Copyright 2002

[ February 20th 2002 ]

Following Tuesdays return to Derbyshire-based studios' Core Design to meet and greet new PR Manager Gary Reading and to snatch a sneak-preview of this years most anticipated video-game, can exclusively reveal further details from Tomb Raider Next Generation - specifically the dramatic increase in detail from past to present Lara Croft models ahead of the official unveiling by Core Design on March 20.

The new Lara Croft model is a marvel of modern-day technology, an adhesive marriage of mesh, bone and cloth lacquered with high resolution detail and illustration. Lara Croft's face has undergone extensive digital surgery - re-modeled sporting the proportional crisp characteristics of an attractive young brunette. Lara Croft's standing pose now boasts a realistically-teasing, hip-swaying draw while the mechanics of her upper skeleton gently inflate with each intake of breath. The model we saw had Lara dressed in a ragged demin jacket and long blue-jeans and her movements bore the fluid resemblance and organic feel of a character whose former 500 polygon skeleton has been replaced with an additional 5,000 shiny new polygons, each dripping with realism. The attention to detail was superb with a maze of crease and shadow-lines spawning across her attire.

Lara Croft's supporting cast is enormous, and although we're not allowed to reveal too much until the official March release, we witnessed the same attention to detail in the supporting characters as found in Lara Croft herself. Core Design has stripped the characters down to the wire-frame, rebuilding the basic mesh and mechanical architectures and in turn rendering a more organic and fluidic movement and feel. This coupled with detailed illustration and the terrain-based power of Sony's PS2 effectively adds a new dimension of realism to the game.

Pinned to the wall of Next Gen Mission Control were various sketches and concept illustrations of characters yet to be confirmed. Many bore the marked resemblance of scientific gene exploration gone drastically wrong. Core Design will also be implementing ground-breaking lip-synchronization technologies which realistically tailors dialog with mouth movement for FMV segments and in-game scenes. The traditional open/shut motion of in-game dialogue will be made redundant in favor of advanced speech to mouth synchronization (lip-synch) so effective the company speculates players will be able to follow a conversation by deciphering the movement of a characters lips as he/she speaks.

Core Design will officially unveil Tomb Raider Next Generation - including the games heavily guarded title - on March 20 at a secret location in London, arming their press release with a media onslaught including FMV movies, screen shots and high resolution concept art. We will be covering the whole event, so stay tuned for much more; in the meantime, click here for our comprehensive no-nonsense Tomb Raider Next Generation section.

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