Rhianna Pratchett on Tomb Raider’s original ending and that first kill.
Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider writer, Rhianna Pratchett, announced her departure from the series earlier this month, and in an interview with Eurogamer, she shares details of the first game’s original ending and how she would have liked Lara’s first kill to have played out.
“Originally, [the first game] had a darker, more downbeat ending that would hammer home the theme of sacrifice versus loss. But player feedback suggested the game had too many character deaths already, so by the time the player got around to the end, it all felt a little depressing.
“Originally, when I’d written the first draft of the script, there wasn’t so much death in it. 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.”
After going full G.R.R. Martin, Pratchett had to change the ending at the last minute, after feedback from playtesters, but “it didn’t fully deliver on some of the narrative themes we wanted to. We folded them back into the second game.”
Talking about Lara’s first kill, Pratchett says she would have liked to have found a “more elegant solution for the first kill and what happened after it.”
“It would have been good if we had taken more time to think about how the character would come across in that situation,” she mused. “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.”
Pratchett describes how she would have preferred Lara to engage in a bit more stealth after that point, relying on her bow until reaching a juncture where it was absolutely necessary to pick up a gun again.
“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.”
This plays into the tonal difference that Crystal Dynamics were going for in the reboot, with the company “very keen not to do the quippy one-liner Lara” of yesteryear.
Tone aside, Pratchett feels that “quippyness and the devil-may-care attitude suggests confidence and resilience Lara doesn’t have yet,” so it would have been out of place for the character.
“I know gritty, darker games have become very popular in the last five or so years. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary, but I can completely see why Crystal wanted to take a different path with depicting Lara and her character than had been done before.
“Otherwise, why bother with a reboot, really?”