EXCLUSIVE
Tomb Raider Legend
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Tomb Raider Legend E3 Interviews
INTERVIEW WITH RILEY COOPER

 

Transcribed and edited by www.tombraiderchronicles.com

GameSpot: Tomb Raider has an enormous legacy. Heading away from where Tomb Raider was at and into the new era, what is your strategy or plan?

Riley Cooper: The last six games were done by Core. This is the first time Crystal Dynamics are doing the game. The Legacy Of Kain team - responsible for developing Defiance, are producing Tomb Raider Legend. The team has a large and long experience with producing action and adventure games. When Crystal Dynamics got the opportunity of continuing the franchise, they looked long and hard and really thought through their game-plan.

The main things we found was that Lara was still a very cool character and people are still excited to hear about her and see her in action. To create a great game, we have updated the control system in Tomb Raider Legend. Not only is Lara now up to date, but we're pushing the envelope with what a character in a third person adventure can now do.

GameSpot: What was most important about updating the controls?

Riley Cooper: The biggest switch was getting off the grid-based system. In previous games you had to take two steps back to jump forward. Now Lara just runs and jumps and slides and swings and grabs ledges naturally, everything you think Lara should be able to do, and it's very easy.

GameSpot: Tomb Raider Legend is going back to the original days so many people hold dear. How will the story pan out?

Riley Cooper: Fans of the series will know that in Lara's bio there was something that happened to her in the Himalayas which made her who she is. In Tomb Raider Legend, Lara will go the Himalayas and uncover the mystery. It's a much more personal storyline than there has every been. The other aspect is that we are dealing with a Legend, there is a well known myth that Lara delves into that intertwines with her personal story and her personal evolution in the game.

GameSpot: One of the huge draws in Tomb Raider are the environments. Where will Lara journey?

Riley Cooper: Lara will visit a huge waterfall in West Africa where she will solve an ancient puzzle. This is an example of how we have gone away from blocks and switches to larger, more dynamic scenes. All events which pan out during the game are caused by the gamer. Occasionally the world will surprise you, but most of time Lara is the one pushing the action. Tomb Raider Legend is about going back to the tombs. Unfortunately in The Angel Of Darkness players spent two hours and never left the abandoned streets of Paris. We identified that as maybe a mistake. It is Tomb Raider after all, and within two minutes you're in the thick of it.

GameSpot: What are Lara's new weapons of choice?

Riley Cooper: She always has her pistols on each hip. She can pick up any enemy weapon, for example a rifle, a shotgun, an RPG, a whole suite of weapons cache. One other detail related to that is that we've gone with a more realistic Lara so when she picks up a weapon she doesn't put it in her backpack of infinite space. She actually wears it. She can carry one weapon at a time but she can get any enemy weapon.

GameSpot: How is Lara more realistic?

Riley Cooper: In her model. If you look at her closely you'll see she has a collar bone, tendons, she's becoming like a real life person. She's as real as you'd ever want Lara to be.

GameSpot: Can you give us details about the levels?

Riley Cooper: Lara will venture to West Africa in a remote jungle in Ghana exploring a temple previously undiscovered. She does have company there, and there are always competitors floating around. The game consists of eight levels, each one in a different location. She will travel to every continent, globetrotting again.

GameSpot: How will Lara's moves differ from previous games?

Riley Cooper: If there is a surface, Lara can move on it. Slopes, ropes, ledges, ladders, poles. She's extremely mobile. She also moves very fluidly. She can also string together a series of moves to perform an action. She also controls very well.

GameSpot: What do you feel folk like about Lara that you wanted to address?

Riley Cooper: Clearly Lara is a sexy character and we've done that justice. She's still in control of it. She's very powerful and compelling, and doesn't fear using her guns when she needs to. She's not about combat but she will fight to achieve her goals. This game gives players the chance to experience that.

GameSpot: How difficult will the puzzles be?

Riley Cooper: There is no comparison really. It's hard to define difficulty. Previous games focused on blocks and switches. Pull a handle here and a door opens elsewhere. Now all the puzzles are relative to the area Lara is in. It's all large and physical, and Lara will interact with huge puzzles by un-jamming monster mechanisms to achieve goals. It's a challenge and it's intuitive. Overall there will be three difficulty levels. Each level will involve a different amount of risk. There will be checkpoints in the game so if you want to replay a level, you can.

GameSpot: Lara has changed in her face, why ?

Riley Cooper: We never set out to change her face. Toby Gard, the original architect of Lara, is on board, and he brought the character up to date. When you look at her you'll see more detail and completeness.

GameSpot: How long will it take to complete?

Riley Cooper: We're looking at around 10-12 hours but we're looking for a lot of replay. The game is about exploration and discovery, so they'll be goodies hidden throughout. Puzzles are also open-ended, and you can solve them in numerous ways.

GameSpot: What of the additional characters in the game?

Riley Cooper: Lara has a bad habit of killing those she encounters, so we've introduced new characters. There are some from the past as well. A new powerful nemesis will debut, a globetrotter just like Lara. The nemisis will also be searching for the same artifact Lara is, so Lara will have competition throughout her adventure. There is a new female character to complete with Lara also...

GameSpot: What about vehicles?

Riley Cooper: We're not quite ready to talk about that.

GameSpot: What about the sound and music?

Riley Cooper: We have a composer who is scoring the whole experience. It's like a movie score, dripping with emotion. The music has always scored well with fans of the series. We're not letting that down. Lara will still have her cheeky commentary, and will use a headset so she can talk to her tech team back at her mansion.

The game will debut in Winter, simultaneously on all formats. The textures on XBOX and PC will be slightly greater and run at a higher frame rate. Basically it's the same game. The PS2 version will also be awesome. Crystal Dynamics have developed a streaming game engine, the sixth of its generation, which dumps redundant memory and enables higher details in what appears on the screen at any one time.

GameSpot: Finally, what do you say to anyone who has lost faith in the series?

Riley Cooper: First of all, I understand. You've played six games, and they're all basically the same. We're going back to the tombs, she'll appear and control the way you've always wanted her to. I don't think you'll be missing anything. I think you'll be relieved.

Transcribed and edited by www.tombraiderchronicles.com

 

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