It's been "pretty challenging" to re-write such an icon as Lara, but Crystal have been "fairly flexible" in what Pratchett could keep from old Lara. The problem is she became too super hero like.
Making Lady Croft into such a badass raider of tombs meant we lost a personal connection to her, as she felt like this near invincible force. Pratchett was brought on to change that.
"It’s pretty challenging but I think Crystal Dynamics were fairly flexible with what we could keep from old Lara – what we thought was important – and areas where we wanted to evolve her more, or bring in some traits we hadn’t previously established," game writer Pratchett told in an interview.
"I particularly wanted to bring back the humanity of the character, her warmth, empathy, friendship, and more human qualities. Because I think as old Lara has evolved, she has become more of a ‘female batman’."
"The more heroic and teflon-coated you get, the harder it is to relate to that character, so we wanted to go back to her human side. There’s still a lot of old Lara’s background in place, so we’ve carefully interwoven our new stuff in there."
She freely admits it has been "kind of daunting" to reinvent the gaming wheel that is Lara Croft, but she just had to force herself to see it like any other job "otherwise it would just drive you insane." When she joined the Tomb Raider project the Crystal team already had a story arc in mind but nothing solid to get them through it.
"There was a story arc there that sort of got shuffled around the studio over the two and a half years I was working on the game," she said. "There was no script in place, but there was a story arc and levels that had been planned."
"But there were some characters in place, such as Lara and Roth in particular, as well as others that just existed visually and had no character yet. They were built and designed throughout the process of the game." This is a common occurrence, explained Pratchett. "You get a sort of narrative body parts you have to put together, and fill in the gaps."
"Games writing – when it’s working right – should always be highly iterative. You keep having to write and re-write, and nowhere is that more the case than in games."
Pratchett continued describing her craft: "You’re constantly having to write and tweak around the gameplay within the available space, and to react to what’s happening. But generally when I approach a character I look at the gameplay and the actions that character will be performing."
"It’s like when I wrote the character Faith in Mirror’s Edge. She’s someone who runs for a living – and she runs a lot. What is she running from, why, what happens when she stops running, as well as what makes her stop running to face whatever’s chasing her?"
Check out thebetween Rhianna Pratchett and VG247 as they discuss the new Lara Croft. Tomb Raider releases on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC March 5th.