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Old 30-07-20, 10:03   #41
Dan-d
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Originally Posted by Joey79100 View Post
I haven't read the whole thread yet, but I just wanted to comment on that: they initially did not want to make it a Tomb Raider game, but Eidos wanted them to keep the name and the brand in general. So, I guess you can't really blame them for wanting to do something else.
Isn't much of an excuse.
Eidos order the new game of the well-established franchise, but Core decided to go their own direction with it. I mean...
At my previous job, after we were done with the third installment of the game, the producers said we're going to start working on the 4th one. But most of the staff was sick of working on the series, so we left. Core's employes on the other hand decided to mess it up for everyone involved in the development.
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Old 30-07-20, 13:57   #42
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The project was ambitious and it needed that type of ambition because people were getting tired of the same ole content.

I was down with just having "Lara Croft: Angel of Darkness". It was the character that we all loved in a new light. There was a story building up. I felt like it was heading into something deeper than just "Tomb Raider". There was more depth and character development. IF the game was paced faster and finished of course it would've been fun.

It was really like an oh **** moment.

Here's your favorite heroin in some effed up situation. You gotta make your way out of it. Lara was hurt, angry, traumatized and needed help. It was a build up. At some point you were going raid a TOMB because its Lara Croft its what she does AND the situation at hand was going to lead her to it.

The RPG, stealth and combat would've been fine tuned and stylized that would set her apart from other PS2 counter parts. I feel like it would've worked if given the time and patience for development.
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Old 30-07-20, 16:36   #43
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Isn't much of an excuse.
Eidos order the new game of the well-established franchise, but Core decided to go their own direction with it. I mean...
At my previous job, after we were done with the third installment of the game, the producers said we're going to start working on the 4th one. But most of the staff was sick of working on the series, so we left. Core's employes on the other hand decided to mess it up for everyone involved in the development.
Well, most developers also aren't forced by their publishers to pump out games consecutively year after year. AOD has many, many problems. Some of which are most certainly Core's fault.

But the idea that they should be at fault for being burned out for having to release an entire new game every year, in the same series - with almost the same formula between every single one, is asinine. The Last Revelation was supposed to end Tomb Raider altogether, because Core was losing their spark for it. When Eidos wasn't having it, that's why we got the subpar Chronicles. AOD necessitated trying something new, otherwise Core would have lost sales anyway from increasingly stale gameplay. AOD was an attempt also to turn the focus on Lara herself, because Core was tired of Tomb Raider, not Lara necessarily. But Eidos treated them as the "Tomb Raider people". If you don't give a development team breathing room to work on other projects, of course they're going to get burned out.

You can most certainly argue that if they were that tired of churning them out that they could've just passed on the torch to another developer. But I don't think Core should be shamed for at least attempting to be innovative for the time, no matter how the final product ended up.

Last edited by Jathom95; 30-07-20 at 16:46.
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Old 30-07-20, 18:25   #44
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Returning to say I'm no longer on the fence - I disagree! And here's why:

There are so many other PS2 titles that did the things AOD wanted to (as described in OP) that weren't broken, unfinished, or hindered by the inability to be patched.

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Back in the day you couldn't do big levels (except for GTA which hadn't the best graphics back then) and since they aimed for good graphics etc. and also the hardware not being like today, it didn't worked. Nowadays you have games like the Reboot or Rise which have these big hubs with no loading screens between them. So we got loading screens every 2 seconds and if AOD was released today, we would've had maybe just big Hubs like they planned with the Ghetto for example.
In essence: level streaming! But the thing is...this was already being done by other developers before AOD released. Check out this video on Crystal Dynamics' data streaming tech in The Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver for PS1 (the relevant bit starts at 10:03 and ends around 14:29.):


Important quote from 13:03: "It was truly functional to run from one end of the world to another without seeing a single loading screen. Prior to Soul Reaver, this was unheard of on a disc based console." I point this out to show that efficient data streaming was possible even in the PS1 era. And Soul Reaver was a good looking game for its era! Showing that good quality graphics and level streaming were possible before AOD.

But I have a better example and more direct comparison: Primal, developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Eurpoe and released in March of 2003. Primal has a lot in common with TR and AOD. There are four unique worlds to explore, two of them being based around ancient Rome and ancient Egypt - very TR-centric locations. The gameplay involves exploring and navigating through these large worlds, seeking other characters and talking to them, solving puzzles, fighting enemies, and unlocking different demonic forms for your player to transform into, which grants you special abilities. Here's a bit of footage for reference:

After an initial loading screen, you don't encounter any loading screens in the world. Very rarely you have a 5-15 second pause, similar to SoTR's "wait for streaming." Graphically, the game is similar to AOD. Both share a similar art style, and while AOD has some higher poly environments, the overall fidelity of Primal isn't far off from AOD. Primal has a rich story and lots of cutscenes, in the same cinematic vein of AOD, and also has a great orchestral soundtrack, performed and recorded live ala AOD. Ultimately, Primal makes me think of what AOD could have been if the development hadn't been wrought with chaos and mismanagement.

