A new Tomb Raider Movie is under way! Did I hear you say Angelina Jolie might be a bit old for the role? Well really it doesn’t matter with technology’s magic brush to smoothe away any nasties or increase the size of parts that may be that bit too small? Excuse me for getting off track as I didn’t really want to talk about Angelina or technology (well maybe a little about technology). The fact is that the Tomb Raider video series has been around for seventeen years, even your mum would probably know who Lara Croft is. She is iconic. In the latest game release, the new Lara however, is a much younger version, (sorry Angelina) who is setting out on her first adventure and we can live through her adventure and personal development and in a gaming sense be the ultimate decider of her destiny.
There was a lot of fan anticipation building prior to the release of the game, the release date of which had to be put back till this year ‘ to put the finishing touches into the game and polish it to a level that you deserve. We believe this is the right choice and I guarantee it will be worth the wait. The game is looking amazing and we can’t wait to show it to everyone at E3 in a few weeks’. This was the official statement from Darrell Gallagher, the head of Cyrstal Dynamics, the developer of the game who also stated, they were ‘passionate’ about mak[ing] this the best game of our careers’. Two days after its launch on March 5th, 2013, there was an estimated one million players of the rebooted Tomb Raider. The game was released for XBOX360, PS3, and PC, the usual role up of gaming platforms, however, what is very unusual is the collaboration between Crystal Dynamics and GK Films to produce the movie.
Gaming developers and movie producers are not in the habit of collaborating. Usually the movie rights to the title are lisenced off with no further involvment between parties. Way back in January of 2003, Henry Jenkins (media visionary) published a paper for MIT Technology Review in which he states
we have entered an era of media convergence that makes the flow of content across multiple media channels almost inevitable. The move toward digital effects in film and the improved quality of video game graphics means that it is becoming much more realistic to lower production costs by sharing assets across media. Everything about the structure of the modern entertainment industry was designed with this single idea in mind-the construction and enhancement of entertainment franchises. Jenkins (2003)
This is what the industry is facing and trying to adapt to, 10 years later. Where does Mr Jenkins keep that crystal ball of his? The key word in this quote is ‘sharing’. The trend for a single story to be told through different media across different platforms is not only due to technological progression creating new patterns of behaviour, but has become a matter of economic survival.
With Hollywood’s studios relaunching established film franchises to keep them afloat, game developers find themselves in a similar situation of having to come up with new ways to keep aging brands alive or lose control of a major source of revenue. Variety (April, 2013)
Perhaps with collaboration between developers, producers and the performative audience,the prosumers, a new form of entertainment media will evolve which will not only be interactive across existing and new platforms, it will also be in a constant stage of creation and recreation.
Just in case I have spiked your interest in the 2013 game Tomb Raider here is the final rating from HEX, reporter for the ABC GOOD GAME:
With this brilliant re-imagining of Lara, she really is one of the most powerful, relatable, and truly human heroes, irrespective of gender, that I’ve encountered in a game. This experience manages to be exciting, mature, gritty and well paced. All while showcasing a host of fluid mechanics and animations that bring this gripping story to life almost flawlessly. It’s 10 out of 10 from me.
I may just have to take up gaming in my spare time! 🙂