Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Gives Lara Croft a Serious Makeover

By Luke Caulfield , Updated Jan 06, 2014 11:21 AM EST
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See that picture above? That, ladies and germs, is where console gaming currently find itself. On the left, you'll notice the lovely archaeologist, the one and only Miss Lara Croft, re-imagined and how she appears in Square Enix's Tomb Raider re-boot. On the right...well, it's the same Miss Croft, but, as you can see...different. Welcome to the cusp of the console generations, boys and girls, the point where old meets new, and you'd best not cross the streams.

If you're familiar with "All That Jazz," you've probably heard the song slash expression "everything old is new again." Looking at that picture above, that phrase has never more relevant than it has right now. Bear with me for a moment. Up above, you have, lain out before you, an updated version of a rebooted character, which took inspiration from a character icon of the 80's, which in turn was based on serial treasure hunters and pulp action heroes from the 30's. That's 80 some odd years of history, crammed into a new likeness of a character that's not even a year old yet. Someone grab Cobb from "Inception" and tell him Square Enix has gone as deep as deep can go.

Funny, because I can remember when the original Tomb Raider came out, and watched Lara "Indiana Jane" Croft transform into an icon. She's been re-imagined before, sometimes with disastrous results (*cough* Angel of Darkness). And since she was re-booted less than a year ago, why have the character go through yet another "upgrade?"

Well, with all the new hardware that the new consoles have to offer, why the hell not? It's not like this is a new phenomenon, especially with Square Enix. We're seeing the exact same thing with Final Fantasy X HD Remaster, and the Kingdom Hearts ReMIX games. Though, if you're looking for a more specific reason, Crystal Dynamics' Executive Producer Scot Amos took some time to field some questions and explain the upgrade over at the Eidos forums.

"Our Sr. Art Director, Brian Horton, directed the exploration and development of the next-gen Lara as seen in Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. We did start with the idea of updating just her skin or a few extra polygons, but as we started to learn more about the hardware and what was possible, we felt Lara deserved even more attention. So we had the same folks who built her for the initial PS3/X360 version dedicated to reworking her for the next-gen version. In the end... we're excited about both this new step in upgrading Lara with her new TressFX hair, new sub-surface scattering on skin, and overall new look. But we're never satisfied ... meaning Brian and team are anxiously looking forward to feedback from everyone when they see her live on PS4/Xbox One in January as we listen to all feedback and will greedily take and reflect on your inputs for ways we could even improve her further in the future."

The upgrade visuals go beyond jus Miss Croft: Said Amos, "all in-game characters were updated for next-gen; but Lara is the star so she got the super-deluxe treatment! We did up rez geometry, textures, and other aspects for all primary characters in the story."

Tomb Raider: Definitve Edition hits North America and Europe later this month, January 28 and January 31 respectively.

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