We come to the end of this wonderful year where we celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of the largest video game franchises ever created and one of the main in the industry. In this final chapter of Treasure Hunters where we analyze the merchandising of the franchise, we will focus on the last game that has seen the light in the wonderful universe of Lara Croft, I am talking about "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" (2018). If last month you missed our analysis on "Rise of the Tomb Raider" (2015) I encourage you to take a look at the link and join us in these lines.
With a total production and promotion of 135 million dollars, Shadow of the Tomb Raider became the most expensive project of the franchise (in the words of David Anfossi - head of the Eidos Montreal studio at gamesindustry.biz), above any another product, game or movie related to the series. A milestone that marks the good health of the license and Square Enix's desire to bet on Lara Croft's adventures across the planet.
Crystal Dynamics listened to the opinions of the fans, after “Rise of the Tomb Raider” and its promotion, the company contacted the administrators of the franchise's official website program to find out their opinion about the game and give us the opportunity to explain where we wanted her next adventure to take place. The votes obtained in these interviews indicated a predilection for jungle environments full of light and color, it was precisely what they gave us in the next game.
The production of Shadow of the Tomb Raider was fraught with leaks from its inception, and the company could do nothing to prevent it. In this case, it happened on October 31st, 2016, when a Reddit user named Tripleh280 wrote a post headed by an image that he himself had taken while riding the Montreal subway. In the image shown you could see a laptop with a presentation and the Shadow of the Tomb Raider logo. The news soon spread through the network and specialized media, stating that this would be the third title in the new trilogy started by Crystal Dynamics, although at that time Square Enix did not confirm any information. In addition, due to the location of the leak (Montreal, Canada), it was suspected that Eidos Montreal would lead the project, having collaborated in the past with the Redwood City studio, Crystal Dynamics.
In June of the same year, a second leak again thwarted Square Enix's plans for the game's announcement. In this case it was a series of conceptual arts and logos of the game, filtered through a company dedicated to the design of video game marketing with which Square Enix had previously worked. In the sketches, Lara could be seen in dark environments, holding different types of weapons and with scenarios in which Aztec and Mayan elements could be appreciated.
Finally and after an infinity of rumors regarding the launch of what would be Lara Croft's new game, March 14th, 2018 was the moment in which the company ruled on the development of the title. They uploaded an image to the official website in which you could see a solar eclipse and a date that marked the next day. The day after, a series of images related to the title and a 30-second teaser trailer were released where we saw Lara running through the lush jungle. On March 19th, 2018, Path of the Stars was launched on the official website, a mini-game in the form of a puzzle that arrived weekly and where at the end of the game they showed fragments of information about it and the final revelation of the title and the cover art of the game, Lara Croft descending a tree branch with a determined gaze and machete in hand, while in the background the figure of a Mayan pyramid is cut out by the orange light produced by a solar eclipse.
The date of the revelation of the new game coincided with the release month of the third Hollywood film of the franchise, this time starring the Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander and that, as in the games, would tell the story of the origins of Lara Croft. In some countries, the launch of the film was even used to screen in theaters, during the initial trailers, the teaser trailer for Shadow of the Tomb Raider. March 2018 was undoubtedly a month full of news about the franchise where we do not stop seeing information from both projects making the hype stratospheric.
With Eidos Montreal at the helm of game development and assisted by Crystal Dynamics, Shadow of the Tomb Raider had creative director Ian Milham, known for his role as art director on the Dead Space series and for being the creative director of Battlefield. : Hardline, although in September 2017 the director had to leave the company after working on the game, to join Outpost Games, describing the experience with the Crystal Dynamics studio as “impressive”. Another important face also came out of the studio, it was Rhianna Pratchett. Her departure was officially announced in January 2017, through a statement on the official Tomb Raider Twitter, in which the studio thanked the screenwriter for her key role in helping them find Lara's voice in their story. origin (2013) and help her grow in Rise (2015). Her place as a screenwriter was taken by Jill Murray, screenwriter of Assassin's Creed III: Liberation and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Jason Dozois remained as narrative director and with the work of both Lara traveled in search of adventure through territories of Mexico, the Amazon and Peru with the Inca and Mayan cultures as the main focus of Shadow.
Finally on September 12th, 2018 Shadow of the Tomb Raider was put on sale for PS4, PC and Xbox One competing in the launch that same month with Spider-man (September, 2018) obtaining a total of 8.9 million units sold to date and reaching diverse scores by professionals and players ranging between 76, 77 and 83 (for PS4, PC and Xbox One respectively) in Metacritic which led to it being nominated for best action game in the awards of reference of the sector, The Game Awards although it was finally won by God of War (2018).
Next we will go on to analyze some of the most interesting memorabilia that this installment gave us and that helped increase the collections of the fans.
In 2018 Square Enix reached a commercial agreement with the New Zealand film special effects company Weta Workshop (one of its founders is Peter Jackson, director and screenwriter of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films) for production in Lara Croft's bow mass based on the Shadow of the Tomb Raider game. With this agreement, this props piece was developed in life size (1: 1) made of resin and with incredible details. It is finished with an attrition technique to give it a used and primitive look just like it has in the game.
