Tomb Raider reboot writer reveals game's original ending was much darker
Too much death for Lara?
Rhianna Pratchett, one of the lead writers on the Tomb Raider reboot series, is giving some revealing details about the game’s original ending, calling it much darker.
In a recent interview with Eurogamer, before it was announced she was leaving Crystal Dynamics, Pratchett revealed there were certain challenges to delivering the visceral experience players received with 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot, and the 2015 follow-up, Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Pratchett says the scene of Lara’s first kill was a controversial one, but one that she defends to this day. However, she says it probably could’ve been handled differently.
"I would have liked for us to have found a more elegant solution for the first kill and what happened after it," Pratchett says.
"It would have been good if we had taken more time to think about how the character would come across in that situation. Maybe you could have had her throw away the gun off a cliff. It would feel in-line with how the character is feeling. You would be maybe a bit frustrated as a player, but you'd also feel, okay, well that feels in-line with what the character's going through and it would seem natural for her to do that.
"And then she would have to have a bit more gameplay where she's stealthing. She has the bow at that point, so maybe she just has to keep using the bow for a bit, and eventually she's in a situation where she's going to have to pick up a gun again. That's the moment she realises that's what she's going to have to do to get through it. I would have liked to have stretched out those realisations rather them all coming boom boom boom in the same scene. That's something I would have liked to have done."
As for the game’s ending, Pratchett says it was originally much darker and meant to hammer home the game’s theme of sacrifice versus loss. Unfortunately, Pratchett says player feedback forced them to make changes at the eleventh hour.
"Originally, when I'd written the first draft of the script, there wasn't so much death in it," Pratchett explains. "And then, gradually the deaths crept in, and it changed the feel of the narrative. It made more sense the players were feeling that way after they'd gone through various other deaths."
"There had been a lot of death up to that point. Part of that was the gameplay changes, where I had to keep going back and killing off characters," Pratchett says.
"It would have been good if we'd identified that problem earlier, and we probably could have finessed things a bit more. It wasn't too late. We managed to fix it. But it didn't fully deliver on some of the narrative themes we wanted to. We folded them back into the second game."
Pratchett opens up a lot about the game’s development, and there are some good nuggets of how they came about developing Lara’s resilient character, and the fight to keep her personality more grounded as opposed to Uncharted’s Nathan Drake lightheartedness.