the enemies in a group, it causes panic and causes them to be afraid, and this makes it easier for her to push forward into the space. There’s this moment in the game where Lara only has her knife and she’s going to use fear to…. [TIME’S UP]”

7) Yann Régnier (3D Artist)

“We have a lot of puzzles and mechanisms in our game. I created more than 50 of them. My work consists of trying to make those mechanisms and puzzles function in a logical way, so that they don’t feel like magic objects. I did a lot of research into the civilisation we’re using in the game and limited myself to using certain materials: bronze, no iron, cord, stone, obsidian, wood. I spent a lot of time conceptualising one machine in particular. I tried to think about what would scare me if I entered a tomb. I imagined a sort of spider that…. [TIME’S UP]”

8) Charly Chive (Concept Artist)

“In this game, it was super important to show the emotions of the characters. When you want to suggest a mood, you can do it through a colour script. Using narrative context, you can drag (?) the colours that you need in your scene. For example, if Lara is in danger, you can use hard shadows to add tension and green to show insecurity. It was fun to play with the colours and create moods that bring the player into the story…. [TIME’S UP]”

9) David Hubert (Cinematics Director)

“For this game, we have a much darker tone. Lara Croft is going through a lot and we knew that in terms of performance, the intensity of some of the sequences would be pretty high. We really wanted to make sure we captured those moments with the actors and really nail those scenes to create strong moments within the game that the player is going to remember. For instance, there’s a sequence with Lara and Jonah, they’re in an argument. And from the moment we saw the performance on stage, we knew that it was something very special, never seen before…. [TIME’S UP]”

10) Audrey Flammand Lapointe (Senior Lighting Artist)

“In this new game, the colour, contrasts, and positioning of the lighting weren’t chosen at random. All of these were selected to help the players feel Lara’s emotions throughout the story. The colours will help indicate whether something is in the past or is in the present. Lighting has been strategically placed in a way that will outline shapes, illuminate spaces, and add depth. This way, the player will instinctively know where to hide and where the enemies are. There’s an area in the game where you can really feel the depth of the environment with the help of volumetric lighting and fog. The enemies are outlined in a very nice way and…. [TIME’S UP]”

11) Martin Palko (Senior Technical Artist)

“On this game, we did a lot of work on improving a lot of visual effects, such as fire, smoke, explosions, water. One of our goals is to be very realistic and we use a lot of real-world physical formulas in the game. For the fire, we actually measured the temperature of the flame and generated a colour based on that. So, there’s a scene where Lara’s wading through a pool of water that has oil floating on the surface, so we did a lot of work to make that oil very believable, including the sheen and the colour separation on the top of the water. And that…. [TIME’S UP]”

12) Bianca Lavric (Dev QA Tester)

“In this new Tomb Raider game, the enemy AI is very complex and as QA (quality assurance), we’ve got to test it. We’ve got to test that the waypoints work, that Lara’s cover points work, that the enemy AI’s cover points work, that we can shoot them, that they can shoot us, that they can see us. And then we have to test the triggers. Some of them are more complex than others and as QA, we’ve got the make sure that everything strings properly. There’s this one moment – which we spent a lot of time on – where we’ve got to make sure that when Lara crosses a boundary, the helicopter…. [TIME’S UP]”

13) Daniel Drapeau (Gameplay Director)

“In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara takes advantage of her environment. For example, this can be seen when she is swimming. She can now navigate freely in all bodies of water and explore new environments, from small caverns to a massive challenge tomb where she’ll find substantial rewards. This freedom of navigation can also be seen in other layers. For example, in canopy traversal, where she can jump from tree to tree and wall…. [TIME’S UP]”

14) David Boileau (Lead UI)

“For UI (user interface) in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, we wanted to focus a lot on the maturity aspect of the presentation layer. We really wanted to achieve a cinematic type of experience. This is about reducing the noise and the congestion of textures on HUD (head-up display) to make sure that the player’s not being sucked out of the immersion of the experience. Oftentimes in UI, when nobody notices us, this is when we’ve done our job. And one of the other aspects we really wanted to focus on was the map screen. With us, we have a much more grounded experience; we’ve gone for more of a top-down approach, with something like seven…. [TIME’S UP]”

15) Marco Foglia (Senior Animatics Animator)

“I work in the Cinematics team. We’re responsible for the cinematics of the game. A lot of the cinematics are based off performance capture with live actors but there were several animals that we had to create for this game and those are impossible to mo-cap. So, it’s pretty challenging for us. It requires a lot of hours of going through footage and reference of the character. In this game specifically, there were some jaguars that became pretty important characters in the story and the game itself, and there’s a scene where Lara kinda gets confronted by a jaguar after a pretty long…. [TIME’S UP]”

16) David Anfossi (Head of Eidos Montréal)

“Eidos Montréal led the development for Shadow of the Tomb Raider in collaboration with Crystal Dynamics, so we had to build a team consisting of people who had already worked on the Tomb Raider franchise, such as Daniel Bisson (our creative director), and talented experts who had never worked on this franchise, like Mario Chabtini (senior producer) and Martin Dubeau (art director). These guys deliver an amazing Tomb Raider experience. I’m very proud of them. The most exciting part for this studio is that they would stick together to work on…. [TIME’S UP]”

Last updated on June 10, 2018.


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