Originally called “Ascension”, the latest Tomb Raider went through quite the concept stage.
Creative director Noah Hughes and the team at Crystal Dynamics had a daunting task in rebooting Tomb Raider. The result has been one of the best games of not only the current generation, but any generation as critics are raving about the new look at Lara’s life. But what could have been, when the game was a mere concept and not a full-fledged project?
Back then, it was called “Ascension” and Lara was planned to do many things, including riding a horse to traverse the vast land and escorting a child during one mission.
“We took a very agile approach to development and had teams sprinting against different ideas so we could get a lot of coverage,” said Hughes, in conversation with DigitalSpy. “That inspired us, where we saw things we liked and things that wouldn’t necessarily work.
“For example, the young girl. It felt difficult – and especially when we started to talk about an origin story – that we wanted to make it about Lara. As much as we wanted other characters in the world to highlight relationships, we didn’t want someone with Lara all the time.
“We wanted to focus on Lara and Lara’s independence and isolation, and that would be difficult to do with another character around all the time.”
And the horse? “The scale for traversal gameplay as a human and the scale for what’s interesting on a horse is very different. At some point we may look to solve some of those problems, but we wanted to focus on Lara’s traversal as a character, first and foremost.
“We wanted to be able to build spaces that were really designed around less horse-sized movements and speeds and more using Lara’s fun movement mechanics of running and jumping and using her tools to get to places and things like that.
“So it’s more a matter of centering the world design around her as a character.”
Check out our review of Tomb Raider here.