Please, Enough With The Tomb Raider Reboots Already!

This new Tomb Raider game is being hailed as a reboot of the series. Really? If my PC had to be rebooted as many times as this franchise, I'd have thrown it out years ago.

Are publishers Square Enix and developers Crystal Dynamics serious? Since the 1996 release of the first Tomb Raider, there have been - excluding the crude handheld and mobile versions and the spin-off Guardian of Light, and including the upcoming game – eight games in the franchise.

Of those eight, there have been three games marketed as "reboots" of the series. Three! In 2003, we got Angel of Darkness, a "reboot" aimed at bringing Lara Croft into a darker, more complex storyline. In 2006, we got Tomb Raider: Legend, another reboot, this time featuring a new developer (Crystal Dynamics replacing series creator Core Studios) and a new look for the game's star.

Now, in 2011, there'll be another reboot, with Lara's look again changed while the game looks to be less about jumping around with guns and more about fighting for your life.

Those three "reboots" have been three of the last four Tomb Raider games, with only 2008's Underworld, a sequel to Legend, content to leave things as they were.

If that's not proof there's something wrong with the very idea of Tomb Raider, I don't know what is.

Yeah, the original game was a classic. Lara Croft is an icon in video gaming history. But she was at the height of her powers in the 1990s, and as we close upon 2011, the 1990s were a long time ago.

A successful series, built upon a brand that sold and starring a character that appealed to people, wouldn't need to "reboot" three of its last four games. It would do what it did, like Mario does, perhaps with tweaks and modifications along the way, but never needing to take such drastic measures as overhauling almost every part of the game, from engine to character design, every time it stepped out. Especially when the last two games weren't that bad!

Take Call of Duty as an example: it debuted in 2003, the same year as Tomb Raider's first reboot, and in the seven years that followed has revamped its setting once (the move away from World War Two into the more contemporary environments of Modern Warfare and Black Ops), and revamped its gameplay… well, not much has changed there at all.

Last I checked, for all its flaws, it was the biggest video game series on the planet right now.

The saddest thing is, I like the look of this Lara. I like how she's going to be a normal, vulnerable woman. I like the premise of scrabbling for survival on an island. I like everything I've seen and heard about this new Tomb Raider game, in fact, except the fact it's called Tomb Raider. Surely something this fresh and different deserved to be given its own chance to shine, rather than having a brand name bolted onto it that has so little in common with what it's trying to do?

So it might just be time to let Tomb Raider, and Lara Croft with it, rest a while. You can reboot the series until she's a half-human Space Marine fighting in the salt mines of Jupiter, and it won't change the fact the franchise still, for most people, reminds them of a girl from the 1990s with short shorts and massive breasts. Especially when there's a new Tomb Raider game every year or two to jog their memories.


Comments

    I forgot about those other 'reboots', but I think it was said in a marketing sense only; nothing really changed in any of those games and that's why I never really liked any of them. They were all shallow, both visually & in terms of gameplay.

    That being said, the early concept of this one is by far the most interesting to me - I don't care if it's called Tomb Raider or Island Girl, but it does seem they're doing their first 'proper' reboot.

    The only way to correctly resurrect Tomb Raider in my heart is to create a game with the Atmosphere of the first one - something that none of the 7 follow on games have done in the slightest. The thing that I remember when I think of TR1 is the isolation, exploring deeper into ancient places knowing how far from modern civilisation you are going and how alone you were as Lara. It was an atmosphere I dont think I felt again in a game until Colossus.

    I don't really agree with Angel of Darkness being considered a 'Reboot' considering it starts off from where Chronices finished (Albeit, with no explination as to how Lara is alive again...)

    So in actuality, this is the second reboot. And after Underworld, who can really blame them? Someone needed to take a long hard look at the franchise, especially when you have Uncharted out there doing a similar thing only way, way better. And they managed that WITHOUT boobs and short shorts.

      "I don’t really agree with Angel of Darkness being considered a ‘Reboot’"

      Well the people who made the game certainly considered it a reboot, and marketed it as such.

    Here's a tip to make a good Tomb Raider game:

    Make some tombs. Have them raided.

    Thank you, I charge 800 dollars an hour.

    Wasn't the new top-down Lara Croft game a reboot as well?

    I don't see why it has to be called a reboot, apart from to fit in with the current marketing trend of 'let's make a sequel to a game, make it significantly different and call it a reboot'.
    Just call it a sequel and be done with it!

    Perhaps instead of calling it Tomb Raider, it could be called Uncharted: Drake's Sister?

    Well.... that's assuming it's anywhere near as good as Uncharted?

    +1 to just about every comment above.

    Like I said when they first announced this as a reboot/origin game, the key to the franchise is in the clucking title. Tomb Raider, we want tombs and to raid them, occasionally shooting a wild animal or grizzled smuggler.

    They're rebooting Tomb Raider because every passing year it becomes even less relevant and valuable an IP. When was the last Tomb Raider that mattered? It'll always be that game from the 90s.

    The fact Uncharted came along and had a cracking story, sold millions of copies and was a huge success (without the gimmick of a hot female lead) shows it can be done. Now if only the developers actually bothered doing a good job instead of marketing their game as a 'gritty' (groan) 'reboot', they might get somewhere.

    Using Call of Duty as an example of a good franchise? DOHOHOHOHO!

    "I like everything I’ve seen and heard about this new Tomb Raider game, in fact, except the fact it’s called Tomb Raider. Surely something this fresh and different deserved to be given its own chance to shine, rather than having a brand name bolted onto it that has so little in common with what it’s trying to do?"

    These are my thoughts exactly. Actually, these are my thoughts about every "Reboot" currently in progress. DMC and XCOM would do a whole lot better in people's eyes (Well, mine at least) if they weren't trying to use a name to sell a product and just said "Hey, new IP!".

    Wait, go back to the half-human Space Marine fighting in the salt mines of Jupiter? that interests me more than another TR reboot.

    She needs a wash.

    I've always wondered this, now it may be because of financing or marketting, or it could be exclusivity (uniqueness), but I've always wondered why a pair of game companies never join forces to make a great game?

    The reason I ask this is because why doesn't 'Crystal Dynamics', get a hold of 'Dark Energy' (the guys who made the game Hydrophobia) and see if they could create a partnership to make a good game. I mean if this is a reboot, why not add a brand new element to the mix, like flowing water (like in Hydrophobia)

      Sorry, quick correction: Why don't ENOUGH game companies join forces to create a great game?

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