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Crystal Dynamics - reimagining Tomb Raider akin to redoing "James Bond or Batman"

Crystal Dynamics' global brand director, Karl Stewart, has said the revamp of Tomb Raider is one of the most "challenging projects," the studio has ever taken on.

Speaking with GI International, Stewart likened the next Tomb Raider game to redoing the Batman series or James Bond franchise.

"It is definitely one of the most important and also one of the most challenging projects we've ever taken on," he said. "To take a franchise that has been around so long, that has such a big following... many gamers today will look back and remember fondly Tomb Raider as being one of the first games they played. The lore that they created, to try and reimagine that is the same as having to redo a James Bond or a Batman.

"When we first brought it up at the studio, [studio head] Darrell Gallagher had sort of the first idea as art director on Anniversary and Underworld that he really wanted to take Tomb Raider into a new place. It was a challenge because people really didn't know where that would be. There was a lot of research to understand about the franchise more than we ever had because you can't break it and put it back together without really knowing what you've got.

"It was a big challenge obviously as the franchise has been around for a long time; it had been very successful and sometimes you don't want to rock the boat. I think we realized that it was a great challenge and there was a big reward at the end of it if we could make it right."

Reinventing Tomb Raider, according to Stewart, has been more stressful than creating a new IP in a risk averse market.

"It has such as a history and has been around for so long with such an avid following... we see this title as our baby," said Stewart. "Square Enix, when they purchased Eidos, saw this title as one of the major reasons why that acquisition happened. We have to make sure we deliver on the promise we made.

"I think the challenge that we had in the early stages, which is starting to come to fruition now, was that you can be really creative on a new IP, but I think when you are looking at a franchise that has been around as long as Tomb Raider has that a lot more is at stake right now."

Tomb Raider launches on March 5 for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

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