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TOMB RAIDER NEXT GEN FACELIFT
Copyright 2000 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ October 16th 2000 ]

Tomb Raider Chronicles will be the last version to appear on the Playstation, described by Core Design boss Adrian Smith as "The culmination of all the best things we've worked on so far with Tomb Raider." The Next Generation will feature vastly improved character animation, with Lara Croft packing over 5000 polygons on her body as apposed to her current 500 on the Playstation, and early images of Next Generation demonstrate immediately the differences between the current Eidos Heroine and Core's new character.

One source describes the new Lara model wearing a brown jacket and a pair of blue jeans, while her trademark hair remains tied and trailing down her back. Her facial animations are "nothing short of brilliance" in terms of stylised realism, and game play has been compared to current FMV movie quality. New environmental architecture has been introduced, boasting fine and rich textures, accelerated atmospheres influenced by many European cities, as well as improved character AI which seamlessly meld into their environmemt.

Additional characters will also be playable, offering seperate adventures which will cross Lara's path throughout the episodic based adventure game. The first of two new playable characters is Curtis, described as a streetwise guy sporting a leather motorbike jacket. The second character remains a closely guarded secret, protected in the studios of Core Design, but charcoal drawings pinned to the studio walls depict various baddies and fat men in suits.

Adrian Smith has commented in various interviews that Next Generation will be aimed at a more mature audience, with one image portraying a man hanging from chains in a crucifix-esque pose ands a leather mask covering his face. Smith also mentions that Core are moving away from a new Next Generation every year scenario. "No way," laughed Smith. "We certainly won't be setting that precedent again." Game play will be based on a series of adventures, which the user will download from the Internet, providing an infinite amount of expansion to what Core describes as an epic story.

Confirmed for the Playstation 2, Core has not released a definitive platform list, but says that Next Generation, which is only a working title, will not be a PS2 exclusive. Microsoft's XBOX has also been mentioned along with several other platforms. "I won't confirm it for Xbox today," Smith said. "There are certain licensing issues involved. But put it this way: Tomb Raider has always been developed on PC alongside the PlayStation version. Go figure." The final title is thought to focus more on Lara as apposed to the continuation of the Tomb Raider title.

Chronicles, the final instalment of Tomb Raider as we know it, focuses on four flashback adventures following Lara Croft's apparent entombment in the Temple of Horus at the finale of The Last Revelaton. Reports also indicate that Core will dangle a very big carrot at a press event just before ECTS, along with footage from the upcoming Simon West movie Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft. Chronicles is expected to hit the shelves in Nov/Dec this year, with Tomb Raider The Movie aiming for a Summer 2001 release, and Next Generation shortly after.

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