by Rob Crossley

Rise of the Tomb Raider will star a distraught Lara Croft one year after her perilous expedition across the Yamatai, now obsessed with immortality myths and venturing across the frozen wilds of Siberia for answers.

The new details were disclosed in the latest edition of Game Informer magazine, which describes the Crystal Dynamics-developed adventure as both a fight against the savagery of nature and Lara’s internal battle with the trauma from her last game.

Storms, avalanches, wolves, and grizzly bears are just some of the natural hazards that players will encounter in the snow-blanketed region of Russia. According to Crystal Dynamics, the game will also take players though other distinct locations across the globe, with Game Informer citing “dusty sandscapes, dense forests, and underwater caverns”.

“Lara feels like an outsider in the real world”
— franchise director Noah Hughes

Rise of the Tomb Raider follows Lara one year after her fight for survival in Yamatai. Having discovered on that island what she believed was an immortal being, Lara is now in search of Kitezhm, a mythical city she believes can be found in Siberia, which could provide answers to her question.

“People think she’s crazier than she is,” said franchise creative director Noah Hughes.

“If you came back [from Yamatai] and started talking about an immortal being and a secret sun-worshipping cult, that’s a tough pill to swallow. So Lara feels like an outsider in the real world. Her next expedition is a way of dealing with the trauma she’s been through, but it’s also a way of finding peace by chasing any shred of evidence that what she saw was real.”

Players will have enhanced options for crafting new survival gear along the way. Plants, minerals, metals, clothes, hides, and other rare relics can be collected, though some preparation will be required to amass enough items for crafting.

“You might have a particular upgrade that requires an alpha wolf hide, but wolves only come out at certain times of the day,” Hughes says, inferring to some form of day-night cycle within the game world.

The serious tone and sheer brutality of the previous game will also make a comeback here, he said, and the effects on Lara’s psychology will be fairly well pronounced.

“Lara’s learned a lot from the last game, but she doesn’t have unflinching confidence. She can’t face unlimited opponents unscathed. She’s in a life-and-death situation, so we want to capture a certain amount of humanity by showing that Lara is continually challenged as a character. It’s important for us to capture those moments where she is uncertain about her identity, her direction, or her ability to come out alive.”

In the video above, Hughes also appeared to suggest that the game would lean on more of a Metroidvania style, with environmental puzzles to explore and overcome.

“We love that game structure, I think the most important thing to us is really to live up to that promise of tomb-raiding, and make sure that–as much as this is a game about traversal, exploration and combat–it’s also very much about tombs and puzzle solving.”

Crystal Dynamics also reveals in the Game Informer article that the Tomb Raider development team worked 18-hour days for about a year in order to finish the 2013 reboot on time. It adds that sales, including those of the Definitive Edition, now totals more than 7 million units.

Rise of the Tomb Raider will be a timed Xbox One and Xbox 360 exclusive, scheduled for release later this year, and published by Microsoft.

The Xbox 360 version will be developed by an external studio.

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