Lara Croft, British adventurer and game icon, age 25
A quarter of a century of tomb raiding, Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics celebrate
Whether you were actually there to remember Lara Croft's rather pointy polygonal in-game breasts back in 1996 - or just read about it in magazine features - of course you've heard about the Tomb Raider series. You've probably played at least one of the "proper" console or PC titles (if only to find out what the fuss was all about) and you sure as hell remember Angelina Jolie as Lara bouncing up and down while shooting intruders in the Croft Manor during the first movie. Well, that British posh fox is now 25 years old - don't linger on how old that made you feel, yes? - and publisher Square Enix, as well as current custodian Crystal Dynamics, celebrate that quarter-of-a-century tomb raiding in various ways.
There's the official 25-year-anniversary website that went live earlier this year, which is constantly updated with content following Lara’s adventures from the first one in 1996 all through the latest in 2018. Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics offer "in-depth explorations of the major games released in the franchise, including nostalgic media deep from the archives, developer interviews, community activities, live playthroughs and more". All of that is included in the aforementioned anniversary website and promoted via the official social media channels of Tomb Raider.
For people who are too young to remember Lara's first adventures, there are a few modern options available. There are a couple of official Lara Croft character skins for Fortnite, for instance, which were released as part of Chapter 2, Season 6 update for Epic's mega-popular title. Then there's the Tomb Raider: Definitive Survivor Trilogy: this consists of all three "prequel" titles in their - you guessed it - definitive edition with all the extra content released for each over the years. The Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration and Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition collectively offer dozens of hours of quality gameplay and, costing as a pack less than a new video game release, are well worth the purchase. The Tomb Raider: Definitive Survivor Trilogy is available for PS4 and Xbox One S/X, also playable on PS5 and Xbox Series S|X.
Then it’s the new stuff Lara Croft fans can look forward to. There's been some talk, for instance, about a game that will be supposedly based on the next Tomb Raider movie (starring Alicia Vikander like in the previous one released in 2018). This has in no way been confirmed yet - and, truth be told, the way things have been going in film production and game development during the pandemic, nobody would be surprised to learn that if such a project was in the works, it's now put on hold. The only confirmed Tomb Raider title definitely coming soon(ish) is the one developed by a new Square Enix London studio: a mobile game called Tomb Raider Reloaded. It's a free-to-play (with in-app purchases), top-down action/puzzle game that's due out at some point next year for iOS and Android.
What we really look forward to, though, is a "proper", full-on Tomb Raider title we can sink our teeth into, enjoying that mix of exploration, puzzles and fighting that made the series so popular. We already know from a small number of leaks that a new Tomb Raider game is in the works, one that will strive "to align the timeline" of the original TR series with the one of its reboot. It will be the first true "next-generation" entry of the series, developed specifically for the PS5, the Xbox Series S|X and powerful PCs. By the sound of it, gamers can expect advanced features like true 4K resolution, high dynamic range color, variable refresh rate, SSD-streamed content and ray-tracing for the most photorealistic adventure Lara has ever had to date.
Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics remain silent about all this, for now, so nothing is officially confirmed yet, but we'd be surprised if we did not get some news on that front by spring 2022. Fingers crossed!