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Another point is the fixing of games. Back in the day you couldn't patch/fix games on the PS2 like nowadays. They released patches for AOD on PC but they patched not much like patches do today. Let's take The Division or No Man's Sky for example. Ubisoft released that huge 1.4 Patch for TD with lots and lots of fixes or even new content. Same happened with No Man's Sky recently. They put so much content into the game with just one single patch. Imagine this with AOD and how they could've put content into the game which was cut or unfinished. Sadly it couldn't be done back then.
While PS2 games couldn't be patched or expanded like nowadays, that to me doesn't indicated that AOD was released in the wrong era. It would have benefited big time from post release patching, but if it had just been complete and polished at the time of release, it wouldn't have needed patching. NOT trying to be harsh at all, but IMO this line of thinking kind of says "devs these days can get away with releasing unfinished games (like AOD was) because they can fix them in post release patches." Like, AOD was ahead of its time in that it tried to release unfinished and be patched later. It's a bit silly, isn't it? I do understand what you were getting at, and I'm not trying to be mean, just putting a different perspective on it.

So to summarize, tl;dr: there are too many games from the same era that accomplished the things AOD sought to for me to say the game was ahead of its time. It was in line with the way games were headed, but there was nothing that AOD wanted to do that it couldn't because it wasn't technically possible during that generation.

And I of course need to mention that I love AOD and am obsessed with it. But I can't deny that it's an unfinished game with a lot of issues. The devs are not blameless for its failures, but I forgive them anyway.

Last edited by Kapu; 30-07-20 at 18:27.
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Old 30-07-20, 19:00   #45
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That's a great comparison. Most of the problems involve mismanagement I think. Side-note: I also believe that Primal had the Kurtis Trent voice actor.
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Old 30-07-20, 19:12   #46
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That's right! Lewis from Primal and Kurits are both voiced by Eric Loren. Another thing the two games have in common!
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Old 30-07-20, 19:33   #47
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It was definitely ahead of it's time since all that open world, sand box, or 'metrovania' gameplay as someone here coined it seems to be the norm in gaming these days. Imagine streets of Paris and Prague like in Assassin's Creed 2, with stealthing between NPCs in order to follow or take out your target; I think stuff like that would've been exactly what would've worked for AOD... rather then deserted streets of Paris with 1 prostitute who never gets any business it seems...

Funnily enough though, I still love replaying AOD and I can't stand any of these major AAA games anymore with all this open-world-city-NPCs-exploration crap. So I guess it's good AOD is as primitive as it is.

Also, bear in mind that the movies were a big factor in kind of screwing Core with their new concept for Lara and AOD. Core wanted to move away from the usual Tomb Raider concept because they were bored and sick of it... but at the same time, the first AJ Tomb Raider movie was coming out, and then AOD was delayed so many times that it came out roughly at the same time as the second AJ movie. So, it's a bit difficult if you're trying to market the TR franchise with big blockbuster movies but at the same time you are killing off your character so she can have a "dark rebirth" and no longer be the tomb raider but instead the dark-angel-city-fugitive. Don't get me wrong, I love the new direction Core wanted to go in, but it would've almost been better for them had the movies been a part of the TR1-3 era rather than the later era when they wanted to transition Lara from tombs to something else.

Having said all that, whether they wanted it to be more open world/fast travel/city-sandbox-exploration like today's games or not, the best aspects of AOD are still its TOMBS - everything from Louvre Galleries down to Hall of Seasons is far better than any other part of the game imo. So whether they liked it or not, Core were simply destined to build tombs and tomb raiding games.
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Old 30-07-20, 20:15   #48
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I see a lot of peoples talking how about the hubs were a new thing back then for the franchise and games for PS2 but games like Sonic Adventure was doing that way before AOD and at the same time as The Last Revelation. In the game you have three hubs Station Square/Mystic Ruins (that you can visit by taking a train or a boat) and the Egg Carrier (Robotnik airforteress) you can also talk with the characters just like an RPG (but most of them are useless) gain abilities to change your character play the same story with multiples characters and all that was on the Sega Dreamcast. All that make me think about something... You also have hubs on Jet Grind Radio another Dreamcast title (with an OST that rock).
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Old 31-07-20, 01:28   #49
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Level streaming! But the thing is...this was already being done by other developers before AOD released. Check out this video on Crystal Dynamics' data streaming tech in The Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver for PS1 (the relevant bit starts at 10:03 and ends around 14:29.):
Richard Morton said they wanted level streaming at the time, but couldn't get it to work and had to restructure the levels to accommodate. You can see this with how much had to be cut out of Parisian Backstreets alone, the early footage had a few more streets to run around.

Interview with Richard Morton

I don't recall where I read this, (somewhere on this forum, but from which thread I don't know) but the reason they couldn't get a streaming engine to work was the team in that first year built an engine that loaded everything at once like the old one, and it was too late to change it when the veterans came on to take the lead.

EDIT: I just noticed he mentions that the scrapyard level was partially built before they ditched it (presumably it would be far too big to load, and they couldn't break the line of sight with buildings like in the ghetto), I'd love to see what they had come up with even if it's only a chunk.

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