The Tomb Raider series turns 25 years old this fall, and Square has…pretty much nothing planned in celebration. As a substitute, they’re showing off video games we DIDN’T get..like Tomb Raider Ascension, a survival horror game planned by Crystal Dynamics in the early 2010s.
A survival horror Tomb Raider? It’s an interesting idea. Truly scary monsters, darkly lit corridors, limited resources. The only problem was, the experience didn’t line up with Lara Croft as a character. She’s not one to run from things that attack her, she confronts them head-on with two guns blazing. And if Lara doesn’t feel helpless, neither will the player, and nothing about the game would be scary.
Crystal D’s solution was to age Lara down. Ascension would be a prequel starring a young, inexperienced Lara who didn’t know what she was doing. The game wouldn’t take place in a tomb per se, but on an isolated island where she couldn’t get help. If any of this is starting to sound familiar, it’s because the thing eventually flipped from a survival horror experience into a more traditional adventure game, and appeared on store shelves in 2013 as the simply titled “TOMB RAIDER.”
The original game got pretty far along before it was changed. Square has published three entire videos about the development and eventual abandonment of Tomb Raider Ascension. Check them all out below. Currently, the only Tomb Raider game in development at Square is a mobile title called Tomb Raider Reloaded, due out in 2022.
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