19 October 2011

First of all I just want to say a big THANK YOU to Meagan for setting it all up, it was absolutely brilliant, and also to Karl Stewart who answered several questions, they were both incredibly kind and lovely.

Crystal recently arranged a special Tomb Raider Community Day, run by Meagan Marie and Karl Stewart. The event was split into several parts, the first section was the introduction to the franchise and Crystal's changes, then Meagan showed us two sections of the game (so far) and talked us through specific features about the game, then each of us got to play a section of the game which was shown for the E3 demo, and after we were taken out for a meal at a nearby restaurant.

I'm not going to lie, I often refer to Eidos as my "happy place" because the building contains several brilliant game franchises and merchandise that I adore - not only Tomb Raider but Hitman (which does make me sound a little psychotic) and also Mini Ninjas. From the outside the building is completely white with several rows of windows close together on one side of the building, and just a blank white wall on the other. Leading up to the entrance are several stairs and also a ramp for wheelchairs...Or if you looked at the stairs and thought "...No".

Inside is beautiful. The first thing that you will see, once you get past the two glass doors, is the reception area. Beyond reception is a large open area covered in beechwood, from there you can see into all of the floors since the inside walls are made of glass. On the second floor, where the press room is located, is another small reception area, which is decked out with a cabinet full of Final Fantasy models. Lining the walls are posters of Square Enix's series. The walls are white which makes the posters and life sized statues that much more dramatic. In the centre of the room is a shiny black desk with the Square Enix logo behind. As we walked out of the glass lift we immediately saw the smiling Meagan Marie standing by the table.

The press room is divided into several meeting areas, all of which are connected by a single corridor. One of the things that I've noticed about the building is that Eidos is very fond of its keycard locks, sorry guys no secret storyboards were discovered. The room we used was at the end of a corridor, and lined up against the wall leading us towards the room was a selection of several Tomb Raider outfits which the official models wore. The first one was worn by Rhona Mitra which should have the tag-line "That doesn't seem physically possible!". As we entered the main area there was another outfit, this time a black catsuit worn by Lucy Clarkson. The room contained two large blue sofas and a chair which formed a C shape around a large television set which hung on a black and red cabinet...Accidental colour scheme match? As I entered I saw many people whom I recognized, first of all the beautiful Kate Sykes who has done some terrific cosplays, Jay Walker who works at Eidos and who you may have seen about the Tomb Raider and Eidos Forums and who has been terrific in helping me with this site, and Jem Alexander who you will know if you visit the Square Enix Members Blog and who has worked with the TR community on numerous occasions.  On the screen was the promotional image of Lara beaten and bloody on the shore of the island...Or maybe London after the 2012 Olympics.

There's an accidental colour scheme going on here :) 

Meagan's Speech
Within a couple of minutes the event began with Meagan explaining the history of the franchise from the beginnings at Core Design to the switch with Crystal. She commented on how Crystal doesn't see Tomb Raider Legend as a reboot of the franchise since the Lara that we knew from the original games were still on our screens right from the start. She then talked about the effect Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light had on the franchise; it opened new doors for the company and showed that the company were testing out new ideas and proving to the industry that they were willing to take risks in order for their games to stand out and be new. She also wanted to point out that this upcoming game is a complete reboot of the franchise, including all the characters that the previous Laras have met; Natla, Kurtis and Zip never existed in this reboot...I like to think it's like an alternative universe like in the Star Trek 2009 movie.

Afterwards she mentioned the set-up for the new game. You're probably aware of the game's synopsis already but if not:

Lara, aged 21, is travelling on-board the Endurance with her mentor and friend, Conrad Roth. The ship passes across the Dragon's Triangle and a terrible storm occurs. The violent sea is strong enough to destroy the ship which washes up on a mysterious island along with several of the crew members. The game starts with Lara finding out where she is, what is the place and most importantly how to get away.

After the speech, Meagan turned off the lights and started the preview of the game.

> Read the Playthrough of the Game (DAY ONE) COMING SOON
> Read the Press Preview of Day Four (Exclusive to Press Viewing)
> View photos from the event


(Please note that the answers aren't word for word, it's rather a summery of the information we were given in response to our questions)

Is the game entirely motion captured?
There are sections and animations which are done by actors and actresses however some are done by computer. In the cutscenes the voice actors were recording the words while recording the motion capture to improve on the realism aspect that Crystal is trying to push further. 

Is there any news about the voice actress?
As of yet, Crystal can't say who the voice actress is however it will be revealed nearer to the release date. 

Is there going to be a system like Player Tailoring that fans saw in Tomb Raider Underworld, is there going to be the same or a similar feature? (This was my one) 
There may be, however it's too soon to say. First of all, Crystal wants to get the game finished first before deciding on some of those choices. But it's possible, but they can't say anything yet. 

What is Lara's necklace and is that important to the game?
There's been some debate about what the necklace is meant to be, it could be a phoenix, a floral decoration, Ouroboros, a snake or a magatama, what it is hasn't been revealed yet. It's possible that the necklace is important in the game and that's why the secret is being kept under wraps since Karl did say that it does symbolize something in the game.

Will internship be possible at Crystal Dynamics?
There are some internships, however it's hard to get, because in order to work there you need a Visa however you can't get one just by doing an internship, you need to work there. At Eidos there's a similar problem if you want to do internships, because even though you don't need a Visa, there chances for an opportunity is rare. 


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