Why death is part of Lara's person in Rise of the Tomb Raider

Lara Croft now carries visible scars from her formative ordeal in 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot, but her personhood isn’t just being advanced in superficial ways for the upcoming sequel. Speaking at a San Diego Comic-Con panel, the developers, actors and writers behind Rise of the Tomb Raider described some of the subtle ways in which Lara, the protagonist and anchor for the entire series, is being made whole. The comments that stood out the most, though, came from panel moderator and Nerdist News host Jessica Chobot.

“They [Crystal Dynamics] just treat her like a person, she’s just capable, she’s just a person,” Chobot said of the game’s young survivor who grows into a seasoned thrill seeker. “A great example of that is the death scenes.” There’s no appeal in how gruesome they are, Chobot said, only in how they depict a fair (albeit uncomfortable) treatment of the protagonist. “If Lara got hurt, that’s how she’d get hurt … they let her experience that kind of demise, because that’s how a person would experience that demise.”

That wrestling with individual scenes also seems to match Lara “trying to work out who she is and her place in the world, and the path she’s going to tread.” According to Pratchett, the next game sees a “rewound” Lara confronting the events of the previous game before she lands on the Tomb Raider path fans know. “She’s capable and we’re showing that.”

Croft actress Camilla Luddington sensed the benefits in doing something as simple as an early table read of the script. “We did a table read and that was something we didn’t do in the first game,” she said. “I think it helped us a lot and it ended up being very collaborative.” Having access to more story material sooner in development, she added, allowed for a greater level of trust between actors and a more intimate connection with the character herself. “I feel like there’s a darkness to [Lara],” Luddington said, “a heaviness to her at the beginning of this game.”

Rise of the Tomb Raider is coming to Xbox One on November 10, 2015.

Ludwig Kietzmann

Ludwig Kietzmann is a veteran video game journalist and former U.S. Editor-in-Chief for GamesRadar+. Before he held that position, Ludwig worked for sites like Engadget and Joystiq, helping to craft news and feature coverage. Ludwig left journalism behind in 2016 and is now an editorial director at Assembly Media, helping to oversee editorial strategy and media relations for Xbox.