Rise of the Tomb Raider – Interview for Stevivor
Mike Brinker, Lead Designer of Crystal Dynamics’ Rise of the Tomb Raider, recently stopped by our country to show off the game at EB Expo 2015. We caught up with him for a quick chat about Lara’s latest adventure.
Luke Lawrie, Stevivor: Looking at the feedback and what people really wanted more of from the previous game, it seemed like having more tombs was something that stood out. Was that at the top of the list for improvements in Rise of the Tomb Raider, or were there other aspects that you wanted to tackle first?
Mike Brinker: There was a variety of things that we wanted; we are always looking at core pillars. The tombs and puzzles were a big one, and I think we’ve come back in spades with that. But I also think if you look at what our RPG systems were doing right, we wanted to give players choice.
So we really looked at how to expand our ability to have different skills, and we went wild on that – there are now three trees with four tiers in each. Then we looked at the systems that play into who Lara is as a character; she’s becoming the raider of tombs. So in order to do that you have to have these systems that lend themselves to her learning. The translation system is a great example of that, where Lara is learning languages that uncover things which feed back into the game – so that is important.
We also looked at our choices as far as having to beef up our enemy A.I., and how some people were like, ‘Well I don’t necessarily don’t want to kill anyone,’ or ‘I want to have more stealth options.’ So we really looked long and hard at that to offer a lot more options and a lot more choice, and crafting plays into that as well. Our A.I. does something called ‘lost target’ and ‘glimpsing’, which allows you to sneak around but if the enemy sees a disturbance they’ll investigate and they will fan out to try to see where it came from. Where in the old game they would investigate the disturbance and immediately know where you were, now you have a lot more options to get around guys. You have options to take them down stealthily if you want to, launch a full on assault, or take a completely non-lethal approach. I think that is one of the biggest things if you look at those pillars, and one that we really listened to our fans about.