Lara From Above: Guardian Of Light Trailer

By John Walker on May 18th, 2010 at 2:14 pm.

Lara has a friend!

Only yesterday Jim and I were asking for more information about Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light, and pa-dah! A new trailer has appeared. And crikey, it isn’t like the Tomb Raiders we’ve played before. Although we already knew it was an isometric action platformer, it’s hard to believe it until you see it running, which you can below.

Take a look:

It’s Diablo with jumping! And no loot. Okay, it’s not a lot like Diablo. But watching that, it’s a lot like Diablo.

The idea of co-op sounds very splendid, although I imagine will mostly end in fights over who gets to be Lara. They should bring back the Doppelgänger once more. Although then it will be fights over who gets to be the far cooler red-haired version.

What stands out as odd in the trailer is the sheer volume of combat. Tomb Raider has always been a fantastic platform game let down by tedious combat. In fact, developers Crystal Dynamics pretty much got rid of all of it in their most recent regular TR game, Underworld, focusing instead on excellent acrobatics. Isometric platforming will be interesting, and from the density of combat here, perhaps taking more of a back seat. We shall see.

It will be available across console and PC, but download only. The PC version’s coming this Summer, via Steam.

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54 Comments »

  1. Vague-rant says:

    I read somewhere (Gametrailers I think), that many see the isometric view as a betrayal to the nature of Tomb Raider games… Sound familiar?

    X-Com is what I’m getting at. I understand the gameplay of X-com is drastically different to a standard FPS, but I’m curious if the same people see this use of the Lara Croft name as a marketing tool?

    • Jockie says:

      I think they’re developing a ‘proper’ Tomb Raider game as well as this, but people are too quick to jump at the throats of devs who try and do something a bit new or different (or take risks). I don’t think Tomb Raider going from 3rd person to isometric can be seen in the same light as x-com going from turn based strategy to FPS though, and it looks as though the core gameplay stays true to the series (co-op notwithstanding).

    • Tei says:

      j:
      “I think they’re developing a ‘proper’ Tomb Raider game as well as this, but people are too quick to jump at the throats of devs who try and do something a bit new or different (or take risks).”

      Is the danger to reusing a brand. Create a new game with new characters, and no one will care what style you choose.

    • Xocrates says:

      They never pretended this was other than a wild experience, so I don’t really see it as a betrayal. Particularly if they succeed and therefore keep the (hugely milked) series fresh.

      That said, the use of the Lara Croft’s name is obviously a marketing ploy. Although perhaps a forgiveable one since, lets face it, it’s still a game about mucking about in ruins fighting weird creatures (which is more than can be said for some other entries in the series).

    • Vague-rant says:

      Then what’s the difference between keeping a series fresh and changing it too much?

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      It might be isometric, but it’s still not turn-based, so it’s not quite the same difference.

      And anyway, this is a spinoff, not a “reimagining” of an old classic to create a “more immersive” experience for the “next generation” of gamers. The Lara Croft a cheap marketing ploy? Sure. So are her tits.

    • MrFake says:

      For a good read: Eurogamer.net: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light Interview. It’s a good insight on Crystal Dynamics’ (at least ostensible) reasons for making this game, plus some other goodies.

      I’d say they’re milking the IP, except they make a point in the interview that this is not their “pillar” game.

    • sfury says:

      Now they have to make it turn-based.

    • The Telemetrics of Robert Francis Bailey says:

      On that not wtf happened to age of decadence?

  2. Jockie says:

    Nice to see Crystal Dynamics take a new and somewhat unexpected direction for Lara and potentially it looks like a lot of fun. That Guardian of Light guy doesn’t look half as fun to play though.

  3. Freudian Trip says:

    No previous interest in Tomb Raider in the slightest previously. Now though… that looks dope on a rope covered in soap… with the pope.

    • jsdn says:

      I’m not sure I’d do dope on a rope, it depends on the dope to rope ratio, but definitely not covered in soap. The pope certainly doesn’t help anything either, he’s probably a real downer. I like how Guardian of Light looks though.

  4. Ian says:

    I like that they’re using the license for a different sort of game, and generally feel it’s something that needs doing more often.

    • Tim says:

      Agreed, I like that they’re experimenting.

      As long as they don’t keep going forever with the cross genre bending (ala Sonic) :)

  5. toni says:

    I only ever played TombRaider:Underground of the new ones and it was an completely crap platform game with bad controls (at least on PC) and a ridiculous story. Not to speak of the innovative “choose outfit for lara” choices at the start of the level and the frustrating camera switches inmidst of combat or platforming. Played like amateur after PrinceOfPersia showed them how fluid parkour works. Later I found out that TR:U is supposed to be a GOOD game in the franchise.
    I never dared to test out any other game featuring Lara after that.

