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Tomb Raider developer lays off a dozen staff, secret project ‘re-scoped’

Monday, 12th August 2013 23:22 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Crystal Dynamics has confirmed “roughly 12″ lay-offs as it re-assess an unannounced project in the works alongside a Tomb Raider sequel.

“We’ve made some decisions at Crystal Dynamics last week around the second project we’re working on, which has resulted in a small number of roles (roughly 12) becoming redundant as we re-scope the project,” a Square Enix representative told CVG.

“This doesn’t affect the Tomb Raider development team, who as confirmed last week are well into production on a next-generation sequel.

“We’re a close-knit team at Crystal and wouldn’t be making these changes if we didn’t feel it was absolutely necessary. We’ll help those affected as best we can and we want to thank them for their hard work and commitment.”

Confirming the existence of the Tomb Raider sequel last month, Square Enix Europe boss Phil Rogers had noted that the publisher was implementing structural changes.

Very little is known about Crystal Dynamics’ new project; it announced a new IP in January 2012, but an expected reveal did not occur. In May, a staff CV suggested the reveal was due soon.

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16 Comments

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  1. salarta

    Aaaaand it has no effect on me because I’m not buying Crystal Dynamics stuff anyway. :) Hopefully the people that got laid off obtain jobs where they can actually make good stuff.

    #1 11 months ago
  2. Francis O

    Gaming budgets have inflated out of control. Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics need to scale down all the hollywood talent and scope and focus on what makes games good in the first place: gameplay.

    #2 11 months ago
  3. Bashtee

    I was satisfied with the new Tomb Raider. Probably the best one in the whole series.

    #3 11 months ago
  4. salarta

    @3: More accurate to call it a random new IP with the Tomb Raider names and faces slapped on it to sell more copies.

    #4 11 months ago
  5. DSB

    Yeah, it was easily the best Tomb Raider. It’s mindboggling how a game can be a succes in every concievable way and still hurt the publisher.

    It sold twice of what Human Revolution did. Someone at Square just doesn’t want to win.

    #5 11 months ago
  6. Sublimeone

    Best Tomb raider… you must be kidding.

    #6 11 months ago
  7. Metroid455

    @3 your kidding right? It was Tomb Raider in NAME ONLY and to long time fans an insulting entry -_-

    Also I agree with salarta, too many IP’s now are simply having their names taken and slapped on to whatever the latest trend is, the list is too large to write down so I ain’t bothering.

    #7 11 months ago
  8. Daniel_N7

    You guys made me register VG24/7 just to comment on this. I am a “long time” fan of Tomb Raider since the original game, because, yes, I am that old. The new Tomb Raider is an amazing game, one of the best in the series, and only a serious case of nostalgia can make you not see how much it needed a reboot.

    Now, I’m not going to defend that it is the “best”, because TR2 still holds a special place in my heart: the Great Wall of China, the Venice channels, the late night incursion in the Opera House and, well, possibly the most extraordinary TR moment ever, 40 Fathoms.

    What happened to Lara Croft since then? Well, nothing bad, really. The Tomb Raider games remained decent for the most part. I mean, I enjoyed playing them, but it’s kind of like going through pre-Daniel Craig’s Bond movies. You were being fueled by your own nostalgia more than anything else.

    I understand that fans tend to be defensive of what they love and are likely to be somewhat conservative about the changes. But when you think about it, Lara never had a plausible background. She was never a “real” character. The new Tomb Raider tries to do that. To turn Lara into a vulnerable, believable individual. Not just a super-hero, but someone we honestly care about. Personally, I think they did a great job.

    So, please, don’t talk for the “long time fans” as if we’ve got a hive mind or something. We are all different and we all have our own opinions.

    #8 11 months ago
  9. sebastien rivas

    Guys let’s be fair. Story wise, Tomb Raider has been better or stellar one after next the sequel. 3D performance have been AAA one after the next sequel too. Same goes for in game character animations and cinematics.

    Much like you, I miss Lara (fun-clever… etc). In that are the depth and relativity of puzzles in first sequels.
    Also I understand the dev trying to reach for new heights of emotional in Lara’s mind but all should remain in subtlety or gamers understand and appreaciate in overall and defines Lara has it has been in recent sequels which can be a blow to devers. Although Devers should not take it as a blow but as an indication that Lara’s emotional acres are not subtle enough and/or appear for too long across the experience of the game.

    Lastly the change in body structure does not appeal me to be honest.
    It is like saying devers should not evoke too much muscles on male characters or it will complex the male audience so in order to have more male audience , let’s make the male character less male, it is more truthful and won’t hurt anyone…. catch my drift about Lara?

    I have all hopes this new tomb Raider is better in some game elements and much in tune with my first paragraph and I wish they re-evaluate the important part of first Tomb Raiders.

    #9 11 months ago
  10. DSB

    @8 The second was very memorable. But the things I remember it for isn’t a compelling character or a personal investment, but rather the settings you mention.

    I remember zooming around those channels in speedboats and thinking “This shit is the bomb” – But I was never personally engaged, I was just marvelling at what they had accomplished technically.

    That’s ultimately why the new one clinches it for me. Instead of just moving triangle-boob through settings infinitely more interesting than she is, I’m looking at a character that’s worth rooting for.

    #10 11 months ago
  11. Ireland Michael

    @5, Gotta make them rocks look good. That doesn’t come cheap!

    @10, “Triangle boobs”.

