What We Want from the New Tomb Raider Game

In case you missed it, Square Enix dropped a big announcement on a new Tomb Raider game a few days ago. The statement provided information not only regarding the release date of said game, but also its name, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which was previously hinted by Polygon’s report of a Twitter user’s observation about Square Enix’s statement. He pointed out that the first letters of each sentence would spell out the word “shadow”.

With only few details to build on, we’re free to speculate what the Tomb Raider franchise will bring us next.

Varied level designs


Games Radar documented some leaked images of the new game’s concept art, which indicate that Lara Croft’s next journey will take place in Central America. What gave it away were the Mesoamerican pyramids and the jungle setting. It’s also important to note that the last cutscene in Rise of the Tomb Raider revealed a map of Central America with a red circle around the Yucatan Peninsula.

If Lara Croft is indeed going to Central America, it wouldn’t hurt to have a variety of level designs. The development team could explore an urban level, perhaps set in Panama or Guatemala. It would be nice to feature a brighter and sunnier jungle level, too. While the last two Tomb Raider games showcased lush landscapes, they always had dreary undertones due to stormy weather or nighttime settings.

Improved combat system


The rebooted Tomb Raider franchise already has an engaging combat system in place, but there’s always room for improvement. Rise of the Tomb Raider’s gameplay places emphasis on stealth and cover, which is bad news for those who want to engage in a brawl. Lara’s hand-to-hand combat abilities can be explored in the next game, so that it makes for a more dynamic experience. Furthermore, the team can definitely improve Lara’s dodge movements in a more fluid manner, similar to how Horizon Zero Dawn’s Aloy rolls and lunges.

More mythical enemies


It’s not impossible to envision the next Tomb Raider game leaning more towards the supernatural side. Rise of the Tomb Raider featured an army of Deathless, the guardians of the lost city of Kitezh made immortal by the Divine Source. In 2013’s Tomb Raider meanwhile, players had to battle the ancient Oni and Samurai in order to resurrect the fabled Sun Queen.

Perhaps it’s time to include mythical creatures into the mix, like the earlier Tomb Raider games did. Players need more excitement than battling a pack of wolves or facing a bear head-on. Since the new game will most likely explore Mayan myths, it would make for a pretty exciting battle if Lara were to encounter a Nagual, or a human that can shapeshift into different animals. On the subject of the game’s new characters, Game Tyrant also suggests that Naguals can be either good or evil. It would be interesting to have a mythical animal as an ally.

Whatever new features it has in store for its fans, the new Tomb Raider game is expected to be a hit. With a devoted fan base and its decades-long legacy, the Tomb Raider franchise refuses to fade into oblivion. That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised to see at least one or two Lara Croft cosplayers at conventions or Tomb Raider merchandise on full display at various collectible stores. The franchise is even present on platforms not known for their console titles. Take for instance, the Tomb Raider slots game hosted on Slingo, a browser portal that has an extensive array of thematic games. While its audience is different from the majority of Tomb Raider’s hardcore gamers, the company still chose to feature Lara Croft, because the franchise has stayed relevant throughout the years. And with a new movie out in addition to the game, it will continue to keep its appeal.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be released on September 24. We’re looking forward to any updates from Square Enix in the near future, hopefully during E3!