E3: Lara Croft Gets a 'Tomb Raider' Video Game Reboot

Crystal Dynamics reinvents the globe-trotting archaeologist in new origin story.

Just as Hollywood is giving Lara Croft a big-screen reboot, developer Crystal Dynamics is introducing a very young Lara Croft on her very first adventure in Tomb Raider. The new game for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC will ship in fall 2012, but is making its debut at game publisher Square Enix's E3 booth this week.

The new Lara Croft is 21 years old and fresh out of college, when a storm capsizes her boat off the coast of a mysterious island. Darrell Gallagher, head of studio Crystal Dynamics, said this new game is about the adventurer becoming the Lara Croft that gamers know, albeit an alternate take on that.

"This is a character-defining journey for her," said Gallagher. "One that really is about her finding herself, discovering her inner core and becoming a real survival warrior through this experience."

The game employs a brand new game engine that allows players to control Lara in what looks and plays like an interactive adventure movie. Camera perspectives creep in close when Lara is navigating claustrophobic tunnels and pull back to show perils in larger environments like a flooded cave filled with shipwrecked damage.

"We employ an intimate camera positioning so that the player feels what she's going through," said Gallagher. "This helps conveys the emotions she's going through as a young girl thrust into horrible circumstances."

Crystal Dynamics has created an open world environment for the player to explore, which means there are multiple ways to achieve mission goals like retrieving a radio beacon from a mountain overrun with wild dogs. The entire island serves as the game world for this new adventure, with new areas opening up as the story progresses.

"We introduce a Lara Croft who's young and scared, but she's also resourceful and intelligent," said Gallagher. "She uses brains over brawn in many situations. She's a smart, resourceful lady."

This Lara also looks more like a human being, losing the Barbie doll-type proportions that made her a video game icon in the '90s.

"By the time players finish this game the character's been reimagined to be relevant to this generation," said Gallagher.

In Hollywood, GK Films has acquired the feature film rights to Tomb Raider with a 2013 release target for the first film. The new movie will be produced by Graham King and Tim Headington.

Angelina Jolie starred in two Paramount Pictures movies based on the female adventurer in 2001 and 2003. They grossed a total of $432 million at the worldwide box office.