Interview with Adrian Smith (1999)
- GameSpot.co.uk -
Prepare for a real revelation as GameSpot UK talks to Adrian Smith Operations Director at Core Design, as he gives us the inside story on Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation and what it's like Living With Lara.
How far are you into Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation?
Development started in the middle of 98 whilst work was in progress for Tomb Raider III.
Drakan is looking great - will Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation look even better?
Why of course it will!
Drakan has multiplayer, what about Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation?
I think Lara's more than enough for most people to handle! We've looked at the multiplayer approach, but nothing is planned for the foreseeable future.
On which platforms will Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation be appearing?
PlayStation and PC.
So what's the plot this time?
We've made the basis of the story a lot simpler this time around - the player is given a very clear objective from the outset. The plot will twist and turn as Lara progresses, but the ultimate goal always remains in sight.
Very basically, Lara inadvertently releases something rather nasty whilst breaking into an ancient tomb... and of course she's the only one who can put things right. The path of true adventure never runs smooth so Lara will have various tasks to complete before she's able to face a final confrontation.
The story is set entirely in Egypt. Last Revelation is not about covering vast distances - it's a very continuous experience where the storyline unfolds throughout via seamless cuts and FMVs. These may be triggered at any time during gameplay, rather than just between specific locations. As you can imagine, the scope for locations, architecture, atmosphere, puzzles, enemies etc. is tremendous!
Will Lucozade be appearing in the new game?
No - we'll be using the traditional medi-packs.
For the PC are you using the Tomb Raider III engine or building a new one?
For the first time we are producing a dedicated PC version which is not constrained by what can or can't be done on the PSX. In essence the whole of the game engine for Last Revelation is new. In terms of format, the two versions of the game are the same, but there will be elements on the PC version that will make use of the hardware specific features (bumpmapping, etc. ). There will also be subtle differences between the two versions, with the PC maybe having some new features that are not available on the PSX version.
Do you fear a press backlash against the new game as quite a few journalists hated the last one?
I can't say that we were ever aware that the game was actually hated! Despite any number of new features and improvements, the game is still, in essence, 'Tomb Raider' - an adventure game featuring Lara Croft. What we have done this time is completely readdress a number of key elements. This will immediately distinguish Last Revelation from its predecessors and bring fresh life to the title. The on-screen format is completely new - gone are the old inventory rings, loading screens etc.
It's always been our intention to make the fourth game as accessible to as many people (both old fans and new users) as possible. We've focused on simpler gameplay so the game will be easier than TR III in terms of direction and objectives. Players will know exactly what to do, and where they have to do it. The difficulty lies in solving the puzzles that will enable players to complete objectives - so it's very much like the original game in that respect. A very clear storyline and single location means that a lot less time is wasted covering vast distances. The philosophy behind Last Revelation is much more akin to the original title in terms of its puzzle mechanics, ancient locations and atmosphere.
In some ways Last Revelation is a prequel to the trilogy, but the technical advances will make it far more detailed and atmospheric. If you've never played a Tomb Raider game, this is the one that we'll be recommending!
Do you think that Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation will be as big as Tomb Raider III?
In terms of size, the locations are much tighter and feature many smaller rooms that enable the player to really focus on the task in hand. Since this is a single adventure, we can't count number of levels etc. but the actual size of the whole game is no shorter than players have experienced in the past. In terms of sales - we're obviously hoping that this will be the best-selling title and as stated earlier, it will be the most accessible TR title yet.
Why not ditch the Tomb Raider label and call the games "The Adventures Of Lara Croft"?
Tomb Raider III was subtitled 'Adventures of Lara Croft' due to the fact that the game comprised five separate adventures. We're now focusing on a single, continuous experience, so 'Adventures' isn't applicable in this instance. We try to give each game a title that denotes the flavour of the adventure e.g. Dagger of Xian, Last Revelation. But if we produce further Tomb Raider titles, who knows!
Can you tell us about any of the new enemies that Lara will face?
We're concentrating on highly-detailed enemies - there may be fewer of these but they will certainly be more purposeful than those seen in previous titles. Since we're dealing with Egypt, our artists and animators have really been able to let their imaginations go, so we've got mythological baddies as well as natives and generics. Due to the nature of the plot, you'll find a lot of rather strange things happening and don't be surprised if you find that you're pitting your skill against an adversary throughout the adventure.
When can we expect to see Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation and will there be a Tomb Raider V?
November 1999 and well you know what they say... You just can't keep a good girl down...!
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