The object was officially announced at San Diego Comic Con 2018.
The price of the piece when it was put on the market was 257.86 euros. It included a bow, arrow, wall mount and all with an attractive packaging following the aesthetics of the game.
The second project that Square Enix and Weta Workshop jointly carried out was to make an exact replica in original jade of the pendant that Lara Croft wore in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
It is a piece of jewelry hand carved by Terence Turner, in Wellington, New Zealand in nephrite jade from natural stone.
As an additional detail, the pendant comes in a wooden case carved with Mayan elements and in the shape of a puzzle.
The article was presented for the first time at the San Diego Comic Con 2018 fair and the final price when it was marketed was 85.38 euros.
As a result of the collaboration between Square Enix and Weta Workshop we also had this impressive 1: 4 scale statue of Shadow of the Tomb Raider in a limited edition of 750 units, designed and sculpted by artists Daniel Falconer and Daniel Cockersell respectively.
It is a truly rare and valuable piece that has increased in value very substantially over the years. The limited run sold out within days of going on sale and its original price of $ 799 has practically doubled to this day.
Like the objects we have described above, it was also announced for the first time during San Diego Comic Con 2018.
In the future there is another collaboration with Weta Workshop to make a new statue based on Tomb Raider Anniversary where Lara appears fighting velociraptors. According to the latest information obtained by the company, it is estimated that it will go on sale in the first four months of 2022 after several delays.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider German press kit. This pack of objects was given to members of the specialized German press, all of them themed with the aesthetics of the game.
The set of survival items is made up of: Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Croft Edition) game for Xbox One, lightflex spray, Urban Jungle seed bomb, t-shirt with the game's logo, backpack, mug, flashlight, solar charger, keychain and a Sisters of Artemis notepad.
All content was shipped in a custom box with Lara Croft's silhouette in Shadow.
The next press pack was the one distributed in countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Poland. Like the previously described pack, it was sent to members of the press to promote the product. It had the following elements: Shadow of the Tomb Raider promotional press disc for Xbox One, compass, thermos for drinks, flashlight, backpack customized with the Shadow of the Tomb Raider logo and torn on the front to pretend an appearance of adventure and wear and a small notebook with information and illustrations of the game.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Spanish press kit. Its purpose is the same as those previously described, the content of this version is as follows: File-shaped box with Mayan elements, information paper about the game, 6 postcards with game concept arts, press edition with steelbook of Shadow of the Tomb Raider with 3 postcards inside (TR 2013, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider), two patches for clothes and a medallion with the Mayan calendar on one side and the logo of the game on the opposite side.
Unlike the previously mentioned press packs, this one did have a limited and numbered edition of 150 copies.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Ultimate Edition for PlaySation 4 in Chinese Edition.
The content of this edition was the same as the other Ultimate editions sold in the rest of the world with the exception that this version also included a backpack with the silhouette of Lara Croft. The rest of the content does not differ from any other and included the following elements: statue of Lara Croft, metal plate with an illustration of Andy Park, lantern and key ring in the shape of a climbing axe.
It's amazing that 25 years have passed since I first met Lara Croft in 1996 and when I was only 9 years old. A character that impressed me from the first moment I saw her in the photographs of a magazine.
The first image I had in front of me about her was the famous concept art from Tomb Raider 1 where Lara appears with several decapitated heads. It is possibly the most violent and explicit image we have of Lara Croft throughout these 25 years and it was precisely the first that was presented to my 9-year-old self as a new prototype of action heroine and it is even more curious than that image has penetrated so deep in me as to have changed my life completely and wanted to accompany her on her adventures for most of my life; It is as if that image had been destined to present itself in my experiences and change my existence completely with an influence that I have never experienced again before. Be that as it may, they have been 25 very happy years with her where she has always given me happiness, company and interest in knowing other civilizations, cultures and the world of art.
We fans of the franchise have been able to see in Lara Croft much more than an attractive woman, we see an icon and a very important figure for a whole generation that grew up alongside her. Whether we admire the invincible adventurer from the first games or prefer a more human and vulnerable Lara Croft like the one we met in the last trilogy, it is easy in some way or another that she ends up conquering us with her magnetic personality.
I want to thank Crystal Dynamics for offering me this section of Treasure Hunters throughout this year and for counting on me to tell the story of the franchise through the different collectibles. It has been a whole retrospective of memories, not only in the saga but in each object in my collection that could have an interesting story to tell and share. In addition, I must thank all the creative freedom that they have given me where at no time have they put any kind of limits on what I wanted to tell or the opinions that I wanted to express.
I am grateful that people like you are dedicating their time to read these lines and have sustained this journey through so many months, for me it is a pride to have also carried out this project.
Thanks to the group of developers who gave life to Lara and to all those who have kept her active throughout these 25 years. Lara lives thanks to all of us and I know that she still has many stories to tell and adventures to live.
Treasure Hunters comes to an end and just like Lara collects mystical artifacts to expand the already huge collection that she treasures in her mansion, we collect memories about her. Deep down we have the same spirit.
Rodrigo Martín Santos