If you enjoyed the most recent Tomb Raider trilogy, then you’re in luck. Crystal Dynamics, the company behind Tomb Raider (2013), Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, is currently hard at work on another Lara Croft adventure.
What’s more, the company is creating the game in Unreal Engine 5: Epic Games’ latest development tool. As such, there are a lot of possibilities for where Crystal Dynamics could take the series next.
Information comes from the official Tomb Raider Twitter account, where Dallas Dickinson, an executive producer at Crystal Dynamics, laid out the basics:
“We are thrilled to announce today that we have just started development of our next Tomb Raider game, powered by Unreal Engine 5,” Dickinson said. “Our goal is to push the envelope of fidelity, and to deliver the high-quality, cinematic action/adventure experience that fans deserve from both Crystal Dynamics, and the Tomb Raider franchise.”
Crystal Dynamics is incredibly excited about the future of Unreal and how it will help us take our storytelling to the next level. That's why we're proud to announce that our next #tombraider game is being built on Unreal Engine 5! pic.twitter.com/UFMiWzJAZcApril 5, 2022
It’s admittedly not much to go on, but there are two important pieces of information in Dickinson’s announcement. The first is that the storied Tomb Raider franchise is still in Crystal Dynamics’ hands; the second is that the company will leverage the powerful Unreal Engine 5 for its new game. By contrast, Crystal Dynamics developed Shadow of the Tomb Raider with Foundation: an engine developed in-house, specifically for the Tomb Raider series.
Of course, that still leaves an awful lot we don’t know about the Tomb Raider series. For one thing, we don’t know whether it will continue the story of 2013’s rebooted Lara Croft, whether it will reset the series continuity yet again, or whether it will explore an earlier version of the character. Tomb Raider’s lore is complicated and inconsistent at the best of times, but Crystal Dynamics’ recent trilogy has been a little cleaner and more down-to-earth than previous entries.
It's also difficult to say what Unreal Engine 5 will allow the developers to do that the Foundation Engine couldn’t. Epic promises that Unreal Engine 5 will provide better graphics, smoother performance and easier development tools, but an engine alone doesn’t determine much about how a game will ultimately perform. It will still be up to Crystal Dynamics to leverage the engine’s strengths, as well as provide exciting gameplay and an interesting story.
Using an Epic Games engine also poses an interesting question for PC players, as it’s not clear whether this new Tomb Raider game will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store, or also come out on other platforms. No doubt, Crystal Dynamics will address all of these questions over the next few months — or years.