The Tomb Raider franchise has taken quite a hit recently. The much-anticipated sequel to the 2018 Tomb Raider film starring Alicia Vikander has been canceled after MGM lost the rights. This means that the actress, the second to play the role after Angelina Jolie, will no longer be able to return to the character. The 2018 film was based on the hugely successful 2013 reboot of the franchise. Yet, there is some good news for Tomb Raider fans, it would appear that a leak confirms that a new game is set to shake things up.
After Shadow of the Tomb Raider dropped in 2018 many fans were concerned about where the game series would go next. The trilogy of games, Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider marked the growth of a young inexperienced Lara Croft into the character we know and love in the very first Tomb Raider game. While the door was left open, there was no word on the next adventure of Lara Croft until April this year when Crystal Dynamics confirmed that they were making a new game using Unreal Engine 5.
The new leak seems to confirm that the company is heading in a slightly new direction. The new game, codenamed “Project Jawbreaker”, will feature an older version of Lara Croft and will be set “in a modern-day world rocked by a mysterious cataclysm.” The leak didn’t divulge whether this will be a direct sequel to Shadow of the Tomb Raider or a new beginning. What the leak did reveal was that they are looking for a new British actor to play the part and that this version of the game will be much more of a collaboration with other characters.
There were also some details on the character’s sexuality, with hints that they are looking for another female role for romantic scenes. The leak also caused some controversy as it was revealed on Colin Moriarty’s podcast Sacred Symbols. Crystal Dynamics instantly sent a DMCA takedown notice. Although Moriarty complied and removed the segment from his podcast he insisted that he did nothing wrong: “I didn’t steal it, I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t buy it. I was acting in the notion that this is fair use, this is of huge general interest.” What the DMCA takedown notice does suggest though is that the details of the leak are accurate. The fact that the leak caused such a reaction also demonstrates how important the Tomb Raider franchise is.
The cultural impact of Tomb Raider cannot be underestimated with Epic celebrating the 25th anniversary of
the original game with three free games. The franchise has spawned 12 video games, 17 game spin-offs, three films, and numerous comics. The game has also transcended traditional media to reach a wider audience with online platforms taking advantage of the franchise’s global popularity. Slot selection on Foxy Bingo has an official Tomb Raider game that uses iconography from the classic videogame. It is this love of the character and franchise that has kept it going across different mediums since 1996. One of the biggest strengths of the Tomb Raider franchise is its ability to adapt across different platforms and mediums. Something it will do again.
The future of Tomb Raider remains strong and as the above leak shows the developers are not afraid to take Lara Croft and her fans in a new direction.