Jill Murray is new to the Tomb Raider series. She previously worked on games like Moon Hunters, Lawbreakers, and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. But now that Murray is lead writer on Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the process of designing a world-spanning adventure feels different.
“Well, first of all, only this game has Lara Croft. Obviously, it’s a huge honor to work on a character with such a lengthy history that spans decades,” Murray says. “She is so strong. She can handle a lot of challenge. With this game, sometimes unwittingly, she becomes her own worst enemy because she is so strong. Our antagonist in this game is a really interesting person, but in a way it’s unnecessary to challenge Lara Croft, because Lara Croft is going to create her own challenges by always going so hard and obsessively and stubbornly on everything.”
At the same time, a lot of Lara’s strength has been earned. As fans of the series know, the last two Tomb Raider games put Lara Croft through the ringer. The internet is full of videos of the many ways Lara can meet a grizzly demise, but Murray hopes to flip that narrative in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. While there will still be several opportunities for Lara to reach an untimely end in Shadow, she also won’t get beat up as much over the course of this new campaign. This change represents how Lara has grown and evolved since the series reboot back in 2013. Lara Croft has gone through a baptism of fire and become a capable survivor/hunter.
“In the previous games, Lara was constantly falling because that was the only way we had, at the time, to go down,” says Murray. “So we had to have her fall because there were no mechanics to go down. Now we have a rappel system, we have underwater sequences where she can go down, and all these elements going down, so things are much more elegant and she’s much more self-controlled. She’s much more mobile with the world, but she’s still doing these crazy things.”
Shadow of the Tomb Raider has no shortage of crazy moments. Our previous tastes of the action have seen Lara swing off the sides of cliff walls, crawling through collapsing tunnels, and falling out of the sky after a plane breaks in half. We’re happy to see how the character has evolved into a more capable hero, but we’re confident that she won’t make it through this next adventure without a few bruises. Shadow of the Tomb Raider launches on September 14 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.