: Tomb Raider And Uncharted: A Debt Repaid

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Tomb Raider And Uncharted: A Debt Repaid

Yes I know I'm a little late to the Tomb Raider reboot party, but as I play it I can't help but smile at the nuance present in how games advance by feeding one another.

Of course, I'm speaking of Naughty Dog's brilliant Uncharted franchise. As a fan of the better Tomb Raider entries from the past, I (and most others) immediately seized on the Tomb Raider influence in the Uncharted games. Indeed, it is hard to imagine Uncharted existing as it does without having owed a rather large debt to Ms. Croft and her many adventures. From the globe-trotting treasure hunting stories to the clever puzzles to the tense platforming and ledge shimmying, Uncharted was a Tomb Raider for a new generation.

It was not, however, a clone. Where the combat in Tomb Raider was supplementary at best, Uncharted was comfortable being a cover shooter. Where Tomb Raider had bigger puzzles and exploration, Uncharted had localized puzzles and intense cinematic progression.

Now I see that Crystal Dynamics has done a fantastic job of updating Lara and in so doing has   taken many of the better cues from Uncharted. For instance, the combat is now a more relevant      mechanic but the game's tone hasn't been sacrificed in the implementation. In another case the    platforming has taken on greater intensity previously not present in the series. With the shoe on the  other foot, Tomb Raider has managed to not become a clone of Uncharted but a singular  experience of its own.

 Developers are gamers, of course, and Uncharted has informed a number of games this  generation with developers like Ninja Theory and Ubisoft mentioning the titles for inspiration  regarding Enslaved and Assassin's Creed III, respectively. And as I experience the cinematic nature  of Lara's new adventure and watch the way the environments, mechanics, and animations are handled, I'm reminded of how well games turn out when they aren't developed in a self-imposed vacuum.

Modern literary theory evaluates its art as a kind of dialogue with one text always speaking back and forth through time to another; I think it is the same with modern video games. And in my opinion the debt that Uncharted owed to Tomb Raider has now been repaid in full, and I'm very much looking forward to how these games will continue to inspire each other and get better and better.

4/20/2013 David Nelson

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Comments (11 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, April 20, 2013 @ 12:35:03 AM
Reply

Sorry about the text formatting around that Uncharted picture, for the life of me I can't get it to wrap properly with any html tricks. And it should read "REpaid" on the main page since the idea is that they have now both given each other a leg up :)

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/20/2013 12:40:52 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, April 20, 2013 @ 12:59:54 AM

Yeah, it's weird that way. That's why I keep all pics right-aligned.

And I fixed the headline on the main page; my bad.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, April 20, 2013 @ 1:06:53 AM

Maybe I'll just drop that pic.

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Beamboom
Saturday, April 20, 2013 @ 1:49:24 AM

World, I can help you with HTML tagging. Just ask me in the forums and I'll help you with the syntax.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, April 20, 2013 @ 1:39:57 PM

If you ever figure out how to left align and float a pic so the text wraps properly just lemme know :)

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firesoul453
Saturday, April 20, 2013 @ 1:20:05 AM
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Once again. More competition makes the world a better place! People seem to forget this wanting more of the same.

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Beamboom
Saturday, April 20, 2013 @ 8:14:22 AM
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Nice editorial, interesting topic.
Where do we draw the line between plagiarism and merely feeding off others? Is it even possible to define a line?

I'm thinking the difference - maybe the *only* difference - lies within the level of quality. Cause over the years there's been plenty of games (and music, movies, books...) where I've been annoyed about how they try to cash in on others success, while others I've been happy they've been "in the same vein as...".
And the only factual differences, as far as I can tell, boils down to the quality level.
It's not like the plagiarists don't bring *anything* new to the table, they usually do, it's just not good enough.

Last edited by Beamboom on 4/20/2013 8:16:35 AM

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Ludicrous_Liam
Saturday, April 20, 2013 @ 8:53:38 AM

I agree, very interesting topic. One I don't think has been looked into all that much.

I think Uncharted is very good at taking inspiration and making it into something it's own. I have not played any of the Tomb Raider games so I'm not aware of the similarities, but I have seen examples of Naughty Dog doing this. Take a look at this picture (just paste it into google images):

http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://hdwpapers.com/walls/tigers_nest_bhutan_wallpaper-normal.jpg&imgrefurl=http://hdwpapers.com/tigers_nest_bhutan_wallpaper-wallpapers.html&usg=__42INenbLLo-e1mQjyVvbzCH0dsc=&h=1536&w=2048&sz=832&hl=en&start=5&zoom=1&tbnid=-BrCjpWZSIbmiM:&tbnh=113&tbnw=150&ei=LIxyUZCzOYX30gXWioCQDA&prev=/search%3Fq%3DTigers%2Bnest%26hl%3Den-GB%26gbv%3D2%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1&sa=X&ved=0CDQQrQMwBA

(apologies for the monstrous address size)

You can see how they used this single place and built the monastery part of Uncharted 2, how it hangs precariously on the cliffside; it's perfect for Uncharted's style of gameplay. Alternatively, you can see how they built it by looking at these pictures (because I know you never played it Boom :p):

http://www.figures.com/forums/attachments/news/15325d1294239477-book-review-art-uncharted-2-gompa-fina-vista-cc_upsize.jpg

http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110101234846/uncharted/images/7/74/The_monastery_(Uc2).jpg

But at the same time, the level is something completley it's own. That's called using inspiration, which is how art is made. I don't think you could ever call Uncharted guilty of plagiarism; it's just not how ND work. Even if they were to take a particular thing, they will give back as much as they take.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 4/20/2013 10:45:39 AM

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Ludicrous_Liam
Saturday, April 20, 2013 @ 12:21:55 PM

First picture's address is actually:

http://hdwpapers.com/tigers_nest_bhutan_wallpaper-wallpapers.html

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PC_Max
Saturday, April 20, 2013 @ 1:25:57 PM
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Comparing games to one another and saying oh they got the idea from such and such or whatever is juvenile and pointless. I remember an author saying yes certain story dynamics have been done over and over and maybe some were inspired by others, but that does not mean you do not have a story to tell because you bring in your own ideas and dynamics.

Tomb Raider as far as I am concerned got its inspiration from Raiders and all the other adventure movies and stories from my youth. We are all inspired by what we grow up with and in turn influenced by it.

I am not interested in the new Tomb Raider game, I played the original Croft games ages ago and played Legend a number of years back. I don't need to play this one and its seems to me what I have seen reminds me what I have played in Uncharted. Not saying its a bad game, but I have moved on. Its may be a bin pick up in a years time.

Now Lara Croft in Space? Okay I am there.

Keep Playing!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, April 20, 2013 @ 1:35:03 PM

It's a gameplay experience and it's impossible not to see how the new Tomb Raider was influenced by Uncharted once you've played it. I don't see how it's pointless as a gaming hobbyist to enjoy watching the newest form of human art advance as new developers complement on another. When Uncharted was released the name Tomb Raider was on everyone's lips. Trust me it's relevant.

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