Tomb Raider: Lara gets rebooted

After a brutal storm destroys the boat she was travelling on, a
frightened young woman is left washed ashore on an unknown beach. On her own but not alone she has only one goal, to survive.

Sounds like Link's Awakening, doesn't it. But actually this is the promotional spiel for the new Tomb Raider game - Tomb Raider (yes, that's right, it's just called Tomb Raider).

US magazine Games Informer broke the news yesterday by releasing a teaser for their next issue's cover story, and it's clear looking at the promotional images that the franchise is moving in a more gritty, realistic direction.

"Forget everything you know about Tomb Raider, we are exploring things
that have never been done before in this game," said Darrell Gallagher,
head of studio, Crystal Dynamics in an official statement. "This is an origins story that creates Lara Croft and takes her on a character defining journey like no other."

More details have emerged on the catchily-titled NeoGAF forum, including Lara's age in the game – 21 – and the fact that the game will take place in an open-world setting. No release date has yet been set, though it's unlikely we'll see anything before autumn 2011 at the earliest.

Lara was once a true pop culture icon, but she never had the timeless appeal of a Mario or Sonic – the reboot, to me, seems like the right thing to do. 2008's Underworld and this year's excellent Guardian of Light spin-off showed that there is life in the old bird yet, and let's face it, we're still just as in need of games led by strong female characters as we were in 1996.

With the likes of Uncharted 2 and Assassin's Creed 2 raising the bar for the action-adventure genre, Crystal Dynamics are going to have to make something pretty special for Miss Croft to become the darling of the games industry once again. Such is my fondness for the first two Tomb Raider games that I, for one, hope they can do it.

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