    • stahlwerk says:

      I really enjoyed most every minute of TR:U, I had upgraded to an XBox 360 controller shortly before, though. The game perfectly nails the difficulty curve, although there were some occasions to cheese through some of the fights (the motorcycle descent down the spiral comes to mind), which kind of messed with the flow. Other than that, it really felt like the game rewarded you for learning the controls, so I can see that swinging (hurr hurr) the other way, too.

      Also there was one move you had to perform exactly once in the game in the second to last level, which I had totally forgotten about since the tutorial, for which I had to consult GameFAQs to remind me about it.

    • Xocrates says:

      The issue is not nearly that simple. Underworld was released visibly unpolished and unfinished, and quite frankly it’s not recommended to anyone but series fans. Especially since the plot follows from Legend and the original/anniversary and won’t make much sense otherwise.

      However here’s the thing, Underworld succeeded in feeling like a Tomb Raider game (unlike Legend, which was while arguably better), and was not frustrating mess of bloom and brown that Anniversary was.
      Also, it was the only Crystal Dynamics game without quick time events. That alone elevated it alot.

      Of course, ask someone else and they’ll give you a completely different answer. The thing we can all agree about is that no-one can agree which ones are the good Tomb Raider games (other than the original, obviously).

    • stahlwerk says:

      Yeah, well I liked it, so there. ;-)

      Which may be early onset nostalgia. I had only played TR1 back in 98, and TR:U It was the first game I played on my upgraded pc, so I was totally wowed by the presentation (and still am). Could you briefly summarize what about it is considered unfinished or unpolished? (I guess the cheesing opportunities count into that)

      Also I had played neither Anniversary nor Legend, but there was an optional “The story so far” movie in the TR:Us achievement/rewards menu, which kind of succeeded in filling the missing pieces since TR:1 (Natla = bad, Parents = dead… or is it?!).

    • Xocrates says:

      @stahlwerk: heh. That was actually a reply to toni you ninja-ed. But sure ;)

      Anyway, the most visible issue is the camera. Personally I had huge issues with physics (although that one doesn’t seem to be very widespread), and otherwise there are plenty of bits and pieces that while not obvious you’ll note to be missing if you know what to look for.
      There is nothing particularly gamebreaking about it, but enough to be annoying to the less dedicated folk.

      If you’ve played the original, then Anniversary is just a remake so you didn’t really miss anything, although if you haven’t you may not be up to speed with what/who Natla really is, while Legend fills that space for Amanda and what exactly happened to Lara’s Mom.

      That said, Underworld is definitely my favourite TR (although I skipped all the games between 2 and Legend)

    • TeeJay says:

      I am currently (trying to) play through Underworld and while the motion-captured movement and the environment is really beautiful it is really let down by a moronic camera. I can often get around this a bit by pulling out my guns which allows me more control of the camera positioning, and if it gets really bad you can use the binoculars to look directly at things, but this just shows that it would have been entirely possible for the developers to easily fix the camera.

      The ‘exploration’ is very simplistic – I almost never have the sense that I have to search a level or work out a puzzle. A small example are the ‘jars’ you can break to find treasure – but the only ones which do look comopletely different to the normal jars. I’ve love to know the game-design through-process that they wen through to arrive at that (my guess – they started out with all the jars looking the same or the treasure being randomly distributed, but then someone complained that it made to “too difficult” for the ‘mainstream gamer’).

      The small amount of “combat” that is there is ridiculous auto-aiming-random-button-mashing, but since it is not central that doesn’t really matter.

      I realise that no game is going to be perfect for everyone, but I’d love it if developers at least made it possible for ‘hardcore’ gamers (ie like most of the people posting here) to tweak or mod their games.

    • Urthman says:

      If you’ve played the original, then Anniversary is just a remake so you didn’t really miss anything

      That’s about as true as saying that Quake 2 is just a remake of Doom 2, so if you’ve played Doom 2 you didn’t miss anything.

      Anything except for different gameplay, different level design, different combat, different enemies, different environments, and different

      Anniversary was inspired by the original game, but if the core gaming experience is exploring, solving puzzles, navigating your way, and enjoying the awesome environments, then playing the original doesn’t take away any of the novelty from Anniversary. Yeah, there’s a waterfall in the dinosaur caves, there’s a pair of huge statues in an underground lake which you will drain — it’s all the same in theory, on paper. But knowing these are coming, having seen the original versions, takes nothing away from how awesome they look in Anniversary.

      And Anniversary is a huge, long game like they don’t make so much anymore.

