Rise of the Tomb Raider: Lara Croft isn't a superheroOur sister site GameSpot visited Crystal Dynamics to talk to the lead creatives behind Rise of the Tomb Raider about the creation of Lara Croft. Take a look behind the scenes of the team that created the most realistic version of Lara Croft yet.
[MUSIC] Lara Croft, at the beginning of this game, is someone who is searching for answers. And it almost to the level of being obsessed with finding these answers. So you're seeing a level of determination and almost stubbornness in a way to follow leads that could put her life on the line. So it's this extra determination, this willingness To go further, to do things that other humans maybe wouldn't be willing to do. That makes her especially unique in this game. [MUSIC] We had a fantastic opportunity for the reboot to redesign Lara from the ground up. And in a lot of ways it's very daunting, also very exciting for our team. Cam was a big part of that. He talks very passionately about what it takes to construct Lara Croft. But a lot of that comes down to what Noah's looking for and what I'm looking for as far as who she is and why. One of the exciting things about bringing Lara to life this time, is we are able to leverage new technology to do that. But, before I get into that, it's important to start with Lara's characterization. What was important for us in the reboot and even more so going forward, even as we take Lara farther down her journey as a character, was to maintain that sense of humanity, that sense of relative. And ability. But this isn't a superhero, this is someone like you or I who's thrust into these extraordinary situations and rises to the occasion. So it's not that she doesn't feel fear, it's that she is able to muster courage to overcome that fear. She's always been academic and smart And strong in her own way. But she has this new confidence and this drive to try to discover these truths. It's unlocked and kindled a fire inside of her wanting to find out what these ancient secrets could actually mean. And her father's passion, something that she didn't understanding before, she's starting Can grab her with an understand, this is not only something that she's interested in but it's part of a family legacy and in ways you could say it's reckless but it's really a story about her becoming who she's meant to be. Being a Tomb Raider is something that not anyone can do. You know Lara is uniquely qualified who she's mean tot be which is a tomb raider. We really wanted in this game to put Laura into this world and make her look as if she really existed in that environment. So as she goes through her adventure she'll get dirty. She'll get bloody if she gets attacked. She'll also get snow on her. Snow will accumulate on her shoulders If she's in a snowy environment. We're really trying to push that physicality in order to really ground Laura in this environment, and make her look like she's a part of this world. As you're running through the world, you see that nervousness on her face when you're in a scary tomb, or She seen the trap and she knows there may be a trap around any corner that we placed Lara in that moment or whether she's affected by. If she's scrambling around in the dirt she's going to get dirty. And If she's going through water she's going to get wet. And if she's damaged she's going to get bloodied. And all of these facets of capturing her emotion But really translating those in a way where even as you're playing the game she feels alive in that same way. When Brandon Fernandez, our animation director, imagines Laura Croft in this world he sees her as an active partner in whatever is happening So she's in a tight, claustrophobic space, she will touch the walls and be aware of her surroundings. If she takes a particularly hard fall, you'll see her clutch her side or her head to acknowledge the damage. If you see Lara in a particularly damaged state, She'll start to be woozy and stammer around in the world. There's a scene in the last game where she got hit in the face by Vlad, with a gun. This is in that scene where she, first kill scene, where it was transformational for her. So I wanted to take some of that Game and some of that history and put it into this game for that sense of continuity so if you look really carefully at her model you will see a little less of her scar from that, from that scene. We wanted her to react to the environment, not only in the sense that when she is cold she will rub herself or when she walks by a fire she will warm her hands So she's actually a part of this world. She actually exists in there and it makes people believe that this is a real person. [MUSIC] One of the most challenging things about this version of Lara, we started using facial blend shapes in this game. Which we never had in the last game. But by incorporating this technology, we are actually able to capture a lot of the nuances in the actor's performance. Laura has over 100 facial blend shapes that she uses in order to To show her emotions in order to talk and blink and what it allows us to do is really capture that every nuance in Kamila's performance and show it in game. And it's quite stunning when you look at it, but the hard part really is just. Balance all of that. All of the shapes so they look correct and that she stays on character. That's always been a really big challenge to make her look like a believable character, in that she has human emotions. And if we can convey that in the blend shapes then that was one of the biggest challenges. We've taken the hair technology from the last game and we've built on that and made a very, a robust system, a much more powerful system that we had in the last game. Her hair actually now has up to 30,000 strands. We put a lot of work into the physics as well, so, when the wind blows it, the pony tail will blow very naturally. When she turns her head, the pony tail will roll off her shoulders. The hair is so important to us to get right, because it's such an iconic part of her character. we put a lot of work into making it look Just perfect. In some ways she represents adventure. She embodies everything that is awesome and exciting about action/adventure games so whether it is solving puzzles or platforming or combat or exploration or great reward And great storytelling. All of this is really embodied by Lara Croft and it's a pleasure to be able to take something that's so unique and singular But apply it to an experience that's so universally exciting. [MUSIC]