Sadly, Square Enix hasn't put out any single-player story-centric for this year's reboot of Tomb Raider. So fans who enjoyed playing through Lara Croft's re-imagined origin story have been out of luck as far as seeing her continued evolution. But a new Dark Horse comics series due out later this year will be revealing what's next for the newest iteration of one of gaming's most recognisable heroines.
Comics luminary Gail Simone — who's written stellar runs for Wonder Woman, Deadpool and Batgirl — will be working on the new Tomb Raider series. She'll be at Dark Horse's Art of Video Games panel at Comic-Con at 4:00 p.m. today but was kind enough to answer a few questions over e-mail about her love of Lara Croft.
Kotaku: I interviewed Greg Rucka recently and it sounds like damn near everyone in his house plays video games. How much gaming is happening in your household?
Simone: Oh, a pathetic, disturbing amount. I have virtually every video game system released in the U.S. in the past couple of decades and several imports. I have a mint condition Vectrex on my desk next to my computer.
When I am really, truly struck on a script, I play games for a while to sort of start unthinking, to make up a terrible word, about that story…that little break has saved many a plot in the past.
In particular, I love fighting games, third-person adventure games, RPGs, and puzzle/strategy games. I have to be careful about sims and MMOs because I can get a bit addicted, and then it’s more of a liability than an asset.
Kotaku: The new Tomb Raider game reboots Lara Croft and her world in a much darker vein, with elements of horror providing much of the tension. How are the new comics going to reflect that?
Simone: I chose to do this series solely because I loved the game so much, so we’re definitely keeping the tone of the game. I’ve always loved the classic, cool Lara Croft, but this feels like her origin story, like we’re seeing her before she becomes the icon, and it’s very compelling to me.
The storytelling in the game hooked me instantly. The biggest difference is, the game told a claustrophobic story in an isolated setting. We are going globetrotting.
Kotaku: When does this series take place with respect to the events of the new game? Will this still be a new Lara who's just starting out as an adventurer?
Simone: Very much so, we start just a few weeks after the end of the game, and this is all in continuity, it will be Tomb Raider canon, and lead DIRECTLY into the sequel. This is what got me excited; we get to be part of Lara Croft history.
Kotaku: The first Tomb Raider games don’t give Lara much motivation for doing what she does. She existed to be controlled and looked at. What do you see as Lara’s core defining trait? What drives her to do what she does?
Simone: It’s true that the earliest games didn’t really give deeply emotional motives to the characters, but damn, they were fun. And groundbreaking in several ways.
The way I see Lara now is, she’s not after treasure. She’s not really after thrills. She’s a questioner, she’s an explorer. She wants answers.
The thing is, she’s completely unstoppable. That’s what I love. Everyone underestimates her, and that is a terrible mistake to make.
Simone: "All we’re doing here is showing the journey — how does a British schoolgirl become this adventure icon, this magnificent, dangerous woman?"
Kotaku: What's one thing about Lara's previous iterations that annoyed you or puzzled you? Will there be a way for you to resolve that in writing this new title?
Simone: I don’t really feel any need to remove myself from the previous versions of Lara. When you’re a video game fan, like I am, and suddenly you have a great game with a female lead who kicks a ton of arse and has James Bond levels of cool…that’s a big deal, and that’s what I felt playing those first Tomb Raider games. I had a blast playing them. I suppose some might complain about cheesecake, but I never felt that’s what Lara was about at her core.
All we’re doing here is showing the journey — how does a British schoolgirl become this adventure icon, this magnificent, dangerous woman?
Kotaku: Has there been anything that you've been able to do while writing Tomb Raider that you wouldn't get away with on, say, Batgirl or your other regular writing assignments?
Simone: Well, yeah, I love to travel. My job is wonderful because I am invited around the world to conventions and speaking engagements, and I meet this amazing variety of people and cultures. I was just at a Maori town that is built on a platform of boiling hot natural gas springs that geyser up…they cook their food in iron boxes over this sulfurous gas and it’s around them in every direction.
I love Gotham City, but I would never get to talk about this sort of thing in Batgirl. Our Lara goes everywhere and does everything.
Kotaku: Have you spoken to Rhianna Pratchett and the other creators who worked on the most recent Tomb Raider game? What was the big takeaway from those talks?
Simone: I absolutely have, and what a joy it is to count her as a friend, now. She is simply an astonishing storyteller…the writing in the Tomb Raider game is so natural and believable and convincing, you really feel Lara’s pain and struggle. A lot of that is pure Rhianna.
I loved her work so much I have asked her to participate with me on a comics mini-series, Legends of Red Sonja. She’s been an invaluable and remarkably generous ally in this. And her writing has a message of commitment and integrity to the characters.