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Old 15-09-19, 19:02   #1
Cochrane
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Default Make Lara Poor

This is just a thought experiment. Let's assume the following:

1. There's another reboot. I mean, why wouldn't there be? Not even Lara is enjoying these things.
2. We still insist on this nonsense that a Tomb Raider game must have a "story" and "relatable characters" and such things, even though all the great games with the Tomb Raider name had only the barest outlines of either.
3. We want to go back to raiding tombs and having adventures (but the bow or the shooting sections are entirely up for grabs).
4. We want it to be fun and lighthearted, going back to an adventure that is fun for everyone, including Lara.

The problem here is that the last two are kind of incompatible in the modern day and age, because as many people have pointed out, classic Lara Croft is kind of evil. She's not an archeologist, she's a thrill seeker going to foreign places, destroying most of their historical artefacts and taking the rest home to hide them in her basement. She does prevent the end of the world a couple of times along the way, but that seems to happen mostly by accident, and she usually inadvertently helped the villain cause it first anyway. This is not really a problem in the classic games, because the writing in those doesn't try to portray Lara as a good person, or as a bad person, or as a person at all. And obviously that's ideal for this franchise, but I guess we're not going to go back to those times ever again.

L/A/U tried to increase story focus but keep Lara the same, which just made that whole dilemma more visible and problematic. I'm still sad that I had to kill the Octopus at the start of Underworld. He didn't deserve Lara Croft happening to him.

The reboot games tried to tackle this problem pretty much the same way as AoD did, weirdly enough: By making it really clear that Lara Croft doesn't actually want to have this epic amazing adventure, and is very sad about all the awesome stuff she does. She just does it all because she's "got to" do it, even if the thing is clearly marked as an optional challenge tomb that she totally does not "have to" do. This just jettisons the whole "we're all having fun" aspect of the game. I hate that and I want it to go away.

There's no resolution here - as long as Lara Croft is rich. Lara Croft is the typical 19th century British explorer brought into the 1990s without thinking about it. She's entitled to do all the damage she does because, well, she's British and rich and that's what rich British people do. Also, she's opposed to the end of the world, which is the level the game's stories have to get to in order to give her any sort of moral high ground. There's a whole discussion to be had about how Lara Croft represents 100% standard colonial attitudes, but bringing that up would just give me another visit from the "political correctness is out of control police", who insist that we can't talk about these topics.

But here's the thing: We want Lara to be likeable and to have fun. We don't necessarily care if she's a bad person. Many fun video game protagonists are unrepentant bad people; thieves and murderers whose only saving grace is that at least their doing their crimes for an understandable reason, like clear their name or feed a starving family or something. Lara Croft, who is rich and does her crimes only because she'd be bored otherwise, doesn't have that. But if we take away her money and make stealing priceless artefacts her job, the whole situation changes immediately. Yes, she has no moral right to take that artefact, but she does it anyway because it gets money on the table and she's really good at it and enjoys it. She's still evil, but at least she's no longer chaotic evil, if you will.

This also immediately solves the age-old question of why Lara doesn't just bring all the guns from her previous game to her new one, or why she has to look money in the levels or similar. No, it's not a real problem, but it's still nice to have that loose end tied up.

It's a massive change in Lara's characterisation, of course, but in the reboot, the only thing the "she's from a rich family" part of her backstory has ever provided was daddy issues, and I don't really mind if we got rid of those.

I think what I'm describing might be similar to Uncharted. I wouldn't know, I've never played those games (I don't have a console and have no plans to ever buy one as long as there are still model railroad trains I could buy with the money instead). But either way, so what? People will keep making these comparisons anyway. Just make the gameplay fun and the level design amazing.
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Old 15-09-19, 19:28   #2
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No what we need is the real Lara Croft story. She went against her parents wishes and went after her dream of globe trotting shooting bats and Dinosaurs that never died in a Peruvian cave. jk.
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Old 15-09-19, 19:46   #3
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Well apart from her home which she inherited from her aunt, classic Lara relied heavily in the literature from her adventures to find her life. Although looking at the stash she had in TR2 I’m sure she had other means too. Rather than make Lara poor I’d like to see her lifestyle fund her again. I thought this was going to be the direction they would take her with all the Atlas stuff from Rise.
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Old 15-09-19, 23:06   #4
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Just make treasure hunting her job/hobby. Stuff like needing to "save the world" or "becoming who she's destined to be" is what's causing all the dissonance in the first place.
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Old 15-09-19, 23:24   #5
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Honestly, intentionally done or not, I think part of the original allure of Lara was the irony of a "proper" upper class person being a thief at heart.