    *titter* (no pun intended)

    Its easily the best game in the series… which honestly wouldn’t be difficult, considering the comparative quality of other the games in the series. Its definitely my high contender for Game of the Year.

    #11 11 months ago
  12. sebastien rivas

    @8
    Vulnerability is a good thing but we must take several things into account which lays in comments and criticisms of Tomb Raider that lingers sequel after sequel.
    I am playing Tomb Raider right now on my laptop.
    You take a still frame Black pass of old Tomb Raider and new Raider. (an image of each facing frontand fill it with black).
    The old Tomb Raider looks like a female, the new looks like a “lilly white boy” (Yi-San a Korean TV show episode 28 if I remember correctly). Only At the level of the boobs could it reveal the new Tomb Raider as a female, yet and again many would still confuse it with a male thinking the dude has developped muscles on Teres minor and Teres Major. Now does the Tomb Raider need a F size breast, sure it can be avoided but in these terms of vulnerability, the new Tomb Raider does not appeal me.

    Secondly I play Raider , yes but I don’t know which or if it is the latest installement. Perhaps she is better now in newer installement but the one I play is where she is on an island fending off Sun Queen’s minion (let me know if I have some catch up to do).
    Until ~38% of the game story and character emotional acres, Lara just shivers, whimps, and almost up to cry and I still wonder how she finds the strength to help her mates, there is no solution to it but the limited cinematics of Lara and mates’ life on the boat prior the crash.
    Now Shivers, whimps and almost up to cry is good point for vulnerability but as gamers what does it convey when she gets hit by an enemy… (you deserve it girl, stop your whining) or even better ( I want to protect you but stop that nonsense because I am here).
    Where the dev really wanted to make a strong point in emotional acres for Lara is when … (what’s his name… Rough or something like that) got killed while protecting Lara … then she can cry and I feel for her to have losta dear friend. But with previous experience of shivering, whimps and more vulnerability exploited in the game, it seriously and aggravated numbness in feeling for Lara when her friend protected her and died.

    therefore and again I repeat… Subtlety is key ;)
    and Moreover it helps to make points even stronger….

    Well, that was my feeling and experience of the game franchise.

    #12 11 months ago
  13. bradk825

    I am also a long-time fan of the series, and my favourite by far is the reboot.

    Long time Star Trek fans (also me) are not upset about the reboot of that series for the most part, especially because it has increased the fan base exponentially.

    It’s a reimagining and therefor it doesn’t have to be the same Lara, just like how William Shatner is no longer the Captain of the Enterprise.

    I found the storytelling to be the best in the series by a long shot. No TR game before it had that level of character development. The story of the crazy people on the island is also a very good setting, and Lara’s confidence level noticably changes throughout. The animation of her first huge climb, the radar tower, showed a panicky girl afraid she’ll fall to her death any moment, while at the end the animation shows a confident climber knowing exactly what to do while shit blows up all around her. She goes from being scared out of her tree with little likelihood to survive, to deciding at the end to go out and intentionally find another adventure.

    Anyway, I am very excited that a new entry is in development and I can’t wait to see what they have in store. I also hope the talent of these dozen individuals finds a new outlet and doesn’t go to waste.

    #13 11 months ago
  14. DSB

    It’s funny to see how different people experience the game.

    Personally I put Lara in the “badass” category as soon as she killed the deer and got on with it.

    She was intimidated by what she was doing, but that’s what made it resonate so well. She was constantly overcoming herself, and to me that’s the most honest form of being a badass. I don’t think you could climb that radio tower if you were completely distraught.

    There was that one cutscene with the old guy where she’s all “Oh, selfdoubt”, and to me that felt pretty forced, because obviously she was handling her shit quite magnificently.

    #14 11 months ago
  15. salarta

    @8: Always good to have more voices in a discussion, so I’m glad it got you to register.

    Different fans think differently. Some people that say they’re fans of Final Fantasy adore FFX-2 despite how insulting that is to the franchise. It’s all about a mix of priorities and how well a company can spin what they want people to buy.

    On the more specific matter of this “reboot,” I agree that Tomb Raider needed a reboot. But I do not agree in any way whatsoever that this was it. A vulnerable Lara Croft, which some people are claiming makes her “believable” despite this thing being the false Hollywood notion of what “believable” “vulnerability” means, is not Lara Croft. This is as much Lara Croft as Superman is Batman.

    If you can’t care about superheroes, that’s your problem. I find no difficulty whatsoever in caring about superheroes, because I actually acknowledge and respect what they represent as superheroes. In Lara’s case, she used to represent the concept of a smart, powerful, respectable woman, a void we now have to wait for a new character to come along and fill. If they wanted to make a “vulnerable” character, they should’ve started a brand new IP, pure and simple.

    #15 11 months ago
  16. Sublimeone

    @ 8

    To each its own I kind sort of respect that.
    I am as well also a “long time” fan of Tomb Raider since the original game. But seriously as much as I love Tomb raider, to some extent I felt insulted playing this game. It tries to be something which I think a Tomb raider game isnt.

    Then again, I guess I expect more than what I was a presented. I didn’t like it enough to even finish the title before I traded in for something else, to me that says alot. I would say one thing, out of all the numerous things that infuriated me, was the extensive hand-holding of the game, from start to finish. There was no challenge whatsoever.

    To me this is a decent title, just little above average, nothing special.

    #16 11 months ago