    • Urthman says:

      TJ, it’s more fun if every time Lara kicks a pot you say, “Lara Croft, world’s shittiest archeologist!” And take a drink.

    • Xocrates says:

      @Urthman: I was only talking about the story. Gameplay-wise they are significantly different beasts.

    • stahlwerk says:

      I snatched up anniversary and legend during the recently-ish eidos (?) steam sale, but haven’t had the time to play them properly, although I went about one hour into regular anniversary and a couple of hours in the game’s croft manor level. So maybe I will have both of them wrapped up when either GoL or the rumored next regular game is released. Not too hot for the prospect of Legend’s QTEs though.

      Huh, I never noticed the vases containing artifacts looked different from the empty ones… Are you sure you’re not confusing them with the red-top “Health Vases”?

      And RE: Combat is auto aiming button mashing. Yeah, that’s a valid point, but one could counter it with saying that

      1. it’s true to the series roots,

      2. you can pull off more efficient ways of wildlife/zombie slaughtering with a bit of practice. E.g. jumping off of the enemies to confuse them, also the melee system is quite useful sometimes. Never pulled off the headshot thingy that was first explained in Thailand facing the tigers, though.

      3. The Hammer. Nuff said. ;-)

    • Vandelay says:

      Anniversary is brilliant and by far the best of series so far. It creates scenes that are instantly recognisable to anyone that has played the original but makes on a much larger scale that would have been impossible when the first game was originally released (although, as Urthman says, doesn’t seem to be that common now.) It is much, much more than simply a remake.

      I also really enjoyed Underworld. I don’t really recall any particular problems with the camera and certainly less then the majority of third person games. It is also on a much larger scale than I was expecting (not to same extent Anniversary though,) and really captured that sense of adventure that is at the heart of all Tomb Raider games. Combat was nicely kept to a minimum too. I long for the day when a Tomb Raider game can be released without any guns, but for the time being they did a good job at making it fairly painless.

    • Urthman says:

      I long for the day when a Tomb Raider game can be released without any guns, but for the time being they did a good job at making it fairly painless

      I hate the combat, but the guns are too iconic to get rid of. And they’re good for shooting vases when you’re tired of kicking them. And having shooty bits in puzzles is good.

      If you’re wanting to cosplay as Lara Croft, you need (in roughly this order):

      1. Boobs
      2. Guns
      3. Ponytail
      4. Backpack
      5. Shorts
      6. British Accent

    • Mman says:

      Considering the current developers emphasis on making Lara’s tits and ass more “realistic” or whatever, I’d definitely agree the guns are the most outdated aspect of the character at this point.

      Combat could easily be improved with them staying, and even in a game with no combat at all they could still be very useful tools, but considering consumer expectations whenever there’s a gun on the screen now I think just dropping them altogether would be the easiest way for the developers to either lose the combat or do something more interesting with combat than jumping around like a hyperactive squirrel.

  6. skinlo says:

    Reminds of Trine a bit.

  7. Flameberge says:

    Well butter me up a crumpet and call me intrigued.

    I am intrigued. And interested. Looks like an attempt to make Tomb Raider a simple form of ‘fun’. Maybe my interest is based on how I’ve never liked the Tomb Raider games before; whereas people get angry when there are changes to series they hold dear, á la Fallout, X-com.

    If this does turn out to be any good, I imagine this will be a XBLA purchase rather than PC purchase for me, however.

    Also: The official logo as seen here looks very Lord of The Rings films-ish to me.

  8. Urthman says:

    1. It’s like Dark Void. “Let’s pretend Tomb Raider started out as a 2D platformer and then do a modern version of it.”

    2. It looks a lot like Trine. Which is a good thing. The new Tomb Raider series only got good when they started ripping off the modern Prince of Persian games. (Which were good partly because they ripped of Ico.)

    NOTE TO DEVELOPERS: If you have a cool license to make a game, study one or more of the very best games and shamelessly steal all the good ideas.

    3. I’ll bet that combat is overrepresented in the trailer just because it makes for a more dramatic trailer than scenes of Lara solving puzzles. And maybe they’ve found a way to make the combat fun this time?

    4. Diablo? Really? Where do you get that? Other than loot, Diablo clones are pretty much defined by not directly controlling the character, so you have to rely more on stats and strategy than reflexes. This seems like the direct opposite of that. Diablo clones don’t have a jump button.

    5. I really love Legend, Anniversary, and Underworld. They’re not as good as the Prince of Persia games, but “climb around and explore and solve puzzles in huge, beautiful environments” is my very favorite game genre, and for all their faults, the modern Tomb Raider games deliver on that core gaming experience marvelously. And they let you turn the combat down to stupidly easy if you want to basically ignore it and get on with the exploring. I understand complaints about the camera, but the controls (I use mouse and keyboard) seem great to me. Assuming you customize the keyboard setup (hint – move WASD over to ESDF to give yourself more keys in easy reach – and put your hand in the home row where it belongs).