A gentleman thief. Honourable yet criminal. Charismatic yet selfish.

If you take that away you end up with what we have in the reboots where they've effectively taken her wealth away from her and her upper classness. I know she is supposedly rich and has a manor and is upper class, but to all intents and purposes they've normalised her to such an extent that she is your typical British young person. She's no different from a Doctor's or any other professional's, daughter. Her wealth and upper classness plays no role in her story beyond backdrop scenery. It doesn't affect her personality, that I can see anyway.

Her father even looks like a council worker in Rise (to me).

If anything I think they should go back and play it up a bit more. She isn't meant to be upper middle class, she if meant to be part of the aristocracy. Priviliged and posh.

But anyway........

What I really think they need to do (which I've posted inumerable times before) is make the mystery itself more interesting. Something that we genuinely have to fathom out. Something that vexes our understanding and not something that we know right from the opening exposition scene pretty much how things will run.

There needs to be unpredictability. A bit of wtf is happening in terms of plot, characters actions, location solving, the whole thing basically.
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Old 16-09-19, 00:10   #6
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I think they should embrace her status as a rebellious aristocrat. Lara may have questionable morals but her cause makes you want to stand behind her. She mostly goes on adventures for fun but it was also a way of her rebelling against the elitist society that she grew up in.
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Old 16-09-19, 01:05   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jajay119 View Post
Well apart from her home which she inherited from her aunt, classic Lara relied heavily in the literature from her adventures to find her life. Although looking at the stash she had in TR2 I’m sure she had other means too. Rather than make Lara poor I’d like to see her lifestyle fund her again. I thought this was going to be the direction they would take her with all the Atlas stuff from Rise.
This. I don’t mind Lara having some sort of inheritance, but her “riches” coming from her literary works or just something from her lifestyle is a more interesting approach, especially in this “herdy gerdy independence tho” society.


On the topic of classic Lara being kind of “evil”, I’d say she only truly ever bordered on that in the first three games, particularly TR3 where she had a very questionable morality. But even then, I wouldn’t say she was some terrible person as a whole. She was just more of an antihero.

If we ever saw her again, and more fleshed out at that, I think she would be like Top Cow Lara or something similar where she has a past or history that left quite a few scars. And I can imagine her struggling with that even if it isn’t at the front of her mind 24/7. They could play with that in a game to make her not seem totally like a mindlessly evil girl.
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Old 16-09-19, 01:29   #8
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I do not like this idea... why keep changing Lara's bio? No thanks.
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Old 16-09-19, 03:45   #9
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At this rate in the next game Lara will be a asian woman called stephanie, and she finds a tomb entrance near her desk in the building where she works as a secretary.
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Old 16-09-19, 04:01   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCL@R@ View Post
No what we need is the real Lara Croft story. She went against her parents wishes and went after her dream of globe trotting shooting bats and Dinosaurs that never died in a Peruvian cave. jk.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jajay119 View Post
Well apart from her home which she inherited from her aunt, classic Lara relied heavily in the literature from her adventures to find her life. Although looking at the stash she had in TR2 I’m sure she had other means too. Rather than make Lara poor I’d like to see her lifestyle fund her again. I thought this was going to be the direction they would take her with all the Atlas stuff from Rise.
Quote:
Originally Posted by biscuits View Post
Just make treasure hunting her job/hobby. Stuff like needing to "save the world" or "becoming who she's destined to be" is what's causing all the dissonance in the first place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JsotoTRSaga View Post
I do not like this idea... why keep changing Lara's bio? No thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by veigafd View Post
At this rate in the next game Lara will be a asian woman called stephanie, and she finds a tomb entrance near her desk in the building where she works as a secretary.
Pretty much sums up my thoughts. I just want a return to the real Lara Croft character and backstory. I don't care if that's in the form of a classic continuation or another full fledged reboot. Just bring back the character as she was originally intended rather than going with another bastardized interpretation like "being poor".

I've really grown tired of the endless backstory changes and resets. The guilt ridden hero complex and being everybody's white savior. The fixation on dead mommy/daddy issues and following in their footsteps. The pretentious drivel about "becoming the Tomb Raider she's destined to be" as if its some kind of prestigious title that has to be earned. Each time they keep losing sight of who Lara is and keep moving further and further away from her original characterization that she's becoming stripped of her identity.

Last edited by Krumpet; 16-09-19 at 05:09.
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