We still have nine months to wait until Crystal Dynamics’ reboot of the Tomb Raider series sees its release, but the developer offered the media a new look at the survival-themed title at E3. Taking place shortly after Lara’s ship crashes, we saw the heroine get put through the ringer for nearly thirty straight minutes.
Fresh out of college, the 21 year-old aspiring archaeologist finds herself overlooking the ship Endurance’s wreckage at the outset of the demo. Scrambling to find any potential survivors, she begins blindly exploring her unknown environment. She walks over fallen trees and climbs across a small, crashed plane before eventually finding a pile of supplies that may belong to her group.
Attempting to communicate via a radio she found in the supplies, she’s met with nothing but static. As night falls, her breath becomes visible and she struggles to stay warm. She finds a match box amongst the wreckage, but it only contains one match. Luckily, she’s able to maintain a small fire and survive the night.
Morning comes, and Lara’s need for warmth has shifted into an immediate need to eat. While further exploring the area, she comes across a decaying body hanging from a tree. This should probably be reason for concern, but all Lara seems to care about is the bow attached to the corpse. She climbs a tree and knocks the body down, falling hard herself in the process. With her new weapon, she’s now able to hunt.
Lara takes down a deer with a couple of arrows, and is rewarded with XP upon skinning the animal. This experience system will allow her to upgrade her items and weapons, and also grants her new survival skills. These include Hunter, a perk that makes edible animals stand out more, making them easier to hunt.
After eating, Lara heads inside what appears to be an abandoned outpost. She climbs down a ladder and encounters a room filled with rotting meat. With a look of disgust, she pulls a tool out of one of the animal carcasses. Crystal Dynamics referred to this tool as her pry axe, and it can eventually be upgraded and strengthened as more XP is earned.
She exits the building to encounter one of her fellow survivors at a fire next to a shady-looking man with a crutch. He feigns friendliness before holding Lara’s friend at knifepoint. As he escapes with the girl, Lara fails in an attempt to hit him with an arrow. She tries to pursue the man, but becomes ensnared in a bear trap.
With her leg rendered immobile, she then has to defend herself against a pack of hungry wolves that leap through the tall grass surrounding her. Once several wolves are taken down, the rest of the survivors appear and help to free Lara’s leg. The Endurance’s expedition was led by a character known as Dr. Whitman, and he sets off with Lara to find the captain of the ship.
They climb stone stairs on their way up a mountain, and eventually come across a new camp. Wolves attack once again, and Lara and Whitman are met with more dangerous-looking men once the animals are taken out. Lara is tackled and bound by the men, then dragged to a location that houses the rest of her (also-bound) crew. She manages to elude her captors, and runs off with her hands still tied.
One man shoves her up against a wall, but Lara is able to take him down with a knee to his groin and a painful-looking bite of his ear. With the man knocked down, she scrambles to grab his gun. He pounces on top of her, she struggles to point the gun at his head, and then shoots him directly through the brain. The man convulses on the ground, making nonsensical noises for a few seconds until he finally dies. Clearly distraught over killing a man for the first time, Lara appears almost ready to vomit. She stands up with the gun in her still-bound hands, and the demo ends.
It’s a shockingly gruesome scene, especially for a franchise that has never been known for graphic violence. Considering this all happens so early in the game, we can’t imagine how much more pain Lara will have to endure when the game releases next March.