    6. Are there Tomb Raider fans who are mad about this? It’s hard to imagine. Especially since it’s more of an extra bonus game than a change in direction for the franchise. And I don’t understand the comments about using Lara as a marketing ploy. Does anyone think this would be a better game if they used brand new IP? Lara seems like a very natural fit for this style of game.

  9. Brulleks says:

    After Angel of Darkness I’d be surprised if there were any hardcore Tomb Raider fans with enough tears left to weep, even if it did upset them.

  10. Maxwell says:

    This is not “isometric.” Isometric means 3D without perspective distortion, so two objects of the same size always appear the same size on the screen, regardless how far they are from the camera. It’s often used as a way of achieving 3D gameplay with simple 2D rendering. Think SNES-era RPGs, qbert, or the knight lore game recently posted here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isometric_projection

  11. Luka says:

    I’m really happy that this game is in development as I’m a big TR fan and was quite disappointed after some announcements that TRU was the last in the series. AFAIK, it was published in such unpolished state because they run out of money. Much of the content was cut and, finally, the sales were disappointing.

    It will be interesting to see how GoL will turn out. It looks quite interesting so far and I see no problem with it being isometric game and being different from the rest of the franchise. The only thing I don’t like is the fact that they’re using the music from TRU and TRA (at least in the trailer). That music is wonderful and I was expecting more new stuff because I like it so much.

    On the other hand, some time ago some leaked photos of new TR game were published on the internet (not sure if here or RPS). So is this it or maybe we’re in for more TR games in the near future? :)

    • Xocrates says:

      This one is a spin off. There is a major title confirmed to be in development.

      Also, TR:U was a slow seller, but it managed to get decent sales and apparently even outsell Legend and Anniversary

  12. jonfitt says:

    It’s Diablo with guns!

    But seriously, it looks quite good. I always hated TR’s tendency towards shooty bang sections and completely went off the series around 3. (From your description it sounds like I should give Underworld a shake).

    It’s funny that along with Mirror’s Edge, both games are their best when shooting is not involved, yet the designers always feel compelled to have some violence.

  13. CMaster says:

    Wow, I’m actually vaugley interested in this having seen the trailer, and I haven’t been since the demo of the very first one was confusing, tedious and had that annoying Lara Croft in it.

  14. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    Are we just saying isometric because it is easier to say than ’3d game with fixed camera angle’?

  15. Baf says:

    This is not isometric. Look at those floor tiles: the ones in front occupy more screen space than the similarly-sized ones in back. That’s the opposite of what “isometric” means. This is just ordinary linear perspective from a raise oblique vantage point.

    • AndrewC says:

      A OLPFAROVP game. Which is quite good fun to say. Walker: Let this be your final warning about game perspective descriptions.

  16. Wednesday says:

    Oh Underworld, you were so very, very good. Why can’t we have more of that?

  17. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    Well, that was certainly unexpected.

  18. WiPa says:

    I wish Lara Croft didn’t always sound like a right numpty.

  19. Howl says:

    Kuri Kuri Mix + Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance… imo.

    Looks fun =D

  20. raigan says:

    For the love of god people (especially the OP/author), as others have said: STOP CALLING THIS “ISOMETRIC”!!

    Would you just casually start misusing other geometric jargon like “parallel” or “orthogonal” or “anisotropic”? No, because you’d sound like a fool.

    There’s definitely perspective projection happening in that video, the camera just happens to be at a 3/4-perspective-type angle. Make up a new word to describe this approach if you must, but don’t call it “isometric” because it’s not.

    See also http://begthequestion.info/

    • Jimbo says:

      I got “orthogonal” with your mum last night. If you know what I’m sayin’.

    • AndrewC says:

      Gosh, Jimbo, I hope you were using anisotropic filtering.

    • Jimbo says:

      Of course. I would never bisect his mum’s concave without contrapositive; I might catch grades!

  21. JohnDoe says:

    That…. actually looks really good.

  22. Jacques2 says:

    Bating/ True: I hate turn based games

    Onto the point, this looks kind of fun, and as for it looking like diablo or not, it’s just the camera angle (and the dungeon crawling, and the enemies, and the puzzles), which is best described as isometric, because that’s what it mainly looks like, and had they had decent enough tech in the isometric days, I’d bet they’d do the same thing. It’s not a gameplay style, it’s a rendering format heavily associated with one.