Shadow of the Tomb Raider - Meet The Team is a series of YouTube promo teaser videos published by Eidos Montreal on the official Tomb Raider channel starting on 21 May 2018, leading up to E3. In it each developer of the game talks about their part in the creation of Shadow of the Tomb Raider for exactly 30 seconds, so the amount of information that can be extracted from these videos is somewhat limited. However, they allow the viewer to have a peek behind the scenes and provides a feeling for the amount of people and work involved in creating a title like SotTR.
A Playlist of all videos is available on the YouTube channel. So far the following persons have been presenting parts of their work:
- Senior Game Director
This game is about the end of the origins story, where you see Lara
becoming the Tomb Raider she was meant to become. For that to really understand and see that we had to create a game much more emotional and is about a personal journey. In this game, Lara will have to make choices, and these choices will have deep impact on the world. There is a scene for example in the game where she is making an obsessive and impulsive...
- Cinematics Director
For this game we have a much darker tone. Lara Croft is still going through a lot and we knew that in terms of performance the intensity of some of the sequences would be pretty high. We really want to make sure we to capture these moments with the actors and really nail those moments to create strong moments within the game that the player is going to remember for a while. There is a sequence for instance with Lara and Jonah
[who are] in an argument, and from the moment we saw the performance on stage we knew that it was something very special, never seen before...
- 3D Artist
My work consists in trying to make those mechanisms and puzzles funtional in a logical way so that they don't feel like magic objects. I documented myself quite a lot on the civilization we have in the game and limited myself in terms of materials: bronze but no iron cording, stone, obsidian, wood. I spent a lot of time conceptualizing one machine in particular. I've tried to imagine what would make me scared when arriving in a tomb. I thought about some kind of spider which...
(text taken from subtitles; original in French)
- Performance Lead
One of the aspects of the game that my team and I are working on is the social aspects: for example Jonah is really more present in that game. He's a character from the previous games obviously but this time Lara and he will experience stuff together. This will give, like, a more grounded and believable aspect to Lara. Another social aspect that we worked on is civilization. This time Lara won't be alone as she used to be. Lara will be able to actually interact with human beings. She will discover...
- Lead Writer
Close [?] this trilogy we see Lara Croft become the powerful Tomb Raider she's destined to be. But, depending on perspective a hero can also be a threat; so in her defining moment Lara will have to decide which of those she is. I'm most proud that we've crafted an emotional, character driven story. We will take a deeper look at Lara's relationship with her best friend Jonah and in Dr. Dominguez we have an antagonist who is really Lara's equal: he challenges her because at the end of the day his motivations are just as compelling as hers...
- Level Designer
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, from a level design perspective, the big difference is that Lara is now [transformed] from the prey to the predator: she is now fully in control. Lara is using everything at her disposal: the environment [are the] the ingredients to infuse fear into the heart of the enemies. For instance, if she takes down one of the enemies from the group, this starts panic, they start to be afraid, and this [makes it] easier for her to push forward into the space. There's this moment in the game where Lara only has a knife and she's gonna use fear to...
- Narrative Director
It is a tremendous responsibility to be in charge of wrapping up Lara's origin story in a satisfying way. Along with the classic external [?] hunting, racing, chasing for artefacts, there is also much more intrigue and mysteries for Lara to solve in this. After lots of research into the Mesoamerican cultures we came up with a very interesting path of clues and a challenge for Lara to solve and find out where the location of a hidden artefact is, an artefact, that Lara is looking for, that Trinity
is hunting for, but there is also a third...
- Lead Sound Designer
Our goal on the sound side was to bring an immersive experience to the player. For the jungle, when Lara will be in a certain region, you will hear the real birds from that region in real life. For the dialogue we went to Mexico and we recorded real Mexican voice actors to bring the real life environment to the game. To bring the immersion to another level, we recorded to a TS machine [?]. All those little details help the player to the immersion, especially when Lara is going to the ci...
- Concept Artist
In this game it was super important to show the emotions of the characters. When you want to suggest a mood, you can do it through a colour script. Using narrative context you can drag [?] the colours that you need in your scene. For example, if Lara is in danger you can use hard shadows to give tension and green to show insecurity. It was fun in that game to play with the colours and create moods that bring the player into the story...
- Senior Technical Artist
On this game we did a lot of work improving a lot of visual effects such as fire, smoke, explosions, water. One of our goals is to be very realistic and we use a lot of real-world physical formulas in the game. For the fire we actually measured the temperature of the flame and generate a colour based on that. So, there's a scene where Lara is wading through a pool of water that has oil floating on the surface, so we do a lot of work to make that oil very believable including, like, the sheen and the colour separation on the top of the water and...
- Senior Lighting Artist
In this new game, colours, contrasts and the location of every single light are not random. Everything is chosen to help the player feel the emotions of Lara throughout the story. Is it something from the past, or is it in the present? The colours help for everything. Lights are placed strategically to outline shapes, the space and feel, the depth. This way, the player instinctively knows where to hide, as well as the locations of the enemies. There's an area in the game where you can really feel the depth of the environment with the help of volumetric lighting and fog. The enemies are outlined in a very nice way and...
(text taken from subtitles; original in French)
- Dev Tester
Inside of this new Tomb Raider game the enemy AI [Artificial Intelligence] is very complex and [as] SQA [Software Quality Assurance] we've gotta to test it. We gotta test that the way points work, that Lara's cover points work, that the enemy's AI cover point work, that we can shoot them, they can shoot us, that they can see us. And then we have to test the triggers: some of them are more complex than others, and as SQA we gotta make sure that everything strings in properly. There is this one moment, we spent a lot of time on it, and we gotta make sure that Lara, when she crosses a boundary, the helicopter that...
- Gameplay Director
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider Lara takes advantage of our environment. This can be seen for example in swimming, where now she can navigate freely in all body of water and explore new environments from small cavern to massive Challenge Tombs
where she'll find substantial rewards. This freedom of navigation can also be seen in other layers, for example in canopy traversal, where she can jump from tree to tree and
also Wall Run
- UI Lead
For UI [User Interface] in Shadow of the Tomb Raider we wanted to focus a lot on the maturity aspect of the presentation layer. We wanted to really achieve a cinematic type of experience. This is about reducing the noise and the congestion of textures on the HUD [Heads Up Display] to make sure that the players not being sucked out of the immersion of the experience. Oftentimes in UI when nobody notices us this is when we've done our job. And one of the other aspects we really wanted to focus on was the map screen: with us we have a much more grounded experience, we've gone for more of a top-down approach with something like...
- Senior Animator
I work in the cinematics team. We're responsible for the cinematics of the game. A lot of the cinematics are based off performace capture with life actors, but there were several animals we had to create for this game and those are impossible to mocap [motion capture]. So it is really challenging for us to, it requires a lot of hours of going through footage and reference of the character. In this game specifically there were a lot of Jaguars
that became pretty important characters in the game itself, and there is a scene where Lara kind of gets confronted by a jaguar and after a pretty long fight...