Early in the production of Rise of the Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics put together something called a rippomatic to help set an emotional tone for the rest of development. A rippomatic is basically an faux trailer for the game, created before any assets or even a game’s story has been fully fleshed out. It’s a common practice in the development of video games, and is built out of a collection of scenes from movies that help set the mood of the game and give something the team (and those financing the game) can see early on to get an idea of the ultimate goal of the game.

“We look at media as a place to start and give us ideas and inspire us to make something better,” says the Rise of the Tomb Raider’s director Brian Horton. It’s not necessarily that the plot of these films will mirror that of Rise of the Tomb Raider, or in some cases are even particularly good films, they just all feature specific scenes of emotional resonance, or cool visuals that the team hopes to emulate for their own purposes. “It informs the gestalt of what ultimately becomes our own idea. It’s basically a sketch,” says Horton.

Rambo: First Blood Part II
Crystal Dynamics does not see Lara Croft as having much in common with Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo character, but the film does have some great examples of stealthy guerrilla warfare, which is something Lara uses to overcome her enemies.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Lara and Sarah Connor both share the burden of truth. Connor knows what is going to happen in the future, but no one believes her, so she takes matters into her own hands at great expense. The plot points of Lara’s journey in Rise of the Tomb Raider may be different from Sarah’s, but she is also burdened with a truth that no one believes (the existence of an immortal soul), and she is putting herself in great danger to prove it.

The Edge
This 1997 film casts an unprepared and unequipped group of men into the wilderness following a plane crash. One of the major plot points of the film is the group's experiences avoiding and battling a fierce Kodiak bear. Scenes from this movie made it into Rise of the Tomb Raider's rippomatic because it did a great job answering the question, what is it like to be chased and pursued by a bear?

For more of the films Crystal Dynamics used to help shape the tone and direction of Rise of the Tomb Raider, head to page two.